Snakes have been almost everywhere these days, showing up in quite unexpected places, sometimes offering a real threat to those in the vicinity. Other times, they’ve just been meandering by the unsuspecting pedestrian. One place you wouldn’t think to see a massive group of snakes would be a local airport, but that’s just what one study is showing. A U.S. Geological Survey commission by the United States Fish & Wildlife Service recently showed that the largest grouping of garter snakes in the world live at the San Francisco International Airport.
Now before freaking out or rerouting your travel destination plans, know that these snakes aren’t actually living in one of the terminals or the baggage claim. It’s a little different than that. The airport actually has a massive parcel of land adjacent to the business center of the property that is called the West-and-Bayshore. It’s a little under 200 acres of undeveloped land meant to section off the airport from the rest of the public. And on this land, the study found more than 1,300 garter snakes living in close proximity.
The San Francisco garter snake is a protected species in California that can come in a variety of colors. They typically have a bright orange head to go with black and red stripes that run down the length of the body. There are also typically pale blue stripes as well on the underbelly, giving them an almost glowing look. They really are something. Back in the 1970s, they were put on the Endangered Species list because development in the wetlands of California had really compromised the population. But at the airport, this group is really thriving.
Because the part of the airport is sectioned off from the rest of the facility, there’s no danger to the snakes being harmed by the comings and goings of travelers. And conversely, they aren’t making their way across the tarmac to hitch a ride on any plane. In this way, the environment has set up well for the garter snakes which can range from one to three feet in length. And not to worry, they aren’t poisonous either.
If the idea of snakes randomly showing up in unexpected places has been more on your mind lately, don’t worry because you aren’t alone. It sure seems like there have been more and more occurrences around the globe of these reptiles giving unsuspecting folks jolts here and there. There was the case of a bunch of snakes living in the ceiling of a house, found by the renters. The owner there wanted nothing to do with them. There’s also been more than a few instances of grocery store customers finding them slithering across the shelves.
Or maybe you want to take things in a different direction. Rather than trying to avoid snakes altogether, you might into catching them. Well good news, there’s a sport for that which is gaining quite a bit of popularity. So you can take a love/hate approach to snakes in your everyday life. This latest find of the large cache of snakes is good news though because it means a protected species is actually finding a place to thrive.