The Snake Man cometh

By Dena Evans
Post correspondent

EAST ROCKINGHAM — The Hive Recreational Center was slithering with excitement last night when Frank the “Snake Man” Prosser conducted a class on poisonous snake identification.

Prosser, along with colleagues James Jeter and Larry Bordeaux, entertained a small crowd of Richmond County residents with their vast knowledge of snakes indigenous to Eastern North Carolina.

Dena Evans | PeeDeePost.com Cord Bullard was fearless and inquisitive as they surrounded the “Snake Man” for some one-on-one interaction with a milk snake. Seeing the children, initially hesitant to touch the snake, eagerly seek out this interaction supports Frank Prosser’s mission in conducting these education sessions.

Dena Evans | PeeDeePost.com
Cord Bullard was fearless and inquisitive as they surrounded the “Snake Man” for some one-on-one interaction with a milk snake. Seeing the children, initially hesitant to touch the snake, eagerly seek out this interaction supports Frank Prosser’s mission in conducting these education sessions.

Prosser’s interest in snakes dates back 40-years. By his own account, he has been bitten nine times by venomous snakes and over 500 times by those of the non-venomous variety — he has the scars to prove it. Among snakes on display for the crowd Saturday were the eastern corn snake, eastern hognose, copperhead, a rattlesnake and a mole king snake.

Those in the audience were educated in the process of identifying the snakes. For example, copperheads can be identified by visualizing the hourglass shapes which run along the back of the snake, as well as the reptiles’ copper coloring. Conversely, the eastern hognose, often mistaken for a copperhead, varies slightly in color and exhibits the unusual behavior of hissing or rolling over to play dead if threatened.

Posser’s presentation also helped to dispel a myth about snakes — no matter how little one might like them.

“Snakes are more helpful than harmful,” Posser said. For example, the eastern king snake, immune to the venom of any poisonous snake, actually eats full-size rattlesnakes and copperheads!

Both Jeter and Prosser lamented over the need for more medical personnel in the county to become engaged in the identification of snakes in the region. As Jeter pointed out, following a snake bite, one of the first questions the victim will be asked is “Do you know what kind of snake it was?” Both Jeter and Prosser believe that educating providers, nurses and first-responders is imperative to achieving positive outcomes after an individual suffers a snakebite.

Prosser is quick to point out, though, that “most people bitten by venomous snakes are at fault.” People should exercise caution, especially around woodpiles, old tarps and any other place where snakes may seek shelter or safe haven.

Filed in: Featured News, Latest Headlines, News, Outdoors

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