AECC Reliability Supervisor Lori Jones, joined by a speckled king snake, educates cooperative employees. Photo by Chance Allmon.
Category: Editor's Welcome

Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation (AECC) Reliability Supervisor Lori Jones remembers her first snake encounter years ago. Having relocated to Arkansas from New York, she was asked by friends to go “herping” — searching for reptiles/amphibians in their natural environment. She thought it was a joke, but friends talked her into it.

She recalls shaking as she picked up a harmless speckled king snake — one much like the live model coiling around her hands today: “It’s going to bite me! It’s going to kill me!”

It didn’t. In fact, the experience gave her life.

AECC Reliability Supervisor Lori Jones, formerly an education coordinator for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, teaches cooperative employees about snake safety. Photo by Chance Allmon.

Jones says, “I just really fell in love with things that live around us — all things, not just snakes. It’s frogs and birds. … So, if I went over to your house and you had big rocks or logs in your backyard, I may wander off and look for snakes.

“I just think it’s cool. It’s very weird — I know. I think it’s neat.”

So neat, in fact, that prior to working for AECC, Jones studied to be a herpetologist and formerly served as education coordinator for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC).

Speaking recently to a meeting of cooperative employees about snake safety, Jones poses a question: “So, can anyone complete my sentence: The only good snake is …?”

“A dead snake!” exclaims Lana McLeod, Arkansas Living advertising coordinator, with a laugh.

Jones smiles as she provides the correct answer: “A nonvenomous snake.” Besides, she points out, it’s illegal to kill snakes in Arkansas unless they pose an immediate threat to people, pets or property.

According to the AGFC, there are 36 species of snakes in the state. Only six (copperheads, cottonmouths, western diamondback rattlesnakes, timber rattlesnakes, western pigmy rattlesnakes and Texas coral snakes) are venomous.

“If we could just learn the venomous ones, how to identify them, then we’re safe,” Jones says.

The AGFC offers a full Arkansas Snake Guide .

When you’re outside this summer hiking, camping or just gardening, Jones advises, “Wear closed-toe shoes, and keep your eyes open. I spend every day looking for snakes; snakes are actually hard to find. But if you encounter one, just back up, and don’t go near it.’”

And in the event of a bite from a venomous snake, seek immediate medical attention — for goodness’ snake!

Have a sssafe sssummer,







Jennifer Christman Cia