Gender-Appropriate Responses to Snakes in Kenya: Culture, Concepts and Context

By David Wojnowski.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Human/animal relations are an important component to environmental education. In many parts of the world some animals present an ever present danger to people. Snakes, in particular, are one such group of animals perceived as potential enemies of humans. However, many snakes are completely harmless and provide a valuable service as controllers of rodent pests in many agriculturally-based communities. In this follow-up study of the perspectives toward snakes of the Wakasigau of southeast Kenya, 150 women between the ages of 22 and 78, representing five rural villages, were interviewed individually and during focus groups as they shared narratives of snakes. The intent of this study was to delve more deeply into Kasigau women’s conceptions of snakes based on their personal interactions with snakes. Contrary to previous research, not all female Wakasigau women are unable to confront a snake and nearly half the women interviewed (n=70) had killed a snake, and 20% (n=30) killed snakes frequently. The possibility of a snake being spared was a rare event based on a woman’s ability to confront a snake and the amount of knowledge the woman had of snake identification. In using a largely untapped source of Wakasigau oral histories this project will contribute to snake conservation education endeavors as well as human/animal interaction research.

Keywords: Kenya, Snakes, Herpetology, Human/Animal Interactions

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp.1-12. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 623.672KB).

Dr. David Wojnowski

Assistant Professor, Department of Teacher Education and Administration, College of Education, University of North Texas, Denton, Texas, USA

Dr. Wojnowski’s research interests include, science education, environmental education, teacher professional development, and biodiversity conservation. He is particularly interested in how teachers’ perception of reptiles and amphibians influences pedagogical decisions when teaching about herpetofauna biodiversity conservation issues. He is also intrigued by the interpretation of scientific information by informal and formal educators and the development and dissemination of curricula and its effect on children’s conceptions. His interest in amphibian and reptile conservation education issues has afforded him the opportunity to work with teachers in Kenya, Brazil, Mexico, Costa Rica, Belize and several locales across the United States.


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