Living Alongside Wildlife

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The title of this blog, Living Alongside Wildlife, is a reference to a land ethic suggesting human and wildlife populations can coexist if we respect our natural resources. Our goals should include living alongside wildlife in perpetuity, rather than unsustainable exploitation, wanton killing and irreversible destruction of their habitats. For more about conservation and land ethics, check out the work of Aldo Leopold, particularly A Sand County Almanac. These essays were a great influence in formulating my own stances on various environmental issues. When I created this blog I had two primary goals. The first of which was to encourage an appreciation for wildlife that tend to have a bad reputation, primarily amphibians and reptiles. The second goal was to make my research accessible to a general audience. Over time, a third goal manifested itself. Many are generally unfamiliar with the natural history of reptiles; as a result there are a plethora of e-mail forwards containing outlandish stories and photos of these animals. All too often, these e-mails are circulated and accepted as fact. For animals that are already maligned, scary and fabricated stories only serve to perpetuate the myth they are dangerous and malevolent. Perhaps this is no more true than in the case of the giant dead rattlesnakes, wherein a dead rattlesnake is shoved towards the camera and a bogus story is made up about how various townsfolk were saved in the nick of time by the marauding monster. I use this blog to discuss these e-mail forwards, which I\'m often able to debunk based solely on the biology of the organism in question.

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