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Posted by Wes von Papinešu on May 29, 1999 at 20:52:31:
ARKANSAS DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE () 24 May 99 LR museum charms children, adults alike with live snake exhibit
While puppies and kittens might thrill some children, 8-year-old Haley Colclasure has always been crazy about snakes.
Haley, who has a Burmese python, ran around the Museum of Discovery's new snake exhibit Sunday, touching glass cages and talking to the snakes.
"Don't touch the glass," yelled her mother, Laura Mullins of North Little Rock. "You see, she has no fear of them, which kind of scares me."
Mullins took her daughter and nephew to the second-day opening of the downtown Little Rock museum's "Fangs: The World of Deadly Snakes!" The exhibit offers a glimpse of the reptiles' life, biology, habitat and even mythology through the eyes of a snake, museum educator Melissa Eulitt said.
The exhibit aims to battle ignorance about snakes and make Arkansans feel more comfortable around venomous creatures, because "snakes are kind of misunderstood," Eulitt said.
A dozen live snakes, a few of which are enclosed beneath a suspension bridge people can walk across, are presented to help people learn to identify different venomous species.
That's what enticed Daniel Dixon, who brought his two sons to the exhibit so they could learn more about the snakes they see from day to day on their 5-acre home site in Conway. Dixon said he wants to become more familiar with the types, and more comfortable with them.
"I grew up thinking snakes were the devil," Dixon said, "and here they are, just another part of the ecosystem."
Snake expert Randall Berry, who works in the reptile division of the Little Rock Zoo, gave several presentations throughout the weekend. He passed around a snake's rattle and a snake, which would not bite, he assured his audience.
He told children Sunday how to be aware of snakes, how the brightly colored snakes are the most deadly, how snakes can sense warm-blooded creatures and how they strike.
"For the most part they're more afraid of you then you are of them," Berry said. "But if it's going to bite, they [rattlesnakes] warn you before they strike with a rattle."
This weekend's opening events for the exhibit also offered storytelling, an electric show and a robotics show.
A live snake presentation will run daily with the exhibit through Aug. 23. The exhibit costs $2 for adults and $1.50 for children and senior citizens, in addition to the Museum of Discovery entry fees.