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WR High students well versed in frogs & snakes

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WR High students well versed in frogs & snakes

Jessica Neel, president of Weston Ranch High's Society for Native Amphibian and Reptile Education Club, will display a Western long-nosed snake next month at the Manteca Bass Pro Shops.

VINCE REMBULAT/The Bulletin


POSTED January 24, 2010 1:24 a.m.
WESTON RANCH – It’s the largest collection of native California reptiles and amphibians of its kind.

At Weston Ranch High, Mike Sutton has the necessary permits to gather and accommodate over 70 different species from throughout the state in his class room.

He’s a biology instructor and chapter advisor for the Society for Native Amphibian and Reptile Education or SNARE.

“There are 170 to 180 native reptiles and amphibians that can be found in California,” Sutton said on Friday. “We have one third (of the species).”

On Feb. 13, SNARE will be presenting a living display of the various species at the Bass Pro Shops in Manteca.

According to Sutton, this will mark the second year of his club promoting awareness and conservation for these amphibians and reptiles.

Members of the California Reptile and Invertebrate Society will also lend a hand to the conservation efforts.

Included will be local herpetologists Edgar Ortega, president (“Herping as a Hobby,” 10:30 to 11 a.m.); Chad Lane and Ricky Ortiz (“Photographing Herps,” 10 to 10:30 a.m.); and Herb Ashton (“Snake Superstition and Myths,” all day).

Modesto veterinarian Jeffrey Kahler (“Healthy Herps,” 11 to 11:30 a.m.) and king snake specialist Brian Hubbs (“King Snakes of the United States,” 11:30 a.m. to 12:50 p.m.) will also speak.

 Meanwhile, Sutton has a small but dedicated group of students from SNARE caring for these reptiles and amphibians.

President Jessica Neel, vice president Jessica Stroh, secretary Alessandra Stroh, and Kandraya Williams are among the active members.

Neel, for one, enjoyed showcasing the species at last year’s show at Bass Pro Shops.

“It went very well,” she said. “I was surprised at the strong turnout. I thought we were going to have mostly little kids.”

 Neel recalled one adult showing her fear of a reptile during the changing of the display.

“She screamed,” Neel said.

But Sutton and members of SNARE say many of the reptiles and amphibians at WRHS are user friendly.

“Some more than others because of their mild demeanor,” Sutton added.

He noted that this display – among the species are a desert rosy boa, desert iguana, rubber boa, western long-nosed snake, desert horned lizard, and a California tiger salamander, to name a few – has also been a big hit at the various camp grounds and venues, including Calaveras Big Trees and New Melones.

The California Native Reptiles and Amphibians Show can be found near boat section and water fall at the local Bass Pro Shops.
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