I firmly believe that kids love snakes regardless of where they live in the world. Fear of snakes is a LEARNED behavior that we get from our parents, grandparents, teachers, or any other adult that has influence over our children. I have witnessed this in every place I have had an opportunity to educate people about snakes. This includes Kenya which has a deep rooted belief that snakes contain evil magic and only witch doctors can handle them.
If you don't believe me, just check out the photos below! It isn't just the kids either. When adults come to our programs with an open mind, it is amazing to me as an outsider watching their transformation. They start with hesitancy but eventually get closer and closer as the program continues. Snakes REALLY are that fucking COOL!
One of my favorite things to do at a snake talk is a feeding demonstration. I do these not only to education people about the unique adaptations snakes have to eat their prey whole but to also see the reaction of the parents. The kids are easy to predict - they love it from start to finish. The parents on the other hand start out MORTIFIED that I have a dead mouse with me. They then get even more upset when I have the snake take the mouse from my fingers but then the fun starts. I typically like to hold the snake the entire time it eats so that I can make sure everyone gets a good view. This helps me get close to the kids but it is the parents I have to watch out for. As soon as the snake starts eating, the smartphones pop out and video gets rolling. By the end, the parents are pushing through the kids to get better video with their phones. Everyone goes home excited about snakes and their amazing ability to consume large prey items whole. I go home satisfied that I have reach more people who can spread the word about how cool snakes really are.
Please click on the Evening of Sharing link below to see 289 photos of kids smiling when interacting with snakes. The photos are from a recent event at an elementary school Every program, every child we reach has moments like those captured in the photos. This is why I founded the Center for Snake Conservation - to change human perceptions so we can initiate and implement conservation programs to protect on of our planet's coolest and most integral components of HEALTHY ecosystems.
Click this link for Evening of Sharing Photos and be amazed at the wonder snakes bring children.