Vader the Gopher Snake

We have recently added a new snake to our show cast! Here is a video of Vader while he was in quarantine soon after arriving at Reptiles Alive. He has calmed down quite a bit since we filmed this video.

Gopher snakes are one of my favorite types of snakes. We had a lot of them in New Mexico where I grew up. We would get calls all of the time at the Rattlesnake Museum ( www.rattlesnakes.com ) about a rattlesnake in someone’s yard. Nine times out of ten it would be a gopher snake. They are non-venomous and great to have around to eat those pesky rodents.

It’s Spring

I finally got a nice day out in the sun. The grass was delicious, although I got it all over my front legs. The clover and chickweed was especially tasty this morning.matt

My next few hours will be spent as follows:

Exactly two and three-quarters laps around the yard.

Have a staring contest with the dog until he gives up. (I think he is more interested in barking than in staring.)

Eat some grass found next to the garden.

Try and climb in to the garden to eat the savory cabbage and garlic.

Sit in the sunniest spot I can find for two hours or for however long I nap for. I really like to nap.

Then I am going to go for a nice soak in the pool.

Life sure is nice for a tortoise.

Uh oh, time to go. One of the woodpeckers is trying to get a grub out of a tree. I am going to ask him for a nice shell tapping. There is one itchy spot I just cannot reach!

North Carolina Box Turtle Conference

It may be a bit early in the year for some good snake herping, but not too early for a Conference! We were invited to be part of the education panel at the Box Turtle Conservation Workshop in Ashboro, North Carolina. It was hosted by the fantastic North Carolina Zoo. We met several wonderful scientists, naturalists, government workers, and zookeepers.

The highlight of the trip ended up being the zoo itself! We received an amazing behind the scenes tour with one of the river habitat zookeepers. Here is Mark and Caroline hanging out at the Sonoran desert exhibit.

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Don’t they look like they are having fun?

I was impressed with how much the exhibit looked like the Sonora Desert. It reminded me of my southwest home.

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This hill is loaded with yucca, cholla (pronounced choy- yah), prickly pear, and barrel cactus.

How cool!

Just goes to show you the amazing things you can grow in a bubble.

The most impressive animal in the desert exhibit was the gorgeous and obviously very happy Gila Monster (pronounced Hee-lah.) Just look at the smile on this guys face. The Gila Monster is one of two venomous lizards in the world. They have venom glands in their jaw and grooved teeth for the venom to flow along. Gilas have been known to eat eggs, birds, rodents, and even snakes.

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I just couldn’t get enough of all the amazing and healthy animals found in this exhibit.

I was most impressed by the native animals of North Carolina exhibit. The otters were definetly the cutest.otteradorableint

Here is an old girl lifting her head up to say hi. She recognized our zookeeper guide, Mark and came out of the water to see what was going on.

Behind the riverside exhibit was a brightly colored coral snake. Check out the lovely colors on this guy. The keepers told us this guy was actually from the zoo property! Good thing he is safe in here now, there are elephants out there little guy!

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If you are in the North Carolina area, you must check out the zoo. i would visit just for the impressive stream side exhibit. The display is amazingly executed. It looks just like someone took a saw and sliced a cross section of a stream and its banks and encased it in glass. The exhibit had fish and turtles swimming in the water, water moccasins, kingsnakes, birds, frogs, toads, copperheads, ratsnakes, and more! To service this impressive exhibit, you have to climb up and down these scary stairs.

Yikes those things are steep!

I was amazed to find they had a hellbender in the back. Sorry folks, no picture as they all came out blurry. The outdoor Carolina exhibits were very nice too. Check out the awesome picture I got of the puma. Caroline and I must have spent a good amount of time watching these big cats chase

ncpumauptreeinteach other around and up trees! He was so close!drinkingpumaint

The best part of the tour came when Mark took us in the forested area to look for salamanders and frogs. It was doubtful this time of year to find many snakes. The zoo sits on several acres of untouched woodland and it is filled with may awesome native animals.

 

Say Hello to Mr. Amphibian! We found many egg masses of salamanders and frogs in the scattered vernal pools back there.

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It is a beautiful zoo. Thanks for the tour Mark!

Back at the hotel room, it wasn’t so beautiful. Check out what happened to one of our sodas in the fridge.

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Uh OH!

Looks like the hotel staff gets an extra tip.

This is the nice thing about being on vacation I suppose. I felt a bit guilty for leaving the mess, but the cleaning crew is going to be better equipped to deal with it. We left a nice note on the fridge informing them it was just soda, really!

 

Pony Island Trip

The Reptiles Alive crew was invited to spend a few days at Assateague Island by park ranger friends. This is where the famous wild ponies wander the beaches. I was excited to try surf fishing for the first time. Caroline was up for some grilling and kicking back on the sand.

http://www.nps.gov/asis/

We lucked out on this trip right off the bat. Assateague is notorious for its blood sucking mosquitos in the summer. Our entire weekend turned out to be just breezy enough to keep the little vampires off of us. After introducing us to all of the nice people at the campsite, I wanted to hit the surf.

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Like my bathing suit? My good swimsuit ended up in the dryer, so I made due with shorts and a tank top. The water was freezing cold, but I thought it felt great. It had been a long time since I got to swim in the ocean. I just love those waves.

Next, was to find out what sort of creatures swam around in those waves. We were staying on the national seashore instead of the park, so it was ok to go fishing. There was even a perfect little bait shop for all of your camping and fishing needs right on the other side of the bridge before driving on to the island. There we picked up poles that could hold up to the surf, blood worms, and fake blood worm stuff. I found out that I really liked the fake blood worms. They were little strips not unlike thin bubble gum. They did not wiggle, slime, or bleed. I believe that they did just fine. Caroline told me that we needed to get some small fish to catch some big stuff. Well, what do you know? The bait shop was equipped with a freezer full of them!

Check out the awesome creatures we caught and released!

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rayintThat is Caroline holding what I believe is a dogfish.

That nifty looking thing on the right is a ray or skate. Go ray! Both of them went right back in to the ocean and swam away. We had hotdogs for the eating.

The weather was fantastic on the first day. We even got to build a nice campfire that night and drink some hot cocoa. (one of my all time favorite things for camping)

I slept so well that night in my nice cozy tent, that I was up before dawn, fishing of course! Check out this unbelievable sunrise!

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I caught several dogfish and released them before anyone was awake.

We had a wonderful breakfast. Then to some serious relaxing on the beach, followed by the most important part of a Reptiles Alive vacation. That is, looking for herps.

We walked along the gorgeous secondary dune trail and ran into a little bumpy slimer! I love the bumps on this guy. Nice color!

toadinhandintThat toad took a mighty fine picture. We had a wonderful hike along the dune trail before heading back to the car and back home.

Look at the lovely scenery along this trail!

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On our way out, I finally had my camera ready for a shot at the resident feral ponies. See you soon guys, we had a great time!

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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