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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Snake Talks in Schools: Media Update

The media are taking note. Two cable news stations have reported so far, one more to come tomorrow, and the second-largest newspaper ran a piece on my snake classes today.

Here's one of the TV news reports online:

Part One

Part Two

Happy Christmas from (relatively) Christmas-free Taiwan!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

An Approach to Fear of Snakes

I talk about ophidiophobia during my snake lectures in elementary schools (there are always some kids who display it). I tell them I know some of them fear snakes, and that it's OK, because phobias are normal. I tell them I'm not afraid of having any "disgusting" animal walk all over my body, including tarantulas, cockroaches and millipedes. I ramp up the excitement listing these eeew-y animals that I don't fear at all, eeeew-ing the students out to the max....and then I put the needle to the balloon: "But you know what I really AM afraid of? Flying. I become a pant-wetting wreck as soon as the plane takes off." (Well, it's not THAT bad, but "Chief Whiteknuckle" is one of my nicknames). That results in much head-shaking and giggling, because for most kids, sitting in an airplane is boring at best, not a cause for utter terror. Then I continue "And you know why? No? Me neither. It's all in the head, and it's something you need to identify as irrational and then fight it, because phobias mess up your lives"

That usually makes them think . "Wow, that big man with the six-foot snake around his neck, the guy who seeks out kraits and pitvipers in the dark of night, and takes close-up photos of them.....he actually FEARS something, and something that silly at that?"