Sean and Rod McCarthy have over 50years combined teaching experience in both Primary and Secondary schools including Catholic, Independent and State schools.
We have full Public Liability Insurance of $20m & as we use live animals in all of our presentations, we have prepared Risk Assessment documentation which is available on request when you book with us.
Rod has experience at all levels of Primary education and has worked extensively with various universities in the supervision of student teachers.
Sean is an experienced Secondary science and maths teacher, and has also worked with CSIRO's Lab on Legs program for several years.
Bringing this combination to Snakehandler, we have been able to develop programs to suit your individual needs; we can tailor make a program to your requirements.
Our programs are live, interactive and fun; we welcome student and teacher questions and feedback.
Kindergartens, Pre-schools and Creches
Snakehandler brings an unusual and fun experience to your Pre-school, Kinder or Creche. A great opportunity for smaller children to interact with some of our native Australian animals, in a safe and hands on environment.
The children get to look, touch and feel the animals as well as see how they move.....we take into account their young age, using age appropriate language and giving them the opportunity to move around, imitating the animals they are learning about.
Snakehandler shows in primary schools are able to showcase our native reptiles in a non threatening manner, we request information from the school so that each program we run in tailored to the needs of the school, we can focus on any relevant areas of study such as endangered species, habitats, feeding and food webs, identification, even simple immersion programs where students get to look at, touch, feel and observe the animals in a very controlled manner.
Our staff who have developed our school programs are V.I.T registered teachers and while we require a staff member to be present, even with a large group of students you have the assurance of a qualified, experienced and trained teacher working with your children, we are not just wildlife enthusiasts and scientists, we are teachers..
As each school is different we develop programs depending on your requirements. Let us know what you need and we will structure it for you;
Alternatively we can offer programs in the following areas:
- Body Shape and structure
- Nocturnal and diurnal animals
- Habitats; where do you find them and why?
- Survival and growthimg-4338.jpg
- Diet; how do we know what they eat?
- How do we know when they eat?
- Features to help in survival
- Defence and Camouflage
- Classification; how do we do it and why?
- Temperature regulation
- Sensory systems
Our philosophy and rational:
The use of animals in a classroom needs to take into consideration the wellbeing of the animals, the interaction between the students and the animals and the purpose of the animals being used. With this in mind we focus on reptiles, insects and arachnids, these animals are very resilient, they prefer small spaces, so they are easy to transport and are unusual! We believe in reducing the stress to the animals, this is achieved by rotating the use of animals so that every animal gets time to rest, feed and enjoy space in their own enclosure. We prefer not to use mammals and birds, typically these animals require larger spaces and are easily stressed by the typical noise level of a classroom. We design our classes with safety in mind, safety for the students, staff and of course the animals, making interactions safe and controlled.
A Snakehandler Incursion will provide a variety of experiences for your students that will engage them in science and demonstrate to the students that science is all around them every day. We bring along a variety of native animals to your school, these animals are selected to compliment the Victorian Curriculum Foundation -10. Ensuring the welfare of the animals and children interacting with them, by following the guidelines for care and use of animals in schools. The majority of our animals are reptiles, we can also bring along a variety of insects, spiders and frogs. Our programs are designed to compliment your curriculum, we can be the immersion program, getting the students interested in a new topic or we can consolidate the program and even stimulate students to establish a focus study or inquiry.
The all important question... What will this cost me?
Snakehandler has a standard $250* per hour rate for a class size of up to 30 children for our one hour stand up presentation ($8.33 per child).
This price includes GST and all costs.
We do not generally bring Venomous Snakes to Primary Schools as we do not believe it to be safe practice, unless a specific request is made and we would then liaise with the school principal to ensure that all safety measures are taken for the piece of mind of all involved. Venomous snakes at such events are restrained in glass enclosures that are securely locked, this enables students to see these animals with zero risk.
We have a separate program available for whole school assemblies, involving Venomous Snakes, what to do if they are sighted and basic snake bite first aid. See the Reptile Awareness page for further details.
We are also available for school fairs, fetés and open days! See the Shows and Expos page for more details.
*We require a minimum of a $300 booking for schools up to 60 minutes from our base in Moorabbin, for travel times greater than this, a minimum booking of $600 is required.
For bookings and enquiries please contact us
Why Your School Should Organise A Reptile Presentation
It's no secret that Australia is home to a whole host of reptiles. In fact, scientists believe there are almost 900 species of reptiles within Australia, with 93% of these native to our continent. While they are so common in our great land, Australian school children are often woefully undereducated about reptiles. At Snakehandler, we believe all Aussie kids, from the smallest of preppies to senior high school students, should have an understanding and respect for this country's reptilian wildlife. That's why we've combined our experience within the Australian education industry and our love for reptiles to create an interactive, educational reptile school incursion for local schools.
Why All Aussie Children Should Sit In A Reptile School Incursion
Reptiles are truly magnificent creatures, but they have such a negative reputation that many people mistrust, fear, or straight out dislike them. Starting reptile education young has a host of benefits for the students involved.
- Develop respect for Australian wildlife. When students have the opportunity to interact with native reptiles early on, they'll develop an appreciation and respect for the creatures.
- Reduce fears of snakes and reptiles. Various polls have shown that up to 30% of Australians have a fear of snakes and reptiles. These phobias usually start in childhood, which is why a reptile school presentation is so valuable to a child's cognitive development.
- Gateway to reptile safety. Understanding reptiles is the first step to identifying dangerous species and practising reptile safety. Students who participate in a snake school incursion are much more likely to engage in lessons on reptile safety later on without feeling fearful, threatened, or upset.
The Educational Benefits To Students At All Ages
Snakehandler's reptile school visits have educational benefits to students from 3-18 years of age. By exposing students to snakes and reptiles in a very controlled, safe environment, they have an opportunity to learn valuable lessons about the animals that align with the Australian Curriculum.
- Kindergarten, Preschool, and Creche: These reptile school visits for kids aged 3-5 allow students to;
- Have controlled first interactions with reptiles
- Learn how reptiles look and feel
- Understand how reptiles move
- Begin learning the differences between snakes and lizards
- Primary School: At Snakehandler, our staff have experience teaching in primary schools across the country, so we're able to tailor our reptile school incursion to the educational needs of 6-
- 11 year olds. We can teach students about;
- Endangered species and conservation
- Habitats of snakes and reptiles
- Feeding and food webs
- Reptile and snake identification
- Safe interactions with reptiles
- Handling their fears and phobias
- Secondary School: By ages 12-18, students are ready to begin learning more about reptile safety and specific information about snakes and reptiles. Our team have direct experience teaching secondary students, so we're confident in conducting lessons on;
- Reptile anatomy and appearance
- Nocturnal and diurnal animals
- Animal survival and growth
- Dietary requirements of reptiles
- Basic snake safety and survival skills
- Classification and identification
- Temperature regulation
- Sensory systems
- How to handle phobias and fears in a controlled environment
Quick Facts About Snakes And Reptiles
Here are a few fun facts about snakes and reptiles that quite often help people mitigate their reptile phobias.
- Between 2007 and 2016, less than 40 people died due to snake bites or crocodile attacks. On the other hand, 523 people died falling from their beds, but we're not scared of our beds, are we?
- There is a species of turtle, the Fitzroy River Turtle, that has a particularly notable talent. This freshwater turtle can breathe through its bum!
Have you ever wondered why Saltwater Crocodiles sit with their mouths open? Crocs can't sweat, so they're relying on thermoregulation (the cold air circulating in its mouth) to stay cool.
- While there are over 200 species of snakes living in Australia, 100 of them are venomous, and there are only 12 that could inflict a wound that could kill you.
The frills on a Frilled Neck Lizard are supported by long spines that connect to its jawbones, and it will only open its frills when scared, attracting a mate, in a territorial dispute, warding off predators.
How A Snakehandler Reptile School Incursion Works
The process of a Snakehandler reptile school visit is relatively straightforward. Oh, and don't worry; you won't have to handle the reptiles unless you really want to. We avoid using venomous snakes for demonstrations unless explicitly requested, so we can guarantee the reptiles shown to students are safe.
- Book a visit. The first step is contacting Snakehandler to organise a reptile school presentation. We have a standard $250p/h rate for a class of up to 30 children.
- Let us know what you'd like us to teach. If there is a particular area of reptile education or safety you'd like us to focus on, let us know. We have plenty of lessons prepared to meet various aspects of the Australian curriculum, so we're happy to tailor our demonstrations to your class.
- Prepare the kids. Let your students and their parents know there will be a reptile school incursion. If there are any parents uncomfortable with the idea of their little ones touching a snake or lizard, direct them to our website or have them contact us directly.
- We'll do our thing. Our team will come in and conduct a reptile school presentation covering all the areas discussed. We'll have activities prepared and opportunities for the students to interact with the animals.
- We'll leave you to it. Once the demonstration is over, it doesn't take long to get the animals ready to go, so we'll cause minimal disruption to the rest of your class.
We feel it's important to mention that Snakehandler has the best interests of the snakes and reptiles in mind at all times. We go to great lengths to ensure the reptiles are safe, content, and well looked after. We rotate the animals out to reduce stress, and we give them plenty of time inside their enclosures.
If You're Interested In Organising A Reptile School Incursion, Contact Snakehandler
The Snakehandler team have over 50 years of combined experience teaching within primary and secondary schools across catholic, independent, and public schools. We aim to engage students' interest in reptiles by allowing them to interact with them in a controlled, safe environment. As we use live animals in our presentations, we have full Public Liability Insurance of $20 million, plus Risk Assessment documents available for download. You can rest assured that a reptile school visit with Snakehandler will be an education, engaging, exciting experience for students of all ages. Students will walk away with a new-found respect for Australian wildlife and an understanding of reptile safety. If you'd like to organise a reptile and snake school incursion, contact the Snakehandler team today.