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Desert Snakes: Fang, Rattle and More
Desert Institute Natural Science Course


Feared and respected by many for their potential to inflict harm, snakes have long captured the fascination of humanity. William Hayes, Ph.D. and Professor of Biology at Loma Linda University, will introduce participants to a remarkable variety of venomous and non-venomous snakes that inhabit Southern California’s deserts in this all-day field class. Starting in the classroom, Dr. Hayes will discuss the many adaptations that are essential for snakes to survive in the desert ecosystem including unique morphological, physiological, behavioral, and ecological traits. Snake venom will also be discussed in detail providing answers to the following questions. What, exactly, is venom? How is it made and how is it delivered? Can venoms be beneficial? The class will explore the surrounding desert to identify reptile habitat and hopefully see some snakes!

Sponsored by the Desert Institute at Joshua Tree National Park, this field class meets at the Black Rock Visitor Center, 9800 Black Rock Canyon, Yucca Valley, CA, on Sunday, September 30, 9 am – 4 pm. This class is offered for 0.5 unit of credit through the University of California Riverside Extension for $85 ($75 for JTNPA/PINE members) or non-credit for $60 ($50 for JTNPA/PINE members). For brochure, information and registration call (760) 367-5535 or visit

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