Johnathan Schmidt, local rattlesnake wrangler and educator, presented a lesson to the kindergarten classes at Hamilton K-8 Friday, Nov. 8.
The school children were curious and excited to talk and learn about snakes, and Schmidt tailored his presentation especially for them, explaining how to act if they see a rattlesnake, what the snake can and can’t do, what the snakes eat, where they live and how to avoid the reptiles.
Schmidt answered many questions about the animals he said he strives to protect. Building knowledge is one way to accomplish this goal, he said, as the more children know and understand, the better they can handle inevitable interactions with snakes.
“What does a rattlesnake eat?” he asked the students.
Hands flew up and one child gave the correct answer – rats and mice. The kindergarteners pointed out their rattlesnake artwork that was displayed in the classroom. The colorfully crafted serpents hung from the ceiling, sticking out their paper tongues.
Schmidt brought several safely contained rattlesnakes to show the children, explaining how to identify them and stay safe. The main theme of the show and tell was that if a child did not want to have a snake near them, that wish was honored with full support.
Children squealed with enthusiasm as Schmidt’s daughter Evelyn showed them her rosy boa so they could pet the smooth, soft and gentle animal.
The half-hour lesson divulged a good amount of information and good advice to help keep children and snakes safe.
To learn more about local rattlesnakes, visit Southern California Buzztail Preservation at www.facebook.com/Southern-California-Buzztail-Preservation-300604257295592.
Diane Sieker can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.