Dick Schwenkmeyer was a teenager in the 1940s when he and a buddy caught a 5-foot-long, red diamond rattlesnake in a Del Cerro canyon and carried the reptile in their hands as they walked home past what was then called San Diego State College.
“We walked right through the middle of campus just to create a sensation,” Schwenkmeyer said. The large rattler was later put on exhibit at the San Diego Zoo.
Schwenkmeyer’s boyhood explorations through San Diego’s canyons sparked a lifelong fascination with snakes and other reptiles and San Diego County’s habitat. It also led to a career as a biology teacher and a 66-year association with the San Diego Natural History Museum that continues today.
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