Children ooo’d and ahh’d when they recently got the chance to meet a live corn snake, Sassafras, at the Hudson Library. Tori Duval, education outreach specialist at the Western North Carolina Nature Center, taught the kids about snakes and how some can be dangerous and others are harmless, discussed different types of camouflage, and touched on reptilian eating habits.
“I love to raise awareness of our local wildlife,” said Duval. “Getting people to appreciate them (snakes) and respect them from a distance and to get them to appreciate animals more than they already do.”
Duval’s visit to Highlands is part of the library’s Summer Reading Program. Attendees were allowed to create their own snake using art supplies before Duval brought out eight-year-old Sassafras for the kids to feel her scaly skin.
“It felt squishy,” said Anna Fox, 11. “I thought it would be rough.”
Highlands resident Sarah Mathiowdis said programs like the one at the library are great for her two children.
“This is educational and the kids learn a lot,” she said. “Plus it’s fun and now they’re not afraid of snakes.”