Elon students share knowledge about ‘spooky’ wildlife at the City of Mebane’s annual Halloween Spooktacular

Elon students helped people learn a bit more about native amphibians and reptiles at Mebane’s Spooktacular.

Frogs, toads and snakes are not most people’s favorite creatures. In fact, almost 50% of people are anxious or even afraid of snakes. But, snakes and other reptiles and amphibians have an important role to play in North Carolina ecosystems.

Associate Professor of Environmental Studies Amanda Chunco, as a member of the North Carolina Herpetological Society, has a mission to educate people about the importance of reptiles and amphibians in the natural environment, dispel common myths about snakes, teach people to identify the only venomous snake in Alamance County is the copperhead, and help people move a bit closer to appreciating rather than fearing these wild animals.

Amanda Chunco led four Elon students, Benjamin Munoz ‘26, Jessica Colon-Diaz ‘26, Eva Real Roman ‘26 and Diana Jimenez-Carreno ‘26, in volunteering with the NC Herp Society at Halloween Spooktacular, a free event hosted by the city of Mebane.

The students held snakes for kids and adults to touch, ran a game called “Find the copperhead” and answered questions from families attending the event. It was estimated that over 1,000 people attended the event. Many children and some adults stopped by the booth several times throughout the day, and for many people, it was their first time touching or holding a snake.

“Today, you helped people become a little less afraid of these important animals,” said Ron Grunwald, Duke professor and member of the NC Herpetological Society.