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Not A Snake, Just A Charmer: Your Neighborhood Reptile Wrangler

Herpetologist Nick Massimo holding a snake, with his son on the left
Nick Massimo
Nick Massimo puts his herpetological skills to use by offering snake identification and removal for his neighbors in Durham.

Free time from quarantine has given way to more wandering in backyards, and sometimes people encounter a critter that scares them. That is where Nick Massimo comes in. 

He is a doctoral candidate in herpetology at Arizona State University and lives in Durham. Last year he posted in his neighborhood’s Nextdoor forum offering his services in snake identification and removal. He got such a large response that he went on to attain his Wildlife Damage Control Agent certification. Massimo says to live harmoniously with snakes, people have to learn to identify venomous snakes from non-venomous snakes. And that is not as simple as looking for a triangular head. Host Anita Rao debunks snake myths with Massimo and discusses how North Carolinians can coexist with copperheads.

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Josie Taris left her home in Fayetteville in 2014 to study journalism at Northwestern University. There, she took a class called Journalism of Empathy and found her passion in audio storytelling. She hopes every story she produces challenges the audience's preconceptions of the world. After spending the summer of 2018 working in communications for a Chicago nonprofit, she decided to come home to work for the station she grew up listening to. When she's not working, Josie is likely rooting for the Chicago Cubs or petting every dog she passes on the street.
Anita Rao is an award-winning journalist and the host and creator of "Embodied," a weekly radio show and podcast about sex, relationships & health. She's also the managing editor of WUNC's on-demand content.