ASHEBORO, N.C.-North Carolina Zoo keepers and education staff will present programs on snakes, snake myths and the important role snakes play in nature during a special event, "Save Our Snakes," at the park this weekend, May 16-17.

Programs will also feature keeper talks, snake identification and informational handouts. The programs, presented each day between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., will include: crafts and live snake presentations at "kidZone," 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.; keeper talks and a Wheel-of-Trivia game at Cypress Swamp, 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.; keeper talks featuring North Carolina snakes at Streamside, 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.; keeper talks and "Sssseeking snakes at the Zoo" at the Sonora Desert, 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.; and keeper talks on exotic snakes at the Africa Pavilion at 1:30 p.m.

Keepers and educators will be available at each location to talk with visitors and answer questions. The talks will address such things as the appearance of more snakes in lawns and gardens this time of year due to the warmer weather and ways to recognize both venomous and non-venomous species.

"There are so many misconceptions about snakes," said Laura Valadez, animal management supervisor at the zoo. "Programs like these can only help people understand how much we need to save our snakes rather than kill them."

All programs and activities are free with paid zoo admission.

"Save Our Snakes" is made possible, in part, by sponsorship from Pepsi.

The zoo is an agency of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Dee A. Freeman, Secretary; Beverly E. Perdue, Governor.