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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TESTIMONIALS

"It was fantastic and the whole party was into it. Tony was truly a wonderful educational presenter."

Rachel Karnes, Mom, Potomac Falls VA

5.0
2016-11-16T17:25:35+00:00

Rachel Karnes, Mom, Potomac Falls VA

"It was fantastic and the whole party was into it. Tony was truly a wonderful educational presenter."

"Thank you! The information provided to the kids was so educational and fun. I am a homeschool mom and the way the material was presented...

Patty Coote, Mom, Herndon VA

5.0
2016-11-16T17:28:52+00:00

Patty Coote, Mom, Herndon VA

"Thank you! The information provided to the kids was so educational and fun. I am a homeschool mom and the way the material was presented felt like we were at a fun event! The parents even remarked that they learned something. My son has a lifetime memory because of your program."

"Thank you for an incredible birthday party! All of the children had a wonderful experience. Caroline was so easy to work with and Tony did...

Marcie Blackstone, Mom, Clarksburg MD

5.0
2017-01-02T09:08:56+00:00

Marcie Blackstone, Mom, Clarksburg MD

"Thank you for an incredible birthday party! All of the children had a wonderful experience. Caroline was so easy to work with and Tony did a great job presenting to the kids!"

"Liz was great. She was prompt, organized, knowledgeable, friendly and fun. Having her do the show in our home was effortless, entertaining, and overall a...

Tammy Berkon, Mom, Alexandria VA

5.0
2017-01-02T09:11:36+00:00

Tammy Berkon, Mom, Alexandria VA

"Liz was great. She was prompt, organized, knowledgeable, friendly and fun. Having her do the show in our home was effortless, entertaining, and overall a wonderful experience for everyone!"

"I loved it so much. They teach you about the animals and you get to touch them! Rachel did a really wonderful job" 

Birthday girl and Mom, Chantilly VA

5.0
2017-01-02T09:12:19+00:00

Birthday girl and Mom, Chantilly VA

"I loved it so much. They teach you about the animals and you get to touch them! Rachel did a really wonderful job" 

"I am so glad we hired Reptiles Alive for my son's birthday. CobraCaroline and all her reptiles were a huge hit! All the kids loved...

Elizabeth Poppi, Mom, Reston VA

5.0
2017-01-02T09:12:52+00:00

Elizabeth Poppi, Mom, Reston VA

"I am so glad we hired Reptiles Alive for my son's birthday. CobraCaroline and all her reptiles were a huge hit! All the kids loved it! Even those who seemed a little reluctant were reaching out to pe the animals at the end. Caroline's energy and enthusiasm was contagious and we couldn't have asked for more!"

"The program was outstanding. Caroline was so knowledgeable and was able to teach the children at their level. She handled the animals very professionally and...

Joan L. Mancuso, Director Potomac Nursery School

5.0
2017-01-02T09:13:30+00:00

Joan L. Mancuso, Director Potomac Nursery School

"The program was outstanding. Caroline was so knowledgeable and was able to teach the children at their level. She handled the animals very professionally and the hands on experience for the children was well received. I would highly recommend this program--both for our age group (3-4 yr olds) and for elementary school children."
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