Many people shudder when thinking of encountering snakes and other reptiles, but not Scott Potts of Chino Valley.
Being an Animal Control Officer, of course, Scott cares about all animals, but his first love is reptiles.
"I have loved reptiles since I was a little boy, and I've never grown out of it," Scott said.
As a hobby Scott has some snakes and reptiles of his own that he and his sons take to schools, libraries, TV programs, and so on, to do educational presentations.
"We try to educate people regarding snakes so they know which are venomous and non-venomous. I have been catching, keeping, breeding, studying and teaching others about reptiles for the past 25 years," Scott explained.
Scott is so interested in snakes, that he and his family - wife, Pamela, and their seven children - take vacations to find them.
"I like to hunt out rare, illusive species of reptiles, and really enjoy the challenge of locating them. This summer while swimming in a natural spring with my family near the Nevada/Utah border, my sons Ben and Zak found a pure black garter snake. It is a one of a kind snake because it is a genetic mutation (garter snakes are usually green)," Scott said.
"We have gone as far as Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Texas, Nevada and more. When we find these creatures we take photos of them, and every now and then a special one comes home with us to be part of our educational program," he added.
Scott stresses that when people search for reptiles in their natural habitat it is very important to know and observe state and federal laws such as licensing requirements, protected species and possession limits.
"Most people probably don't know that a hunting license is required to pursue or collect any reptile in Arizona," Scott said.
Scott practices very strict safety rules when handling venomous snakes and in all the years he has worked with them, he never has been bitten.
"Rattlesnake safety begins with common sense: 'keep your hands off.' We never handle venomous snakes except with a snake hook to remove them from harm's way," he said.
Scott does do local snake removal for a small fee and can be reached at 928-899-5215.
A valuable website for reptile identification is www.reptilesofaz.com.