People

We unravel the mystery of snakes to foster compassion and promote snake conservation

We conduct research on natural history and behavior of snakes following the Compassionate Conservation Guiding Principles. We disseminate our findings using creative media through this website, social media, peer-reviewed publications, presentations, and events.

Social Snakes is non-profit in nature but we do not yet have 501-c3 status. Find out how to support our work here.

Melissa Amarello (left) & Jeff Smith (right); photo by Young Cage (we miss you!)

SocialSnakes is Melissa Amarello and Jeff Smith, who share a common interest in snake natural history and conservation. We met 10 years ago while doing field research and joined forces to develop projects on reptiles in California and Arizona. The need for positive messaging about snakes became apparent as we saw firsthand how negative attitudes can stifle conservation efforts. We incorporated education and outreach into our research, formalized in 2010 with the founding of Social Snakes.

Angelo & Melissa

Melissa Amarello, Social Media and Outreach Coordinator
Melissa received her B.S. in Wildlife, Watershed, and Rangeland Resources at the University of Arizona and her M.S. in Biology at Arizona State University, where she studied rattlesnake social behavior.

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Jeff Smith, Research Director
Jeff earned his B.A. in Biology and Spanish from Rice University and an M.S. in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology from the University of Arizona.