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

Nick Massimo puts his herpetological skills to use by offering snake identification and removal for his neighbors in Durham.
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. 

Host Anita Rao talks with Nick Massimo about snake misconceptions and his role as a neighborhood snake expert.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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Anita Rao is the host and creator of "Embodied," a live, weekly radio show and seasonal podcast about sex, relationships & health. She's also the managing editor of WUNC's on-demand content. She has traveled the country recording interviews for the Peabody Award-winning StoryCorps production department, founded and launched a podcast about millennial feminism in the South, and served as the managing editor and regular host of "The State of Things," North Carolina Public Radio's flagship daily, live talk show. Anita was born in a small coal-mining town in Northeast England but spent most of her life growing up in Iowa and has a fond affection for the Midwest.
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.