Venomous Reptile Ecology and Safe Snake Handling

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Our board member Dr. Erika Nowak conducts venomous reptile ecology and safe snake handling trainings for local National Park Service staff and other groups (wineries, golf courses, homeonewners associations, and environmental consulting companies). These trainings are based on Erika's almost-20 years of radio-telemetry research on the ecology and management of rattlesnakes and gila monsters in national parks, which has given her a unique perspective on the behavior of these fascinating yet misunderstood animals. Importantly, the trainings include supervised practice using live snakes. Please contact Dr. Nowak at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.

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Safe snake handling training that was conducted in 2009 in conjunction with the US Forest Service (Red Rock Ranger District) for USFS campground hosts

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safe snake handling training in 2011 for Page Springs Cellars winery. Photo by Harry Sweet



Dr. Erika Nowak supervising training at Page Spring Cellars. Photo by Harry Sweet.


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Page Springs Cellars training. Photo by Harry Sweet.

Prairie Dog Life

Click on the burrow images to find out more.

Nursing Chamber

A mother keeps her young pups safe while the other Prairie Dogs investigate the snake.

Entering the Burrow

A prairie dog hears an emergency cry of "snake" and goes to investigate.

Listening chamber

A prairie dog sits listening just beneath the surface of the ground.

The Rattlesnake

The rattlesnake found a prairie dog burrow to sleep in but has been discovered by the prairie dogs.

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