Learning the scales

By Lillian Bowe
Staff writer
lbowe@pntonline.com

Valerie Russ, who works at Oasis State Park, is not bothered by being around animals, but snakes, she has never liked.

When Kathryn Law, from Living Desert Park in Roswell, asked her if she wanted to pet the Western Hognose Snake, Russ was hesitant.
Cheyenne Lattin, another employee from Oasis, was not afraid of the snake and petted it without reservations.

Lillian Bowe: Staff photo Kathryn Law, right, shows Cheyenne Lattin, front, and Valerie Russ a western hognose snake at Law’s presentation on Saturday at Oasis State Park. Law said she has raised the snake, named Oink, since birth.

Lillian Bowe: Staff photo
Kathryn Law, right, shows Cheyenne Lattin, front, and Valerie Russ a western hognose snake at Law’s presentation on Saturday at Oasis State Park. Law said she has raised the snake, named Oink, since birth.

“It is so soft,” said Lattin, showing a little confusion. “I thought it would be rough.”

With this new information, Russ started to pet the snake and was also shocked by how soft the snake felt.

Law gave a presentation on snakes Saturday at Oasis State Park. Law said she travels around the state giving these presentations.
“Snakes are so misunderstood. They do not want to harm people; they’d rather leave you alone,” Law said.

Law brought one live snake named Oink, which she raised from birth. Those attending the presentation were all able to pet the snake as it was very docile.

Law educated the group on how snakes move, how they survive in the wild and how they inject venom.

Law used a hyperemic needle, which she informed people had the same shape as a snake’s fang. She filled the needle with food coloring to showed how the venom can be injected into its prey.

Russ said she learn so much about snakes, like how to tell the difference between a venomous and a non-venomous snakes by just looking at the shape of its head.

Lattin said she thought it was really interesting that you can look at a snake’s shed skin and know what type of snake it is.
“This was really cool. I learned a lot,” Lattin said.