Tuesday, April 20, 2010
This newly installed sign caught my eye today on my ride around a chunk of desert open space near my home. Two thoughts immediately came to mind. First is the fact that rattlesnakes are definitely not limited to "natural habitat" here in the Sonoran Desert. Just yesterday, I got a call from a friend down the street inviting me to come see a rattler that was resting in her front yard in the cool comfort of an aloe plant. Aloe is native to Africa. Rattlesnakes are indigenous to the western hemisphere. This cozy relationship is not natural to either the aloe or the snake.
Fortunately for the snake, my friend called a professional herpetologist for advice. He removed it from her yard and released it in a more remote piece of real estate where it was less likely to be discovered by someone who would prefer to chop its innocent head off.
Second, is the confusing line about "other species." What exactly did the author of this informational masterpiece have in mind? My guess is that they meant "dangerous species," or perhaps, "snake species." But "other species" is really wide open for interpretation. That other species "may be present" is quite obvious. You don't even have to open your eyes to hear dozens of bird species, for instance. If you care to note all of the other thousands of species that happen to live in this particular natural area, from the multitudes of soil bacteria to the noble saguaros, there is no "may be" about it!
Then there is the whole notion of "caution" implied by the presence of rattlesnakes. Was this sign installed here for liability purposes? Should we also warn of the numerous other hazards that may be present to anyone who chooses to walk here, including bees, excessive heat, air pollution, cactus spines, unleashed dogs and humans carrying concealed weapons?
This leads me to also wonder how much such a sign cost our city government to create and install. Clearly another well planned and brilliant use of our tax dollars!