Snake Man, Terry Vandeventer, teaches snake safety

By Judith Roberts

It’s hard to go a summer in Lincoln Parish without seeing some type of snake, but in case one runs across a slithery serpent during these hot summer months, take two steps back and walk away. 

The Snake Man himself, Terry Vandeventer, visited the Lincoln Parish Library Wednesday afternoon in one of his last two educational summer reading programs. Bringing a corn snake, a king snake, a blue racer snake, chicken snake, and a hog-nosed snake for kids and adults alike to see, his job was to educate residents about local snakes – which included how to stay safe around snakes. 

“Seventy to 80 percent of all snake bites happen during an attempt to kill a venomous snake,” Vandeventer said. “Snakes don’t attack people, people attack snakes. If you don’t kill snakes, you greatly reduce your chance of being bitten by a snake. So what do we do if we see one? Take a deep breath, take two steps back and walk away.” 

Around 250 individuals – kids and adults – attended the informative program, which was enjoyed by patrons, said Marcie Nelson, head of children services at the Library Event Center manager. 

“Terry Vandeventer is always a successful program,” Nelson said. “I love it. I’ve been seeing him in the programs for over a decade. I’ve worked with four different library systems, and he’s been in all.” 

Ruston resident Leigh Nugent came to the program with her four sons. 

“The boys love snakes,” Nugent said. “We went to the San Diego Zoo, the Alexandria Zoo, the Monroe Zoo, but all the snakes were behind glass, so I thought this would be a good experience for them.” 

Vandeventer discussed venomous and nonvenomous snakes, the differences of the snakes he brought with him and showed to participants, how to respect snakes, and why and how snakes camouflage.  

“Louisiana is blessed with snakes,” he said. “We want to talk about safety, science and respect.” 

Vandeventer came to speak as part of the library’s summer reading program, which also included last month’s visit from Gator Man Gabe Griffin and his baby alligators. 

“I’ve been doing programs every day for the past 45 years,” Vandeventer said. “As far as summer reading programs go, this is hands down the largest group I’ve ever had — and it was like that the last time I was here.” 

The last summer reading event is at 4 p.m. today, when a Camping and Survival Skills Demo is slated to take place. 


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