The follwing photos and article appeared in the Pike County Times after the Snakes of Georgia Encounter Seminar at the Barnesville - Lamar Co. Library.
Snake Exhibition at the Barnesville Library
Pike County Times
Would you volunteer to be one of 152 children and adults in a small room with 15 or more snakes and 2 alligators? What if only a few of the snakes were poisonous?
Southeastern Reptile Rescue gave a one hour snake demonstration at the Barnesville Public Library on Monday night to kick off the Summer Reading Program. Of course my kids wanted to go so let them sit with all the kids and I'm taking pictures--along with Laura Geiger from the Pike Journal Reporter--far too close to these reptiles that scare me to death!
We were in good hands though. Jason and Sarah Clark and his Dad Mike Clark, were taking care of us. There was only one bite (11 teeth marks and tiny bit of blood) from an agitated non-venomous snake on skin and several bites into a pair of snakebite proof boots from a Timber Rattler. Yes, I was WAY too close to regular snakes and here we are in the same room with a Timber Rattler!
Southeastern Reptile Rescue specializes in reptile education. Jason Clark is a police officer in a neighboring county and goes out on 911 calls on a regular basis to remove snakes from inside of homes or pick up an 11 foot, 43 1/2 pound Burmese python that is wrapped around a guardrail on a road in Spalding County. She's now 50 pounds and very docile (for a now 12 foot, 50 pound snake that eats 5 rabbits a week!) and doesn't mind being showed off and petted by a bunch of kids.
Snake education includes teaching kids and adults what to do when they encounter a snake. The first rule for kids if they encounter a snake is "Do not touch it and tell an adult." Jason told the adults in the room that "Most people get bit trying to kill snakes."
Out of the 41 snakes in Georgia, only 6 are poisonous. The saying "Red on black, friend of Jack. Red on yellow, kill a fellow" tells how to know which snakes are poisonous and which are not. If the red stripes touch black stripes, it is not poisonous. And it probably eats those that are poisonous along with rats and mice that I don't want living in my house. If red and yellow stripes touch, watch out!
Jason even told us how poisonous snakes are being used to find cures for disease such as copperhead venom in research for breast cancer. Mike and Jason let the kids pet a couple of baby alligators and told us that there are over 200,000 alligators in Georgia. And we were the first group to see the albino Timber Rattler that was found in Lamar County and one of two in the Southeast.