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Posted by Wes von Papinešu on December 29, 1999 at 19:25:05:
SAVANNAH MORNING NEWS (Georgia) 28 December 99 Snakes charm Liberty County man: Nothing rattles his tail more than snake roundups and the blind fear of reptiles (Anne Cordeiro)
Tim Lane wants the chance meetings of people and snakes to end with both of them leaving alive.
So Lane, a maintenance worker at St. Catherines Island in Liberty County, spends his days off showing his collection of snakes and other reptiles at schools and malls.
He figures that people will be less apt to kill reptiles if they know more about them.
He's also on a mission to stop the deliberate killing of rattlesnakes, and the practice of taking them from the wild for rattlesnake roundups.
Lane knows that most of us were taught that snakes are harmful.
"I've been taught that all my life," he said. "It just didn't stick."
He wants the rest of us to feel more comfortable, too. Lane has been in love with snakes since the first grade when he saw a hog-nosed snake.
Now, with two children of his own, he keeps more than 20 snakes in a building behind his home. Inside, he has glass tanks with jungle carpet pythons, albino Burmese pythons, yellow anaconda boa constrictors, Columbian boa constrictors and other snakes. Lane also has bearded dragons, newts, and an Australian blue tongue skink, a favorite at Lane's shows.
To learn more about Tim Lane's petition or have him speak to your group about snakes call him at 884-7409. If you want to learn more about snakes, Lane recommends the National Audubon's Field Guide to North American Reptiles and Amphibians.
Robert Lessnau, an adjunct professor at Armstrong Atlantic State University, asks for Lane to bring the skink and snakes to his classroom as part of his biology lessons.
He learned about Lane's passion for reptiles in his work at St. Catherines Island, where, on occasion, workers have encountered rattlesnakes on the island. Lane bags the snake and moves it to another part of the island.
"He gives the animal all the respect it deserves," Lessnau said.
That's what Lane wishes other people would do. Since July he has collected 700 names on a petition calling for an end to the killing of rattlers. He fears that events like rattlesnake roundups could endanger the only creature with a rattler on its tail.
He wants to give the petition to local governments, such as Claxton's, as well as cities in Oklahoma, Texas, and Arizona, that allow rattlesnake roundups.
"The goal of the roundups was to get them out of populated areas," Lane said. "I think they have more than accomplished that goal."
But Claxton's Mayor Perry Lee DeLoach doesn't think his community will stop the annual event, which will celebrate its 33rd birthday next year.
"It will continue unless there is a state or federal law that prohibits it," DeLoach said.
The snakes aren't killed at the roundup, according to David Strickland, the president of the Evans County Wildlife Club, which organizes the event. The snakes are sold and milked for venom that's used for medical research and in drugs, Strickland said.
"We also try to educate people what the snake looks like and not to touch it," Strickland said.
Lane would agree that people shouldn't touch rattlers and he thinks everyone should learn more about snakes. He wishes that people going in the woods would wear appropriate attire, such as sturdy pants and shoes, just in case they find a snake. He doesn't have a problem with people defending themselves against poisonous snakes.
"But if you've got time to go get something to kill it that's not self defense," Lane said.