Interview with a Boa Constrictor

Sunflower the albino boa constrictor turned two years old on Jan 14.  She is getting ready to begin her career as a show boa for Reptiles Alive, so I wanted to let our fans get to know her a little better.

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CobraCaroline (CC):  So Sunflower, you just celebrated your 2nd birthday.  Did you do anything special?

Sunflower (SF): Well actually yesss.   You sssee, I get fed a delicioussss large rat once every other week.  And it just ssso happened that I got my delightful dinner on my birthday.  It was yummy.  And, it isss sstill in my tummy!

CC:  You know Sunflower, some people think that snakes only like to eat their prey live, but all the snakes here at RA get frozen and then warmed up food.  What do you think about that?

SF: Ooooh, I like it much much better when my dinner doesn’t try to bite me or ssscratch me or run away.  Also, I know that the frozen ratsss we eat don’t have all the yucky parasitesss or germsss that live ratsss could have. But I mussst admit, I do enjoy it when the keeper jigglesss the rat in front of me a little.  I mean, I’ll ssstill eat it if is not moving, it isss jusst ssso much more fun to ssstrike it and wrap around it – even though it isss already dead.

CC: We have a few questions from Reptiles Alive fans.   RA fan Virginia Olin wants to ask you two questions:  Where did you learn to speak?  Do you get chapped lips from licking your lips so much?

SF: Good quessstionssss Virginia.   Actually, CobraCaroline is able to communicate with me using an ancient Minoan technique known only to a few ssspecial humansss.  And no, I don’t get chapped lipsssss.  In fact I don’t even HAVE lipssss!  Ha ha ha – that is one of the reasonsss I can’t chew my food.

CC:  RA fan Kory Steele wants to know if you have any plans to get surgical augmentation and regrow legs?

SF: No Kory, no plansss for anything like that.  I really love my body just the way it issss.  I am able to accesssss placesss that animalsss with armsss and legsss can’t.   Armsss and legsss just get in the way.

CC:  RA fan and Bonnie Keller asks:  What’s your favorite rat flavor? And what will you be wearing to the Awards shows later this season?

SF: Bonnie, my tongue isss ssso powerful I can tassste the ratsss even when the RA keepersss are defrosssting them in the other room!  And man, when I sssmell them, I just want to eat them ALL.   I get ssso excited,  I’ll ssstrike at just about anything!!  Ssso, I guess I like all the rat flavors:  black, white, brown, spotted, whatever.  Just give me a yummy delicious rat!  MMMmmmm, rat rat rat.  Wait, you had another quessstion too.  Oh yeah, what will I wear to the Awardsss showsss?  Bonnie – you know usss sssnakesss, we like to keep thingsss sssimple.  No makeup, no clothesss.  I might shed my ssskin just to pretty up a little though.

CC:  So, Sunflower, are you excited about doing shows for Reptiles Alive?

SF: Oh definitely yesssss Cobra Caroline.  I can’t wait to help other people discover how cool sssnakes really are.  That we are not ssscary.  And we don’t want to hurt anyone!  Well, maybe a rat.  But ssseriously, I want to help ssstop humansss from attacking innocent sssnakes in the wild. Jussst leave those poor innocent sssnakes alone you ssscary humansss!!

CC: Any last thoughts or comments?

I am really excited to be a part of your animal education team.  I don’t think there are many albino boa constrictorsss out there working in live animal showsss, in fact, I might be the first!  Oh I know people see albino Burmese pythonsss all the time.  Even that Britney girl had one in a music video or something.  Pythonsss, shmythonssss.  I don’t meant to sssound ssstuck up, but I am ssso sssspectacularly beautiful, that I am sure to become one of RA’s biggest ssstars!

2009 Wildlife Exhibitor Annual Report

This has been another great year for Reptiles Alive!  Between September 30, 2008 through September 30, 2009, we presented 735 shows for approximately 63,000 people!  That is a lot of people who have been educated about reptiles and wildlife conservation.

During that period, we also had some changes to our animal collection and our staff.

Jennifer Rafter left us this past summer to join the team at the new Delmarva Discovery Center.  She is missed – but we know she is having a great time setting up a brand new, 7,000 gallon aquarium and setting up new reptile and amphibian exhibits as well.  Last weekend, we transferred a corn snake, an America toad, and a gray tree frog to the DDC for her to display.

A few of our animals have left us as well.  We transferred a healthy carpet python to another reptile organization because the python was not “happy” doing shows with us.  He will have a great new home where he no longer has to go to work.

Two of our animals died this year.  We lost an eastern king snake and a pueblan milk snake.  Both were very old and were suffering from a gastro-intestinal disease.  We were very sad, but we had them both humanely euthanized so they would not suffer any more.

Four new animals made their way into the Reptiles Alive permanent collection this year.

This spring, Sunflower the albino boa constrictor made her way to us.  She is still less than one year old and is less than 2 feet long, so you might not see her at shows for a few more months.  But we are VERY excited about having her here – she is so beautiful.  It is rare to see albino boa constrictors exhibited in animal shows or at zoos, so you will be in for a treat when you meet her.

albino boa

Later in the year, we received another “regular” colored boa constrictor and an albino Burmese python.  The new Burmese python we named Moonlight and you can see him in shows starting this month.  The “regular” boa is named Aztec.   He is very handsome and healthy, so you will get to see him in shows starting this month as well.

Lastly, we just received another albino Burmese python.  This snake came from the Alexandria Animal Welfare League as an abandoned pet.  He/she seems healthy, but we have to quarantine all of our new animals for at least 3 months to make sure.  This new snake does not yet have a name, but we are thinking of naming him “Cloud.”  What do you think we should name him?

We are looking forward to the coming year and meeting all of you!  Be sure to fill book your show now, our calendar is filling up fast.