Snakes can be very appealing to a curious child who might decide to get a closer look when confronted by one, but that could turn out to be the most dangerous game they ever play.
Pest control professionals such as Fischer Environmental Control are used to dealing with all sorts of difficult and dangerous scenarios, but teaching your kids the basics of snake safety could be a life lesson that turns out to be very valuable if they encounter a venomous reptile in their yard.
Learning to appreciate and respect snakes
It can be a normal reaction for a child to be fearful of a snake, but that can sometimes be just as problematic as being too curious and not knowing when to respect them and give them some space.
It is not a pleasant experience to be fearful of something like a snake or a spider, and it can make a situation worse if that is the case.
A much better approach is to try and introduce an appreciation and understanding of snakes so that the reaction is more managed and a potentially dangerous confrontation is handled well.
Explain the danger
You don’t want to alarm your child or instill a sense of fear in them about snakes, but you do also need to explain in a calm way, why some snakes can be dangerous.
Although it might depend to a certain extent on where you live, it can often pay to teach young one healthy respect for all snakes, until they can distinguish which ones are venomous, which ones like to constrict their prey and which ones do not pose a potential threat.
If your child understands the potential dangers and is made aware that a snake could well contain a poison that could make them seriously ill very quickly, but won’t necessarily use these powers unless they feel threatened or provoked, that would be a good starting point from a safety perspective.
Handling an encounter
It is vital if your child is going to cope well with a snake encounter at some point, that they are taught not to fear or be hateful of snakes.
It is often a good idea to cover both the good and bad aspects of snakes.
Snakes play an important ecological role in our environment so they deserve their space, but you also need to make your child aware of the behavior they need to demonstrate in front of a snake if they are going to avoid a potential injury.
Try to create a list of snakes that are known to be in your particular area, and if you can put together something like a PowerPoint presentation on your computer, this will give you the chance to talk about each snake in turn, covering what they look like and what their characteristics and danger levels are.
The general point to get across is that all snakes have the capacity to bite you, but will only normally do so when they feel threatened.
This could happen if a child grabbed a snake while playing for example, so teach them to be wary, but not scared.
Teaching snake safety to a child is a life lesson that could prove invaluable.
Robert Kunst was appointed by Louisiana Governor Blanco to a 4-year term on the Louisiana Structural Pest Control Commission in 2004 and was reappointed by Governor Jindal in 2008 and 2012. He is president of Fischer Environmental Services and has worked in the pest control industry for over 40 years.