Rattlesnakes and other venomous creatures are often feared or disliked by residents in our region, but University of Arizona research scientist Matt Goode and some of his followers are hoping to change some minds about these recognizable reptiles.

Goode and other experts, including wildlife biologist Mickey Parker, are working on different projects dealing with rattlesnakes and other animals that are native to the Sonoran Desert.

The projects include studies about tiger rattlesnake populations in metropolitan areas and flat-tailed horn lizards in western Arizona.

Some of Goode's former students are also getting involved.

Biologist Melissa Amarello and ecologist Jeff Smith established Social Snakes in Tucson, a nonprofit snake conservation group that includes educating the public in different outreach events.

Amarello said the goal of Social Snakes is to give rattlesnakes a better reputation based on scientific facts instead of myths or misunderstandings.

Social Snakes