It got a call from a parent the other morning. "Can my daughter bring a snake into class?"
I love it when kids show interest in the outside world. I asked the mom what kind it was. they weren't sure, but someone had cut the head off of it. They thought it might be a copper head.
I wasn't thrilled about a dead snake in my room - it was gonna smell - but this might be a rare opportunity to educate the kids about what a real venomous snake looks like. It is one thing to see a picture, and totally another to see the real thing. This could be a good lesson.
When the little girl got to school, she was excited to show me her treasure.
It was gorgeous. It was an absolutely beautiful red rat snake. 3 feet long and beautiful - but it had no head.
The children and I discussed why we should not kill snakes. Identify them, respect them - don't kill them.
I don't understand the inherent hatred so many people have for snakes.
Here's one scientific theory: Humans and other primates are predisposed to acquire fears of critters that once threatened our ancestors' lives.
Psychologist Susan Mineka. of Northwestern University contends that we have a predisposition to such memories" because our ancestors once had to face snakes, certainly more so than, say, ovens. Because they survived, those who rapidly acquired the fear were most favored in natural
Mineka, along with University of Wisconsin psychologist Michael Cook, put the theory to a test in six rhesus monkeys. Reared in the lab, the animals had no prior exposure to snakes. The psychologists showed a videotape of wild-reared monkeys reacting with horror to snakes. Within 24 minutes, the lab monkeys acquired a fear of snakes.
The psychologists then edited fake flowers, a toy snake, a toy rabbit, and a toy crocodile into the video. Tests later showed that after 40 to 60 seconds of exposure to each object, the monkeys feared only the toy snakes and crocodiles. Of the four objects, only snakes and crocodiles preyed on our ancestors. Coincidence?
I can't explain it. Maybe the psychology is true. maybe people learn their fears. All I can ask is that people educate themselves. How can that be bad?