Wednesday, January 11, 2017

My Scarlet Snake Story

I found my first ever Scarlet Snake at St. Joseph Peninsula State Park in Florida when I was 10 years old. It was a roadkill on the main drive of the park. I was there with my family and was learning at an early age that I could road cruise on my bike and find snakes. Scarlet snakes were not listed as occurring in the park so I showed my find to the ranger that would walk through the campground each day checking in with the guests. He was adamant that the snake I held dead in my hands was a scarlet kingsnake and I tried to educate him on the differences between the tricolored snakes of Florida. He wouldn't listen and all I wanted was to add a species of snake to the park's species list. I skinned the snake, salted and pinned the skin out to dry and kept it. I still have this skin somewhere in my old belongings. I might have to find it now. It seems I learned early on that people have their preconceived perceptions about snakes and that conservation through education is needed.

Guess what happens when you fast forward 30 years and revisit St. Joseph Peninsula State Park - you find the scarlet snake pictured here. I told that ranger that they occurred in the park!

Conservation Through Education

Scarlet Snake

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