Tips to Protect You and Your Dog in Snake Season

snake-on-a-trailCobraCaroline recently spoke with Laura Cross at Vetstreet.com about how folks can help keep themselves and their dogs safe during a snake encounter.  Read the fantastic article here:

http://www.vetstreet.com/our-pet-experts/practical-tips-to-help-protect-you-and-your-dog-during-snake-season

Creature Feature: Kenyan Sand Boa

Kenyan Sand Boa

Eryx colubrinus loveridgei

Reptiles Alive Name: “Tremors”

Hissstory: A friend of Caroline’s donated Tremors to Reptiles Alive in March of 1997.

RA Diet: Defrosted frozen mice.kenyan_sand_boa

Natural Diet: Sand boas eat small mammals and lizards.  When food is scarce, sand boas may live over a year without any food at all.

Range: Kenyan sand boas are found in Northeast Africa.

Habitat: Sand boas are found in hot, dry deserts.

Size: Sand boas are some of the smallest boa species on Earth.  They typically grow only 1-2 feet long.

Reproduction: Sand boas give live birth to 7-10 young after a gestation period of about four months.

Lifespan: Sand boas can live over 15 years.  Tremors was born in 1997 – and he is still in great shape!

Cool Facts: The eyes and nostrils of the sand boa are on the top of the head so they can breath and search the surface for prey while the rest of their body lies hidden beneath the sand.

Creature Feature: Giant Madagascar Hognose Snake

Giant Madagascar Hognose Snake

Leioheterodon madagascariensis

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Reptiles Alive Name: “Mr. Leo Heterodon”

Hissstory: Mr. Leo was a pet in Chincoteague, VA until his owner did not want him anymore.  He was sent to a reptile rescue group in western Virginia where, in 2002, we adopted him.

RA Diet: Mr. Leo loves to dine on frozen and then defrosted medium to large sized rats.  Delicioussssssssssss!

Natural Diet: Madagascar hognose  snakes in the wild will eat small mammals, amphibians, and possibly small birds.

Range: Madagascar

Habitat: Madagascar hognose snakes are found in mountain forests at low altitudes, coastal areas, and grasslands often near water and human habitation.  They spend most of their time hiding in shallow burrows or rocky crevices.

Size: Madagascar hognose snakes can grow over 5 feet long and are very heavy-bodied.

Life Span: Madagascar hognose snakes can live over 20 years.

Reproduction: The females snakes lay 6-12 eggs.  The young hatch in 60-80 days and are about 12 inches long.

Conservation: Habitat loss is a major threat to most animals found in Madagascar.

Cool Facts: Giant Madagascar hognose snakes are opistoglyphous, which means they have fangs in the back of their mouth.  Their mild venom is not dangerous to humans, but it helps them catch their prey.  When Madagascar hognose snakes are threatened, they hiss loudly and can flatten their neck – like a cobra!

Top Five Super Snake FACTSSS

At Reptiles Alive LLC, we spend our days educating people about snakes and other reptiles.  Here some super snake facts we with everybody knew.

1.  Snakes are SHY animals that will not chase or attack people.

Wild snakes are truly afraid of humans. Even large snakes, even venomous snakes, if left alone, will leave people alone. Snakes in the wild are never aggressive towards people, but they become defensive when they feel bothered or threatened by larger animals. If you encounter a snake in the wild, leave it alone, and it will leave you alone.

2. Snakes have DRY skin.

Snakes, like all other reptiles, have scales made of keratin covering their body. Keratin is a type of protein that makes up people’s hair and finger nails. Bird feathers are made of keratin. Just like birds and people, snakes are NOT SLIMY. If snakes go swimming, they will get wet (like you do), but they are never slimy. Slugs, eels, and many frogs are slimy – their skin is covered in a layer of mucous.

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3.  Snakes have a brain and can FEEL pain and fear.

If a snake is injured, it feels the pain of the injury. When snakes in the wild are cornered or pursued by larger animals, (including humans), they feel fear which causes them to react with a variety of defensive strategies. Although snakes may not be able to learn how to do math or drive cars, their brain operates in a similar way to your brain, just on a smaller scale.

4. Snakes have a skeleton made of BONES.

Just like people, snakes are VERTEBRATE animals. They have back bones, ribs, skulls, and some snakes even have hip bones. Like people, snakes also have a heart, liver, kidneys, intestines, and other internal organs. On the inside, snakes and people are very similar.

5.  Many snakes with triangle-shaped heads and patterns on their body are non-venomous.

If you are in the Washington DC metro area, there is only one native venomous species: the copperhead. You are far more likely to encounter one of the other 17 or so non-venomous snake species, yet, nearly all snakes in our area have been labeled “copperheads” due to their head shape, colors, or pattern. Nearly any species of snake, including a garter snake, will flatten its head into a “triangle-shape” when threatened (like when it sees YOU.) Nearly all species of snakes in our area have a pattern on their body at some point in their life (rat snakes and racers start life with a pattern that slowly fades to black as they get older.) If you see a snake, whether you think it is a copperhead, or not, just leave the snake alone. If you leave the snake alone, it will leave you alone.

snakehead-answer-300x242

Photo courtesy of John White and the Virginia Herpetological Society

Snakes are fascinating creatures that are often misunderstood and feared by people.  One of our goals at Reptiles Alive LLC is to help people and snakes by teaching the facts about these awesome animals.

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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