Three Great Reasons to Give Thankssss to Snakes

Three Great Reasons to Give Thanksss to Snakes

When was the last time you said thanks to a snake? Not sure why we should be thankful for snakes?  Here are 3 great reasons:

  1. Snakes save people’s lives.  Really, it’s true.  Venom from copperheads, cobras, rattlesnakes and other species of venomous snakes is being used to create medicines that treat diseases including cancer and heart disease.  Black mamba venom, which affects the central nervous system, is being used in research to understand how Alzheimer’s’ and other neurological diseases might be treated in the future. Copperhead venom is currently being researched to find out if a component in the venom will stop breast cancer.
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    Venomous Copperhead Snake

  2.  Snakes help to prevent disease from spreading to people and pets.  Research has shown that areas with healthy populations of rodent-eating snakes have less occurrences of Lyme disease in humans.  Snakes help stop the spread of Lyme and other diseases (including the plague) because they consume the rats and mice that host ticks and fleas – the carriers of the disease.
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    Harmless Eastern Rat Snake

  3. Snakes are a friend to the farmer.  When you sit down to enjoy all the delicious turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, brussel sprouts, and pumpkin pie this Thanksgiving, give thanks to snake.  Snakes help farmers by eating pests that can destroy crops.  Many snakes eat rodents which eat and/or contaminate grain crops that are used to feed humans and livestock (including turkeys!)  Some snakes eat slugs and insects that not only eat crops, but can also spread diseases to plants.
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    Harmless Eastern Garter Snake

Now that you know why we need to be grateful for snakes, when you sit down to dinner on Turkey Day, you can say: “Happy Thanksssssgiving!”

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Discover why “Creepy Creatures” are Nothing to Fear

Discover why “Creepy Creatures” are Nothing to Fear

Reptiles Alive LLC has been performing wildly exciting and educational live animal programs all over the DC area for more than 20 years. This Halloween season we will be performing our “Creepy Reptiles Alive” Show at many public and private events and I would like to introduce you to some of the “creepy” animal stars that you might meet.

Mystique” the Blue Tongue Skink Lizard from Australia

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Mystique the Blue Tongue Skink

Blue tongue skinks utilize a unique survival strategy. When faced with a predator who may try to eat them (such as a dingo dog), blue tongue skinks will open their mouth wide, hiss loudly, and stick out their blue tongue!  Many animals are frightened by this bizarre display and will run away from the skink.  Of course, like most reptiles, blue tongue skinks are harmless to larger animals. They are not poisonous or venomous and their bite is only a pinch.  Remember, many animals people consider “scary” are really not dangerous at all. The blue tongue skink is just a great pretender. Learn MORE about blue tongue skinks

Snickers, Reese’s, Twizzler and Friends” the Madagascar Hissing Roaches:

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Snickers (or Reese, or Twizzler?) the Madagascar Hissing Roach

Some people think roaches are creepy, but did you know Madagascar hissing roaches help give us coffee, vanilla, and chocolate? Roaches are “decomposers.”  Like worms, they help create rich soil by consuming dead plants and creating compost.  Without that rich soil, the plants that give us all those yummy treats would not have enough energy to produce them. You may not want to give a cockroach a hug or a kiss, but you should definitely thank them for many of the treats we get to enjoy this Halloween season. Learn MORE about Madagascar Hissing Roaches

Candy Corn” the Corn Snake and “Pumpkin” the Pueblan Milk Snake:

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Pumpkin the Pueblan Milk Snake

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CandyCorn the Corn Snake

Candy Corn” and “Pumpkin” are two examples of the many species of snakes we have at Reptiles Alive who help us educate the public on why snakes are not so scary and the ways snakes can even be helpful. Snakes help to keep us healthy by eating pest species like mice, rats, and insects that can spread disease and damage food crops. Most snakes are harmless and not dangerous at all to humans. Some snakes are venomous, and snake venoms are being used to create medicine to help people with heart disease, cancer, and other ailments.  A venomous snake could help YOU some day! The best way to stay safe around a snake, whether it is harmless or venomous, is to just leave it alone. Snakes view humans as terrifying predators – so to a snake, YOU are a creepy creature! Learn MORE about Corn Snakes and Pueblan Milk Snakes

Toad Truck” the American Toad:

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Toad Truck the American Toad

American toads are animals we can find in the DC region and they are poisonous. When you think of poison, you typically think BAD, but for toads, poison is GOOD – they use it for protection so other animals, such as garter snakes, won’t eat them.  American toads are common in the DC area and they do great work eating all sorts of bugs. It is estimated that an American toad can eat 10-20 thousand bugs a year. The poison is just there so other animals do not try to eat them. So if you see a toad, don’t try to eat it! Learn MORE about American Toads

Public Events Reptiles Alive will be Performing at this Halloween Season:

The District Wharf GRAND RE-OPENING Festival!

October 14 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

The District Wharf, 690 Maine Ave SW
Washington DC


October 14 @ 1:00 pm – 1:30 pm

Stonebridge at Potomac Town Center, 15200 Potomac Town Place
Woodbridge, VA 22191 

Reptiles Alive! at the National Museum of the Marine Corps Halloween Festival

October 28 @ 12:30 pm – 1:00 pm and 1:30 pm – 2:00 pm

National Museum of the Marine Corps, 18900 Jefferson Davis Hwy
Triangle , VA 22172 United States

Halloween Carnival “Creepy Reptiles Alive!”

October 28 @ 6:45 pm – 8:45 pm

Falls Church Community Center, 223 Little Falls St.
Falls Church, VA

Halloween Event in Woodbridge VA

October 31 @ 5:00 pm – 5:45 pm

Potomac Mills Mall, 2700 Potomac Mills Circle
Woodbridge, VA 22192 United States

For more information on our public events, visit our Public Events Page or follow us on Facebook.


Five Easy Steps to Booking your Reptiles Alive School Assembly

Whew, summer went by so fast and now it is Back To School Time.

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Janis, the African leopard tortoise is all ready to head back to school.

Have you been asked to hire the assembly show performers for your school this year? Students and teachers agree Reptiles Alive shows are toadally the BEST school assemblies of the year!  Here are 5 easy steps to bring the fun and education to  your school this year:

Step 1 – Choose your Date

Talk with the principal and/or anyone else who can help you find dates that will work for your Reptiles Alive visit.  Be sure the room will be available and there are no other special events scheduled on your assembly day.  It is always a good idea to have multiple dates in mind in case your first choice of a date is already booked up in our schedule.

Step 2 – Choose your School Assembly Show

We offer a variety of live reptile shows, each covering different themes. Our most popular school assembly is our general introduction to reptiles:  “Reptiles Alive!”  We also have shows covering specific habitats including “Rainforest Reptiles Alive!” “Desert Reptiles Alive!” and “Wetland Reptiles Alive!”  The show “Backyard Reptiles Alive!” features animals found right here in the DC Metro area.  All of our shows cover topics in the Common Core Standards and the Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL’s) and our show “Ecosystems Alive!” is  designed specifically with the Common Core Standards in mind.  Two assembly shows that work great for October are “Snakes Alive!” and “Creepy Reptiles Alive!”   Keep in mind we are also happy to create custom school assemblies to fit any special school unit or theme.  To see a list with a description of each of our shows, check out our live animal shows for schools page.

Step 3 – Book with Reptiles Alive

At Reptiles Alive, our dates book up very quickly.  The sooner you book with us, the more likely the date and times you want will be available in our schedule.  To book your school assembly with us, fill out our booking request form or call us at 703 560-0257.  Once we receive the information for your booking, we will email a Performance Agreement/Invoice for payment to confirm your reservation.

Step 4 – Preparing Teachers and Students for the Reptiles Alive assembly

Now that you have your Reptiles Alive show reserved, it is time to let teachers know about our visit. Use our custom E-Invitations to alert teachers about the upcoming assembly (there are template choices for party invites OR general events on this page). Be sure to send teachers links to all of our school assembly resource materials. A variety of teacher’s guides to our shows, reptile reference materials, lesson plans, craft ideas and more teacher resources are found on our Teacher’s Page.  Reptile coloring pages, jigsaw puzzles, mazes and crossword puzzles can be found on our Kid’s Page.  And for more reptile fun, check out our Party Ideas Page for reptile games, crafts and even reptile food ideas!

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Be sure to check our Teacher’s Page for resources to supplement your Reptiles Alive assembly.

Step 5 – Preparing on the day of the Reptiles Alive assembly

The Reptiles Alive Wildlife Educator will arrive approximately 30 minutes before the start time for your first show.   Our Wildlife Educators are professionals with years of experience presenting school assemblies so they are great at getting everything set up quickly and efficiently.  To help when we arrive, have a close parking spot open so we can safely load the live animals and other equipment to the assembly room.  We bring our own cart to make the loading easier, so please let us know if there are any unavoidable stairs between our parking spot and the performance space.  In the performance area we will need two tables and an electrical outlet nearby to set up our PA system.  More information, including a diagram of how we set up, can be found on our Preparing for Your Reptiles Alive Show page.


All that’s left to do now is to sit back, relax, and enjoy the Reptiles Alive show!

Ssssee you all this sssschool year!

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Rango the iguana patiently waits for the students at a school assembly.


Help Name the Newest RA Animal Star

Help Name the Newest RA Animal Star

A new animal has joined our animal star team – a gray banded king snake!  This handsome animal was donated to us a few months ago and is about to leave quarantine to begin work as a Reptiles Alive education animal.  One more thing needs to happen, however, before he can start meeting people – he needs a NAME!

We want YOUR HELP in choosing his name.  Read his description below and think of a name befitting such an awesome animal.  Comment below or email the name to us at

Keep in mind we want a name that somehow relates to this snake’s natural history, geographical range, or any special features.  A coolness or cuteness factor is also great!  Read the description below and SEND IN YOUR NAME SUGGESTIONS!

Gray-banded Kingsnake

(Lampropeltis alterna)

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Reptiles Alive Name: YOU DECIDE!

Hissstory: This handsome snake was donated to us from a friend of Reptiles Alive.

RA Diet: Frozen/thawed mice.

Natural Diet:  Lizards are the favorite food of gray-banded kings in the wild. They will also dine on rodents, eggs, and other snakes, including venomous rattlesnakes! They catch their prey by biting first and then wrapping around and constricting, just like a boa or python.

Range: Gray-banded kingsnakes are found in the deserts of southwestern Texas, southern New Mexico and northern Mexico.

Habitat: Dry rocky areas and hillsides in the Trans-Pecos/Chihuahuan desert range is where gray-banded kingsnakes like to hang out. They are primarily nocturnal and can often be seen crossing desert roads after dark.

Size: These are medium sized snakes – they average around 3 feet long.

Lifespan: Like many snakes, gray-banded kingsnakes have an average lifespan of 30 years.

Reproduction: Gray-banded kingsnakes lay clutches of 3-13 leathery eggs in early summer.  As with most snakes, the female abandons the eggs after laying them. When the eggs hatch approximately 9 weeks later, the hatchlings are about 10 inches in length.  Although small, they already know how to catch prey and elude predators.

Conservation: The unregulated take of gray-banded kingsnakes by commercial and private collectors has caused this species to become threatened in many parts of its range.  Some snake collectors will destroy the habitat of the snakes (and other species) while searching for them.  Luckily, most gray-banded kingsnakes available in the pet trade today are being captive bred, so the wild populations have less pressure from collectors. And states such as New Mexico have protected gray-banded kingsnakes and have a recovery plan in place to help this awesome snake species.

Cool Facts: Gray-banded kingsnakes are super popular with snake enthusiasts for a variety of reasons including their incredible beauty.  They come in many different colors and patterns – some are almost all gray while others are more orange and/or red.



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  1. Leesburg Flower & Garden Festival Reptiles Alive Show

    April 21 @ 11:00 am - 11:45 am
  2. Mason Neck State Park Eagle Festival

    May 12 @ 11:15 am - 5:00 pm
We had a great experience with Reptiles Alive for my daughter’s 6th birthday party. Rachel arrived exactly on time, set up quickly, and immediately engaged the group of curious children. We had an impromptu dance party while waiting for last minute guests and Rachel was very accommodating. The children LOVED the show!! And my soon-to-be 11 year old wants them to come for his birthday! I highly recommend Reptiles Alive for your next event!read more

Kelly Maguire

Kelly Maguire

22:57 12 Mar 18

We just had Reptiles Alive come to our preschool and the kids loved it!! We had 4 shows over 2 days to accommodate all our children and everything went great! Caroline was very easy to work with and quick to respond to all my emails. She was our presenter too and was early each day and ready to go when the kids arrived. She really geared her show towards our audience (2-5yr olds) and had them laughing and answering her questions and touching the animals. It was perfect… we would definitely book them again!!read more

Lauren Dolinski

Lauren Dolinski

20:47 01 Mar 18

We booked Reptiles Alive for our son’s 7th birthday party. Miss Rachel put on an amazing show for the 20 kids we had over. The highlight was when my son and I had the chance to hold a long and surprisingly heavy boa constrictor named Sunflower. The show was both educational and fun for the kids, and it kept them captivated for a full hour – priceless!!read more

Rick Jandrain

Rick Jandrain

01:53 06 Feb 18

Rachel is an awesome instructor and very good with many kids. The reptiles were fascinating. This was a great birthday party for my daughter and her second grade more

Robert McKeon

Robert McKeon

23:26 26 Feb 18

We invited Reptiles Alive for our birthday party. Ms. Rachel did a wonderful job to educate the kids about the fun facts of Reptiles and also kept them entertained and focused. It’s not a easy job facing a bunch of 7-year-old boys and 3-year-old preschoolers. We highly recommend Reptiles Alive show. It’s fun and full of knowledge!read more

Tianchan Niu

Tianchan Niu

22:09 17 Dec 17