Historic Jefferson College to host snake lecture Wednesday

Published 12:50 am Sunday, July 18, 2010

NATCHEZ — Historic Jefferson College Branch Director Robin Person would like to get children educated about snakes while they’re young.

That way there’s a chance they won’t grow up to be so afraid of them.

Because of this, Person hopes that plenty of young people choose to spend part of their afternoon at a snake lecture the college is hosting Wednesday.

“(The lecture) isn’t particularly aimed at any certain age group, but we’d like plenty of children to come out,” Person said.

“The fear of snakes is not something we’re born with — it’s taught to you by someone. By teaching kid early how beneficial snakes can be, it can maybe keep the fear out later in life.

“The more you learn about something, the less likely you are to fear it.”

Bryan Fedrick, herpetologist for the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science, will be giving the lecture, Person said.

“He’ll be talking about Mississippi snakes and how to tell the difference between venomous and non-venomous ones,” Person said.

“You won’t hear anything about cobras, but you will probably hear something about copperheads.”

With it being summer, Person said the ability to correctly identify snakes and knowing what to do when you see one is especially important.

“You have a very good chance of seeing a snake if you go outside in Mississippi. We want people to be educated about which ones could be dangerous, as well as try and encourage people not to kill them, but learn more about them,” she said.

“We have a nature trail out here that we encourage people to use, and it’s not unlikely that you might see a snake out there. People will also run into them in their yard or garden, and too many people say they’re afraid of them, but they’re such a help to our homes.

“Obviously, you don’t want one living in your home, but they keep things like rats and mice at bay that would normally eat our food or destroy our stuff.”

And the lecture will consist of live exhibits, Person added.

“(Fedrick) usually brings a variety of snakes, and I also have three snakes of my own that live in my office, in cages. We use them for educational programs too,” Person said.

“We hope a lot of people come out, and we’d like to really encourage people to call us or e-mail us and let us know they’re coming. That way, we can get a sense of what the number (of people) will be.”

Person can be reached at 601-442-2901, or by e-mail at rsperson@cableone.net.