---> "they discovered the remains of more than 1 million birds instead of the nests they were tasked with collecting.
The team found the remains of a fire and various trash strewn about including shoes and plastic bottles." <---
Remains of a fire ...
So , somebody went to that cave and lit a fire , may be put some plastic rubbish in it ... Toxic smoke can easily kill a lot of birds in a cave .
I hope they find the one who is responsible for this and make him pay ...
But if , the excuse will be that he did not realize the consequences of his acts ... just as always ... too many stupid people around .
I do understand your phobia and am not making light of it, but once you are able to identify the snakes near where you live, your fear might be better controlled if you know they aren't likely hazardous to you, or your cat.
I was much like you, terrified of almost all slithering things. When I was a child, I accidentally stepped in a swirling ball of garter snakes and it imprinted a strong fear of the reptiles.
Later, as a youth, my family moved to an area that had four types of commonly found poisonous snakes. We all learned to identify them, even from a distance and avoided any truly dangerous encounters.
I've learned about the snakes I'm most likely to meet where I live now, and pythons, when seen don't make me run and hide...just the cobras.
Like I said, I'm not making light, but knowing what's out there makes it easier to avoid a heart attack when you do see one. I still don't like them, but I don't freak out when I see one, now.
Ah-ha, @BigHewer . . . your mention of residents' association gives more than a lie to your present location, which I have more than a hunch isn't in this country. What an excellent approach towards taking the 'live or die' decision out of residents' hands and letting it rest, presumably heavily, on the conscience of those poor but industrial cats . . . excellent! (:-)