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Snakes Are to Be Feared? Not Sssso Fasssst. Inks Lake State Park Program Dispels Myths

A few diamondback water snakes have ended up dead in Inks Lake State Park. In response, the park is holding a program to dispel some of the myths about snakes. Photo by Susan E. Waters

HOOVER’S VALLEY — After a few diamondback water snakes ended up dead, Inks Lakes State Park officials thought it was a good time to educate visitors on the importance of snakes and attack a few myths associated with the park’s reptilian residents.

“Some of our diamondback water snakes were killed,” park interpreter Lindsay Pannell said. “They are nonvenomous, but they can get pretty large and look scary.”

Snakes — venomous and nonvenomous — play an important role in the local ecology, particularly in keeping the rodent population in check. Despite their value, people still fear and hold misconceptions about snakes.

To remedy that, the park is holding “Mythbusters: Snake Edition” at 7 p.m. Saturday, June 16, at the amphitheater, located just west of park headquarters.

“I have a park volunteer who has been studying snakes for years and just has a passion for them,” Pannell said. “She’ll be talking about the five snake myths and try to just help people understand snakes. … They aren’t something you really need to be afraid of.”

The volunteer is also a certified wildlife rehabilitator who specializes in snakes. If she has a nonvenomous snake in her care, Pannell said, the volunteer might bring it to the program.

“Mythbusters: Snake Edition” is for all ages.

“It’s reassuring kids how to be careful around snakes and that snakes are a part of the area, so they are out there,” Pannell said. “For parents, it’s to let them know that snakes don’t want to be around us either, and they’d rather go their own way.

“We want to change people’s perspective about snakes,” she continued. “There’s a saying in Texas, something like, ‘the only good snake is a dead snake,’ but if you kill all the snakes, you better like mice and rats because snakes are one of the best predators in controlling those rodents.”

ALSO AT THE PARK

Inks Lake State Park is hosting several other activities in June.

On Friday, June 15, those 18 and older can “Paddle Across the Sky” during a nighttime kayaking program starting at 9 p.m. Reservations are required. Call the park at (512) 793-2223. The park has a few kayaks for rent, but private ones are allowed. However, they must be equipped with proper lighting.

On Saturday, June 16, explore your creative side with “Art in the Park” from 8-9:30 a.m.

“We just basically lay out a big piece of butcher paper and let people paint their memories of the park,” Pannell said.

At 10 a.m. the same day, “Fishing with the Ranger” takes place behind the park store. A Master Naturalist and a park ranger will demonstrate basic fishing techniques. The park has loaner poles and tackle. You don’t need a fishing license while fishing from the shore in a state park.

You can wrap up the day with the “Starry Night Hike” at 9 p.m. View the stars during a short walk.

Inks Lake State Park is located at 3630 Park Road 4.

Most activities are free with park admission, which is $6 for ages 13 and older and free for ages 12 and younger.

daniel@thepicayune.com

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