Matt Ellerbeck–snake expert, advocate and conservationist

Matt Ellerbeck–a snake expert, advocate and conservationist based in Kingston, Canada–discusses how a childhood fascination became, in his case, an adult passion and occupation, having now given countless presentations on snakes and snake issues and written a number of articles along the same lines;

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addresses some of the pitfalls and ripple effects of the exotic pet (especially, snake) trade by way of examining the problem of numerous Burmese pythons living in the Florida Everglades, suggesting alternatives to both the official killings of those pythons now underway and some possible methods to prevent or minimize such crises from arising in the future; speculates on why there’s such a widespread, often irrational fear of snakes, and how that fear shapes responses to various snake-oriented predicaments, even something as basic as a snake entering someone’s backyard, in contrast to responses to “charismatic mammals”; explains why he feels that snakes should not be bought or sold, but if they are to find homes with humans, the emphasis should be placed on advocating adoption as we do with dogs, cats and other such companion animals, and more. []

COMEDY CORNER: Brian Regan’s “Whale Noises” (

MUSIC: Mary Flower’s “Black Dog Rag,” Iron & Wine’s “Serpent Charmer,” instrumentals

NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE: The Doors’ version of “Crawling King Snake”

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About the author
Duncan Strauss is the producer-host of “Talking Animals,” which he launched at KUCI in California in 2003, combining his passions for animals, radio, journalism, music and comedy. The show has aired since late 2005 on Tampa’s WMNF. Strauss lives in Jupiter Farms, FL with his family, including four cats, two horses and one dog. He spends each day talking to those animals, and maintains they talk right back to him, an as yet unverified claim.

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