REPTILES AREN’T AS BAD AS YOU THINK! 

By GABBIE ABESAMIS 

Reptiles aren’t exactly the cuddliest of creatures on the planet – their cold bodies, pointy scales, and unusual body shapes have always struck fear in the hearts of humans for thousands of years. Mainstream media, religious beliefs, and old wives’ tales have all contributed to the already-bad reputation of reptiles as “scary, unpredictable monsters”, but in reality, they are not like what most people perceive them to be. It’s true that reptiles – as well as mammals, birds, and even fishes in the wild – can act defensively and cause danger to humans who don’t know how to handle them, and their rattling or hissing may seem frightening. But if one were to understand them in a more rational way, it’s possible to see that they are simply following their instincts. 

5 MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT REPTILES

Put simply, all reptiles just want to eat and live another day, just like every other living being on the planet. Although they aren’t as fluffy and cute as other animals, they aren’t evil; they’re just trying to get by in life, and that is something more people should understand.

Here are a few common misconceptions that people normally have about reptiles and why they aren’t entirely true.

MISCONCEPTION 1
ALL REPTILES ARE VENOMOUS/POISONOUS
There’s only a small percentage of reptiles that are actually venomous and an even smaller number that can inflict instant lethal damage with said venom.

Although it’s true that other reptiles can still cause damage through scratching, biting, or squeezing, all these are common defense strategies that can be observed throughout the animal kingdom – guinea pigs do it, birds do it, and even pandas do it, too.

It can still be frightening up close, but as long as respect is given to the animal and they are seen as another living being who might just be scared or hungry, they aren’t as scary anymore.

MISCONCEPTION 2
CAPTIVE REPTILESARE TRAITORSTO THEIR HUMANS
Captive reptiles do recognize their caretakers after a while of handling; it’s just that unlike dogs, many of them just prefer to ignore the people around them. This can be said of some cats as well, and just like cats who prefer being left alone, reptiles have their own personalities, too.

A sudden bite or tail whip doesn’t mean they are necessarily traitors. This might be a sign of underlying conditions that they’re trying to communicate.

They might also just be moody and want to say that they don’t want to be touched right now. In other cases, they might be hungry, scared, or irritated – there are many possible explanations. And just like people, they have their bad days, too.

MISCONCEPTION 3
REPTILES ARE SLIMY & WILL GIVE YOU WARTS
Reptiles may feel a bit oily, but they’re not as slimy as amphibians or fishes. They are also unlikely to give you warts, but that doesn’t mean you can skip on proper hygiene – always remember to wash your hands thoroughly after handling any reptile or animal for that matter.

MISCONCEPTION 4
REPTILES WILL EAT YOU THE MOMENT THEY GET THE CHANCE Although this could possibly happen in the wild with crocodiles and giant snakes, captive reptiles are rarely large enough to be able to consume a grown human.

It’s also common sense that if someone is hungry enough, then they would try to look for food. Everyone needs to eat something to survive, just like lions and bears.

Avoid leaving small animals like dogs, cats, rabbits, birds, and tiny humans alone with carnivorous reptiles. 

MISCONCEPTION 5
IT’S INHUMANE TO FEED LIVE ANIMALS TO REPTILES
Not all reptiles are purely meat or insect eaters; some are mainly plant eaters, while others are omnivores.

Reptiles who are carnivorous need to eat animals; they are unlike humans who can thrive on plants alone. There’s nothing wrong with that because it’s how nature intended things to be for these animals.

Some may think feeding live quails to a hungry snake may seem terrifying to watch, but the snake would have consumed another animal if they lived in the wild. Sadly enough, a chicken to be killed for human consumption would have felt as terrified as the quail to be eaten by the snake; people just feel better eating the chicken because they didn’t have to see how the poor animal died in the first place. [We don’t even need to eat chickens to survive, which is why vegans exist all over the world, including yours truly. -Ed.] 

COLD-BLOODED ANIMALS ARE COOL

Reptiles are one of the most misunderstood animals in the world. They aren’t scary monsters; rather, they’re beautiful creatures who just need to be appreciated for who they are.

Remember that they’re usually more scared of you than you are of them. So, the next time you see a reptile, don’t be frightened. If they seem like they aren’t in the mood to interact, just remember to respect their need for space, their role as an essential member of the ecosystem, and their existence as living beings just trying to get by in life.