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Local Snake-tuary Keeps Snakes and Citizens Safe

Steven Kennedy of Steve's Snaketuary

According to the Louisiana Sportsman, there are 48 different breeds of snakes in Louisiana, alone. However, only seven of them are venomous.

Steven Kennedy: Every snake is a good snake, you know, even the venomous ones. And, just like you’re here for a purpose, there’s a reason for you being here, it’s the same thing with snakes.

That was Steven Kennedy, owner of Steve’s Snaketuary. Steve’s Snaketuary provides safe removal, re-homing, and relocation of snakes for Shreveport and its surrounding areas. Steven says he is dedicated to helping snakes.

Steven Kennedy: One time I was off duty. My family and I were dressed up, we were heading out to a wedding–dressed up really nice. When I saw the snake call, I said, ‘Well, we’ve got to go.’ So, we turned around and went to the house, it was a huge party. There’s people standing around with axes and knives and all this crazy stuff because there was a snake, and it was in between the floor of the cabinet and the actual floor. He dropped the saws-all, jumped back and screamed, ‘There it is!’ And it was a big six-foot rat snake. I go in there and I grab it, I pull it out. And, like I said, we were late for the wedding. And, so, I put it in a pillowcase, I tied it up, and I had to sit there with it in my lap during the wedding.

Kennedy says he has seen a positive effect with his work. While keeping the snakes safe, he highlights how much emphasis he puts into keeping people safe, too.

Steven Kennedy: Years ago, we got a call through 9-1-1: a little eight-year-old girl had gotten bit by a snake. And by the time I showed up, and, you know, the foot was swollen up to the ankle- paramedic on duty looked at me and said, ‘That’s a copperhead right?’ He said, ‘I wouldn’t have known that if I hadn’t watched your videos.’ He goes, ‘But because I watched your videos, I was able to call the hospital ahead of time, and they’re getting all the antivenom ready.’ By the time we had gotten to the hospital, it had swollen up half of her calf, almost to her knee, but all the nurses and doctors were ready for us.

The Snaketuary not only responds to rescue calls, but also provides presentations to all ages on snakes and snake safety. Kennedy says these presentations are meant to encourage people to get past any fear of snakes.

Steven Kennedy: You know, it’s just telling people things about snakes that they didn’t know, and they understand that snakes are good for the environment, they’re here for a reason. When people get the proper information, and they’re educated about it, that really helps people get over their fear.

Steven shows people how to interact with snakes, whether you have them as a pet or they are in your yard, in his presentations. He encourages people to keep their yards cut low as a snake repellent, rather than using harmful chemicals. He helps people identify different local snakes and how to tell the difference between venomous and non-venomous snakes.

Steven Kennedy: Some of the most common calls that I get are the rat snakes, a lot of people call them chicken snakes because they’ll find them in their chicken coop. A lot of people get those confused with venomous snakes because, sometimes, of the way that they act. Some of the colors and patterns can mimic venomous snakes. I get a lot of calls for the non-venomous water snakes. We’ve got three different non-venomous water snakes here. We have the plain bellies, the bandits, and the diamondbacks.

He also tells people how snakes are good for people, too. According to the National Library of Medicine, venom in certain snakes can be used in medicine, to treat heart conditions, and can be used in chemotherapy. Steven says his demonstrations encourage people to really understand snakes.

Steven Kennedy: We used to take our kids to the presentations and that helped out a lot, when people would see my kids holding snakes. I think a lot of it is the fear that gets passed down from generation to generation. And I think once people see me pulling the snakes out, holding them, talking about them, realizing that they’re not out to get you, snakes are not aggressive. I think that’s one thing that gets people over their fear. People were taught that snakes are bad.

This is Alaina Atnip with Red River Radio News