by Sam Spence
At least one person is sticking up for the snake that Catherine Templeton pretend-shot with granddaddy's pistol in a TV ad this week.
Retired DNR herpetologist Steve Bennett told the Anderson Independent Mail this week that it is "incredibly irresponsible to suggest shooting or killing snakes, even rattlesnakes."
In the ad, Templeton loads a revolver and pops two .38-caliber rounds into a rattlesnake off screen, presumably just like the ones she was instructed to kill when assigned to armed snake patrol as a child outside her grandfather's "fishin' trailer."
Snakes have an undeserved bad rap, Bennett says, and Templeton's ad doesn't help.
"Ms. Templeton's ad perpetuates a stereotype that is rooted in ignorance and extreme bias," Bennet says.
Over the course of a 17-year research project in Hampton County, Bennett found that snakes almost always avoid human interaction.
"I know this is not the era of science, unfortunately, but there are very sound biological principles, grounded in ecological energetic, for this behavior," Bennett said, flicking his tongue at Templeton's Republican brethren who've made hay taking issue with humanity's role in climate change and the theory of evolution.
DNR says that the fake snake that Templeton appeared to put to rest in the ad was an Eastern diamondback rattlesnake, a species that doesn't usually live near Fair Play, S.C. where Templeton said her grandfather lived. DNR says the Eastern diamondback is considered a "species of concern" and the federal Fish and Wildlife Service names it "at risk."
Templeton spokesman Mark Powell told The State that no snakes were actually harmed, but actually wrote down the words "constantly outraged liberal left," explaining that the group is "terrified" of his boss.