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Name: judy
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Question:
My mom, who was born and raised in Georgia in the woods, has raised us with a "disabling" fear of snakes. I've settled into the fact that rattlers will warn you, and I'm sort of o.k. with that. Last week my husband and I ventured to southeastern Missouri to the Current River. The thought of this caused me such anxiety for a week before hand that I was physically ill. This would be my >first canoe trip of many in 20 years that would involve not only rattlers but, cottonmouths and copperheads. My anxiety grew. We drove to Missouri, launched our canoe, got maybe 1/4 mile out and I froze solid, babbling incoherently.

I've always tried to approach fears and problems in an intelligent manner, but I need help finding info to do so, (i.e. snake bite statistics, deaths, time limits for medical attention, different habits/characteristics at different times of year etc.). My question to you is, suggested readings, programs or whatever that could educate me more so that i can try to deal with this in the future.



Replies:
The best "cure," in my opinion, is to find a nature center or similar facility that has captive snakes, get to know the staff, talk to them about the snakes while looking at them in protected situation, learn how neat they really are, and then maybe if the facility permits, touch and then hold one. Almost everyone who can learn about snakes and then get past the initial fear to actually hold a snake changes their mind about them pretty quickly. (Well, it worked for me.)

J. Elliott



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