Little Girls and Snakes

Feb 22, 2015
The Reptile Report
by Editor in Chief

The Reptile Report - From Herp Think Tank’s education page: “We know this is a post you are just going love! Who can resist a little girl with a passion for pythons and some really big dreams for the world?

Some princesses prefer pythons. Alli, age 10, has been focused on reptiles and amphibians since she was little. She enjoys field herping and researching the animals in her suburban TN backyard, which include multiple frog and toad species, as well as the occasional rough earth snake. In 2013, she became involved with Save the Frogs! and hosted her first Save the Frogs day event for area homeschoolers. In 2014, she had the opportunity to attend the Joint Meeting of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists/SSAR and participate in the Society for the Study of Reptiles and Amphibians student mentoring program, meeting many eminent herpetologists who’s names she’d only seen on books.

At age 8, Alli had the experience, common to many herpers, of being told stories about killing snakes when she explained that she had a pet corn snake at summer camp. When she got upset, the counselor, rather than supporting her in her love of her pet, told her to stop talking about snakes because it “bothered people”. She decided, at that point, that snakes needed to change their image and that the big problem was that kids, especially girls, grew up seeing some animals in cute, cartoon forms, and therefore were well disposed to those animals, but snakes rarely appeared, and if they did, usually were the bad guys. She felt that there was a need for something to support snakes in the same way, and developed the idea for “My Little Python”-cute snakes that wouldn’t act like snakes and would be relatable for kids, especially girls, and that would be able to teach facts about snakes at the same time.

In fall of 2014, soon after coming home from the Joint Meeting of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists and Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles in Chattanooga 2014, she saw some toy snakes in a catalog and announced, “Those are my little pythons”. She began a blog,http://mylittlepython.blogspot.com of cartoons, and began distributing her little pythons during reptile nights at the local pet store.

With the support of CHET (Coalition of Herp Enthusiasts of Tennessee), she also began selling these at reptile shows to benefit the organization, and donated several. Alli also donated some of “her little pythons” along with homemade jewelry, to benefit the Tennessee Herpetological Society Chad Lewis Memorial Grant. My Little Python now has a presence on Facebook (www.facebook.com/mylittlepython) and Twitter (@mylittlepython), and is continuing to attempt to spread the message that “Snakes are people too”, one toy snake, one cartoon, and one kid at a time. Alli also blogs on herpetology related topics (plus the occasional school assignment) at http://Allissnakes.blogspot.com.

Alli plans to continue attending conferences, reading, learning, and researching and saving reptiles and amphibians. Her current research is focused on finding alternatives to traditional frog metamorphosis projects, especially for homeschool families. She lives with her parents, her corn snake Wadjet, her Ball Python, Pinkie Py(thon), her frogs, Rana and Batrous, and four cats.

Alli at a reptile night with a friendly ball python on the top.
Alli field herping in Arkansas – she’s holding a lesser siren in the photo on the bottom.”

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