CNN Has A Crappy Report On A Family That Killed A Harmless Snake

This is sad and infuriating. A Memphis family driving on an interstate was shocked when a snake popped out from their hood and slithered across their windshield. Because everyone everywhere has a camera now, they filmed the incident and posted it on YouTube.

This is now a badly-reported story on CNN:

So, my problem: they didn’t pull over to let the poor animal off and it eventually dropped onto the road where it’s guaranteed to have been squished.¬†Now, an argument could be made that pulling over might’ve been unsafe. Fair enough. But the husband’s malice for the snake (in the original video, he says “get it! kill it!” after it drops from the car) is just horrible.

Dude calls the snake a “huge water moccasin”. It’s not. It’s a rat snake, a non-venomous, rodent-eating machine. Rat snakes are kept as pets and can thrive in captivity. They’re often ridiculously tame and they can live 15 years or more. I think they’re beautiful and amazing. Of course you wouldn’t know any of that from CNN’s lazy report, which doesn’t identify the species.

I’m not going to judge a driver too harshly for being freaked out by a surprise snake or for not being able to tell the difference between a venomous and non-venomous snake (not that a venomous snake shouldn’t have been given the chance to slither off the car in safety), but part of being a decent person is learning about and respecting the other creatures that live on this beautiful planet. This couple failed at that. Which is sad, because¬†part of being a decent parent is nurturing wonder and curiosity in your children.

It’s tragic that the kids in the back seat who just wanted to see an interesting animal have a dad who hates nature.

CNN should send a reptile biologist armed with a tame rat snake to give this family a show-and-tell about these spectacular animals. What a great teachable moment-style follow-up report that could be.

I’m going to find CNN’s e-mail and suggest it.

(Thanks to Dog Blog tipper and all-around excellent sister Nancy W. for the link!)

Author: Stephen Whitworth

Prairie Dog editor Stephen Whitworth was carried to Regina in a swarm of bees. He's been with Prairie Dog since May 1999 and will die at his keyboard before admitting his career a terrible, terrible mistake.

6 thoughts on “CNN Has A Crappy Report On A Family That Killed A Harmless Snake”

  1. I hate to go over all this stuff again, but snakes are the embodiment and agent of Satan on Earth. Don’t make me get in my spaceship and come down there to explain it to y’all in person.

  2. Maybe the dad has a severe snake phobia. I know people who can’t even view a stiil photo or a video of a snake.

  3. Know what you mean, Barb — one of my very best friends is afflicted. She would be completely incapacitated if a snake appeared on her windshield. That dad probably does have some degree of phobia, which is why I didn’t totally trash him in that charming way I sometimes do.

    He still has a terrible attitude. That, he’s responsible for.

  4. The way that they were screaming, it was like if the snake was in the car, not on the car.

  5. Before: The reaction would be to pull over and stop the car, and let the snake get off and away safely.

    Now: The reaction is to pull out a camera and post it on YouTube.

    I heard the “water moccasin” ID and thought it was wrong. Thanks for clarifying that, Mr. W., snake expert.

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