Creature Feature: Corn Snake

Corn Snake or Red Rat Snake

Pantherophis guttata

Reptiles Alive Name: “Pink & Anakin”

Hissstory:
 Indiana was an unwanted pet that came to us from a reptile rescue group in 2009. Anakin was an unwanted pet that also came to us in 2009.

RA Diet: Indiana likes to dine on frozen mice that have been warmed up.  Yum!Corn_snake

Natural Diet: In the wild, corn snakes will eat mice and other rodents, birds, eggs, and sometimes, bats.

Range: Corn snakes can be found from New Jersey to Florida and west to New Mexico and Colorado.  They are very rare in some parts of their range, and even listed as endangered in certain states.  They are native to the Washington DC area, but they are very rare and thought to be extirpated from the city and close in suburbs.

Habitat: These gorgeous snakes like to hide in woodlands, meadows, and along springs.  They spend most of their time hidden underground or in rock crevices.

Size: Corn snakes average a length of 24-48 inches, the record is 72 inches long.

Lifespan: Corn snakes can live over 20 years old.

Reproduction:
 Corn snakes breed from March to May. Females lay 3-21 eggs in May to July. Babies will hatch in late summer to early fall.

Conservation:
 Due to their beautiful colors and patterns, corn snakes are a popular snake pet.  Because of this, many of them are captured each year to be sold as pets.  The over-collection of corn snakes combined with the urbanization of much of their range  has caused them to become a threatened species in many areas.

Cool Facts: Corn snakes don’t eat corn – in fact, no snake eats vegetables.  All snakes on Earth are carnivores.  So why name a snake after corn?  It is due to the “corny” pattern on their belly.

 

Snow Storm Update

100_1058-300x225

View from RA HQ

We are completely snowed in here at Reptiles Alive.  Snow started falling last Friday afternoon and piled up about 25 inches around us by late Saturday afternoon.  We have been very lucky to have not lost power – but the only road in or out has remained untouched by plows and is impassable.  Luckily, I am able to get to the animal rooms and office without having to drive.

Now we are once again facing a Winter Storm Warning with the possibility of another 10-20 inches in the next 24 hours combined with high winds at 25 – 40 miles per hour.  We have contacted friends with large 4WD vehicles to help evacuate our animals if our power is lost, so the animals will stay safe.

Our show schedule, however, is in tatters.  The last show we were able to perform was on Friday February 5 in the morning.  Since then, more than a dozen shows and after school classes have been canceled, and I am sure many more will be canceled at least through this Saturday.   If our streets are plowed, I am hoping to be able to get our Wildlife Educators out to perform shows this weekend – but there is a chance we will still be unable to get out.

I am hoping to be able to reschedule many of the canceled shows, but since our calendar is so busy already, I’m sure some of them will not be able to be rescheduled.  Remember our cancellation policy is that if your show is canceled due to snow, and we are not able to reschedule it for you, we will send you a 100% refund.

In the meantime, the well being of our animals is first and foremost.  I will be preparing the animal rooms today for the possibility of losing power.   And, I will be comforted knowing that I have a large group of friends ready to help in the event of a real emergency.

Thank you all so much – Good Luck Everyone!

 

A Giant Delivery

SOME NEW ENCLOSURES

I was called in to be an extra pair of hands last week for the delivery of some new enclosures from Animal Plastics.  Why was the help needed you ask?  These babies were being delivered from a semi truck!semidelivery

We have a very long winding driveway with some sharp curves up a hill here at Reptiles Alive.  There was no way, no how that semi was going to make it up that driveway.

We had three ways of getting this very large and heavy package up that driveway.

  1. Slide the whole thing into Caroline’s Van and drive it up the hill
  2. Strap that bad boy on to my wheeled cart and pull it like a couple of mules up the driveway.
  3. Take out the knifes and cut the package open and carry it up piece by piece. (My least favorite option.)

The van was driven down the hill for plan #1. The side doors were slid open and… That was SO not going to happen!  The box was enormous! Ok, how about the back door?  HA!  Are you kidding me?

Ok… now what?  I was getting psyched up for plan #2 when who happens to be walking by with his dog?  Jeff our neighborhood life saver!  This good Samaritan offers his work truck to haul our dilemma up the hill for us.  Hooray!

Jeff, my man, if it were not for you we would have been schlepping that thing up the hill all afternoon.  My legs would have fallen off!  Many thanks.

We had no problem transferring the cages into the building from the smaller truck.  As soon as we have some time to do some massive rearranging in the reptile room, we will be tackling the assembly of these beasts.  I have to say, even in pieces the cages sure look like beauties.  Thank you Animal Plastics!

Look for a future posting with assembly and drama when we construct new homes for an iguana and water monitor!

thanksjeff

Creature Feature: Mexican Blood Leg Tarantula

Mexican Blood Leg Tarantula

Aphonopelma bicolouratum

Reptiles Alive Name: “Chewbacca”

Hissstory:
 Chewie was one of 8 tarantulas, one scorpion, and one savannah monitor lizard that were rescued from a house fire by Fairfax County Animal Control in April of 2006.  Due to zoning laws, the owner was not allowed to have his animals returned to him, so we were given custody of all of the rescued animals.

RA Diet:
 Chewie’s favorite food are crickets.

Natural Diet:
 Tarantulas will eat insects, birds, lizards, and even small mammals.
Tarantula-red

Range: Mexican blood leg tarantulas are native to Mexico and South Texas.

Habitat: Blood leg tarantulas are found in deserts where they spend most of their time hiding in burrows.

Size:
 Blood legs are a relatively small tarantula, growing to about 3 1/2 to 5 inches

Lifespan:
 Female tarantulas can live over 30 years – males do not live nearly as long.

Reproduction:
 Tarantulas construct a golf ball sized egg sac out of silk. The female tarantula will care for her eggs by turning the egg sac on a regular basis. One egg sac may contain over two thousand eggs.

Conservation:
 Tarantulas form a vital part of the desert’s food web.   They control insect populations by eating them, and then, tarantulas are eaten by other animals such as lizards, birds, and mammals.

Cool Facts: Tarantulas rarely harm humans. They prefer to use the itchy hairs on their abdomen to irritate any animal that bothers them. The venom from tarantulas found in North America is not any more dangerous to people than bee venom.  The best thing to do whenever you see an animal is to just leave it alone.

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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 class.read 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

We had Reptiles Alive join us for a country club event and they did an outstanding job! Ashley was amazing and so professional. She was very interactive with the children and played the role perfectly. We couldn’t have asked for a better experience!read more

Chelsea Barb

Chelsea Barb

20:20 28 Mar 18

We’ve been working with Reptiles Alive for the past 4 years now and they show up and show out every time. Everything from booking to the day of is efficient and friendly. At our past event, presenter Liz did 6 shows back to back for our campers, which is truly impressive and phenomenal. We will continue to work with Reptiles Alive for years to come and really appreciate the work and educating that they do!read more

Lydia Vanderbilt

Lydia Vanderbilt

21:09 05 Apr 18

Reptiles Alive gave an awesome show at our elementary school! The presenter was so much fun and really engaged the children. Very cool reptiles and a great interactive meet and greet at the end. The kids loved it!read more

Jonathan Grau

Jonathan Grau

14:52 07 Apr 18

I am in charge of grade level assemblies at our school and our 3rd grade has RA in for their Rain Forest show every year to reinforce the things they have learned about in class. This is my second year working with them and I have been absolutely thrilled with the interaction to book the event and with the presenters. They engage the kids and help make them a part of the show. I can’t say enough about this wonderful program and the amazing people that work there.read more

Kim Painter

Kim Painter

23:32 07 Apr 18

We love this show at our preschool!! The kids have so much fun and learn a lot! They are very organized and always start on time. We have always had a wonderful experience with Reptiles Alive and can’t wait to have them back again!read more

Melissa Jones

Melissa Jones

15:06 20 Apr 18