Re: why lawns: We have cut lawns nowadays to cut down on vermin issues (particularly re: snakes -- an overgrown yard in some places can be damn dangerous -- but there's some other critters it helps with, too.) and reduce fire hazards in crowded areas. S'not just aesthetics. Can depend on how high grass/undergrowth normally gets for your area, though.
I never thought of that either! This matches my experience of not seeing snakes since I lived somewhere where there were closeby grassy areas, wilderness. Never seen any since I moved to the middle of a dense suburb, not even an unkempt lot in sight, and if anything tried to get here from the nearest habitat, it would get run over or picked up by a hawk on the way.
I miss snakes. Rattlers are the only scary ones I've seen in the region, and only in one area I've been to have I seen them. They rattle and you go away.
I'd just be worried about making sure I don't step on one before I notice it.
On a side note, has anybody ever seen that episode of survivor man where the guy eats a big fat snake? I think it was a rattler. I've been wanting to try snake for a while...
Randon thought: I bet cows and rattle snakes don't like each other much.
Cows turn their hiding grounds into lawns.