Reading with reptiles

Snakeman Steve Hawkins brings live animals to Rutherford County libraries.
Jul. 10, 2013 @ 05:00 AM

Rutherford County libraries were crawling with reptiles and amphibians on Tuesday.

Snakeman Steve Hawkins, a herpetologist, conducted the summer reading program at Haynes Branch Library, The Rutherford County Library and Mountains Brannch Library. For the program, he brought in some live animals for the children to observe.

"He is very popular and this fits into the theme of the summer Dig Into Reading' perfectly because snakes live underground," said Jeannie Smith, children's librarian.

To start out, Hawkins introduced the children to a frog and a toad. He talked to them about the different characteristics of each such as how a toad can be poisonous.

"If something is venomous, that means it ejects venom. If it is poisonous then it can hurt you if you eat it or touch it. So a toad can make a dog foam at the mouth if they try to eat it," Hawkins said.

They also met a Carolina Box Turtle named Daisy.

"Turtles can get up to as much as 100 years old," Hawkins said. "They have growth rings called scutes. Those growth rings show how long the turtle has been alive."

Once he got warmed up. It was time for the snakes.

Hawkins showed a black snake, a bullsnake, a kingsnake and a hognose snake.

"Hognose snakes use their noses to turn over rocks to look for prey. They're completely harmless but if they are threatened they will puff up, hiss and strike. If that doesn't work then they will play dead," Hawkins said. "Snakes smell with their tongues and they can't hear, so they pick up vibrations from the ground."

After his presentation, the children were invited to touch the snakes.

Upcoming summer reading programs include Professor Whizzpop and Mountain Storyteller/Musician Jeff Robins.


Upcoming Summer Reading Programs 

9:30 a.m. Haynes Branch Library

12:30 p.m. Rutherford County Library

3:30 p.m. Mountains Branch Library

July 16- Professor Whizzpop

July 23- Mountain Storyteller/Musician Jeff Robins

July 30- Summer Reading Celebration Party