IHS students enjoy slithery friends in show

Published 2:41 pm Friday, April 6, 2018

By JOYANNA LOVE/Senior Staff Writer

Isabella High School senior Austin Jones had a surprise waiting for him at school on April 5.

He had been selected as one of a few students to assist Becky Yarbrough Tucker of Yarbrough’s Educational Reptiles with the annual snake show.

Jones agreed to help out — despite his fear of snakes.

Jones said he was nervous, but the show helped him to be more knowledgeable about the animals.

“This is something that is really good to have because you are teaching kids about dangerous things out in the woods,” Jones said. “All these kids have played out in the woods before, and they are all probably eventually going to run into one.”

Getting to hold the alligator was Jones’ favorite part.

Tucker’s presentation included a variety of snakes found in Alabama, other states and the world.

She also showed students other reptiles, including a snapping turtle, Gila monster, alligator and black throat monitor lizard from Africa.

Her favorite part of doing the snake and reptile shows is “carrying out my family’s legacy.”

“My dad was like one of the original snake people,” Tucker said.

She was around the animals from a young age and eventually entered the family business.

“When I was about three years old we opened a zoo called the snake room,” Tucker said.

Even though there are only four types of venomous snakes in the United States, Tucker told students they should never try to pick up a snake because this is how most people get bit.

Tucker reassured students that dying from a snake bite is rare in the United States now because of anti-venom and medicine available. She said it was important to keep this in mind and stay calm if bit by a snake in order to keep the venom from spreading and causing damage, such as paralysis.

“You have to stay calm and get to the doctor,” Tucker said.

She also told them how to identify the different kinds of snakes.

Desiree Wilson, a parent of an IHS students, also had a chance to get in on the action by holding Tucker’s American alligator.

Wilson said she had not expected to be a part of the show and was nervous at first.

“It was awesome,” Wilson said of holding the reptile.

She said the show was important for students because it tells them “what to look for and what not to touch.”

Wilson said she liked how Tucker interacted with the students throughout the show.

Maylee Campbell, a fifth-grade student, said she enjoyed seeing the large alligator, which she had not seen last year. Fellow fifth-grade student Colton Conway said this was his favorite part also.

“I’ve always liked alligators,” Conway said.

Seeing the python, which Yarbrough named Banana Pudding, was also a highlight for him. Campbell and Conway are looking forward to next year when they can touch the snake.

During the elementary school presentation, Tucker let the sixth-grade students stand side by side in groups and take turns holding the giant snake.

“I liked watching the diamondback rattlesnake strike,” Conway said.

The snake struck at a balloon in Tucker’s hand and popped it.

“We always enjoy the show,” Principal Ricky Porter said. “We think it’s good for the students to know what the snakes look like, what to do if they see one and what to do if they happen to get bit by one.”

He said he especially enjoys the hands-on aspects of the show with the older students.

Campbell said this year “that king snakes aren’t poisonous” was a fact that stood out to her.

“I don’t like poisonous snakes, but I’m OK with chicken snakes,” Conway said.

Campbell said coming to the show helped her with her fear of snakes.

“I’m not really afraid of them anymore,” Campbell said.

For more information, visit Yarbrough’s Educational Reptiles- the snake show on Facebook.