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Spotlight on … Snakes, Snakes Need Love, Too!

July 18, 2010

Snakes have existed on Earth for over 100 million years, and yet today, the very existence of many snake species is threatened by their most vicious predator – human beings. Hundreds of snake species are in desperate need of conservation. Other species are subjected to many forms of human induced cruelty and exploitation.

Matt Ellerbeck (aka Snake Man) is an animal rights activist and conservationist who focuses his advocacy on snakes. Matt’s mission is to help contribute to the recovery of imperiled snake populations by providing educational presentations, raising awareness of the issues snakes face, standing up for their rights, running conservation projects, and promoting snake advocacy, preservation, and stewardship.

Matt strongly promotes the abolition of snakes in the pet trade, the skin trade, as use for food, for fashion, and all other practices which inflict pain and suffering upon them or exploit them.

It is Matt’s hope that his work will help alleviate people’s fears and hatred of snakes, and that this in turn, will help decrease the number of snakes directly persecuted by people.

YouTube sssssssnakeman’s Channel

Snake Conservation 101

If you have a Facebook account, join Matt’s Facebook Snake Conservation 101 Group


Matt Ellerbeck has always loved snakes. Since early childhood he has spent every summer in marshes, ponds, swamps, and forests hoping to share some of his time with these interesting creatures. His love for these reptiles continues to grow and today he is a committed snake conservationist. He now devotes his time to snakes as an educator, advocate, activist, author, observer, rehabilitator, and local public figure.

Due to his growing concern over the declining snake population, Matt decided to start a snake conservation project in late 2004.

He has since given numerous presentations on snakes in and around the Kingston area to help educate people about these reptiles and the need for their conservation. Highlights include presentations for the Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority, St. Lawrence Islands National Park, The GreenUP Environmental Festivals, King’s Town Private School, science students at Ernestown Secondary School and Queen’s University for Environmental Education students.

Matt has often appeared in media across Ontario to help get his message about the importance of snake conservation out to the public. He has been featured on TV, radio, and in several newspapers, and magazines. Appearances and spots that Matt’s work has been featured in include the television program The Lounge, CKWS Newswatch, CFRC Radio, Fly FM Radio, Lite 104.3 FM Radio, My Fm Radio, FM 96 Radio, the Kingston This Week newspaper, the Kingston Whig Standard newspaper, Frontenac This Week newspaper, The Napanee Guide newspaper , the Frontenac News newspaper and many more. Aside from appearances in Ontario, he has also been featured in newspapers or radio shows in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.

Matt has also been featured in American media, appearing on radio or in newspapers in Kentucky, Florida, Arizona, Minnesota, Texas, Georgia, Colorado, Maine, Iowa, and California. He was also a guest on the radio program ‘Talking Animals,’ which airs in Tampa, Florida. The guests featured on the show are prominent figures in the animal world, or notable folks in other fields who have ties to animal welfare. Past guests include Jane Goodall, Chrissie Hynde, Paul Watson, Janeane Garofalo, Moby, Margaret Cho and many others.

He made his European media debut in the summer 2010 when he appeared on Wild Time Radio, which is an animal rights/world conservation magazine show which airs across Dublin City.

Matt has also written several articles on snakes. His articles have appeared in conservation and animal rights publications, newspapers, magazines, and various other mediums. These include articles for the Amphibian Voice (the official newsletter of the Adopt-A-Pond program of the Toronto Zoo), the official publication of the Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority, Responsible Exotic Animal Ownership (REXANO), The Kingston Field Naturalist’s Blue Bill publication, Voices For Animals Humane Society and more.

In 2005 the Little Cat Creek Conservation Area presented Matt with a special honorarium to recognize his dedication to snake conservation.

In 2006 Matt’s popularity within the city of Kingston was more evident then ever when tickets for a presentation scheduled at the Isabel Turner Library’s largest showroom were completely gone within 9 minutes of becoming available!

In 2007 he was aptly described as ” so full of enthusiasm, he looks like he will burst at any moment” by the South Frontenac Natural Environmental Committee, in reference to his passionate presentations.

In 2008 Matt produced an educational fact sheet on snakes entitled, The Truth About Snake Bites. The objective of the resource was to help alleviate people’s fears and hatred of snakes, which should help decrease the number of snakes directly killed by people. Throughout 2008 over 1,100 copies of The Truth About Snake Bites were distributed throughout the Kingston area. The resource also ran as an article in several newspapers and publications throughout the Thousand Islands region.

The same year he made two donations to the Black Rat Snake Project at Murphy’s Point Provincial Park, which is an ongoing fundraising effort to monitor the park’s unique Black Rat Snake population and to educate the public about this important threatened species. 2008 also saw information about Matt and his work be featured in the book Aware: Webster’s Quotations, Facts and Phrases (Inc Icon Group International).

In 2009 Matt was one of the featured speakers for the Queen’s University School of Environmental Studies Seminar Series. Matt’s presentation featured information largely about the exploitation and cruelty snakes receive from the pet trade and during rattlesnake roundups. This would mark his second talk at Queen’s University.

In 2010 Matt was nominated for a Green Globe Award in recognition of his efforts to protect and conserve snakes. The awards are presented by the Commerce and Engineering Environmental Conference. The same year he was named a visionary by Within Kingston Magazine. As part of the designation, the magazine’s May 2010 issue featured an article about Matt’s work as a snake advocate.

Never being one to shy away from helping snakes in any situation, Matt has rescued and taken in dozens of snakes from homes that no longer wanted them. Matt is now committed to giving the snakes a loving home and proper care.

Aside from his efforts to help snakes, Matt has also branched out from time to time and ran conservation projects about turtles, scorpions, and general animal advocacy. He is also an active member of the animal rights group Kingston Animal Trust (KAT), of which he also sits on the executive board.

His main focus over the last six years however has been snakes and this continues to be Matt’s passion.

Matt is committed to continuing his efforts to help all snakes.

*** Bio written by Matthew Laveault. Consultant Matt Ellerbeck.***

2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 18, 2010 11:37 pm

    Admire Matt’s work.
    Interesting that in areas where snakes have been eradicated, that rodent population soars.India for example, villagers can lose a third of their paddy crop during storage to rodents.


  2. COMTESSE permalink
    July 19, 2010 7:14 am

    Très intéressant ce reportage sur les serpents, effectivement les gens sont en général répulsés devant la vue d’un tel animal et auraient tendance àles éliminer de peur d’être mordus ou piqués étant donné qu’ils ne savent pàas à quel type de serpent ils ont à faire !


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