Posts Tagged ‘black rat’

by , Director
I've been at the Museum sooooo long - longer than many of our interns have been alive. I do a little bit of everything as part of my job: care for the animals, work with the keepers and other staff, spend time with guests. Lucky me!
I spend a lot of time behind-the-scenes, or here after hours, but if you really want to see me, you'll have to sign-up for a behind-the-scenes program.

Ultrasound for a Snake

July 16th, 2013

Last Thursday Katy and I took Todd, our black rat snake in for an ultrasound of his heart. Since Dr. Godshalk, a board certified veterinary radiologist, doesn’t have a lot of snakes for clients, we had to bring a “normal” snake so she could compare the heart of one to the other. We took the snakes to VSH in Cary- this is where, 3 years ago, Dr. Godshalk helped us out with Cassandra’s brush with death. All went well.

Todd was a great patient!

G, our healthy corn snake was used as a comparison, and we checked out the anatomy poster before beginning.


Dr. Godshalk checked out G first to get some normal sizes to compare to.


We learned that Todd’s heart is huge- and not in a good way. We’ll gather the results and figure out the best next steps.


Join the conversation:

  1. Might a large heart indicate that Todd is really athletic (IronSnake?) or that he’s just really kind?

    Did Dr. Godshalk consider these options? ;)

    Very cool post. Look forward to the updates.

    Posted by Michele
  2. How did you know he was having heart problems?

    Posted by Wendy
  3. Director Comment :

    unfortunately, this large heart is not a good thing. We haven’t determined the next best ways to proceed yet.

    As far as us noticing, this snake has had interesting issues on and off. Quite honestly, Katy noticed one day she could see the snake’s heart beating… not usually able to be seen by the naked eye.

    Posted by Sherry Samuels
  4. Kudos to Katy, only one of the Museum’s wonderful keepers, for noticing Todd’s heart problem. Also read an older blog where the keepers noticed Cassandra the lemur’s respiratory problem early which saved her and that blog said it was during Keeper’s Appreciation Week. Think Cassandra’s blog was last July either this week or next week. Thank the keepers!!!

    Posted by dj

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

by , Keeper
I have been working at the museum since 2003, and I feel fortunate to have a job where I can start my day with amazing animals surrounding me. I enjoy camping, hiking and rock climbing in my spare time when the weather is nice.
I work Tuesday through Saturday and spend a lot of time behind the scenes, but you might find me at a public program or feeding the farmyard animals in the afternoon.


May 1st, 2009

Every keeper has experienced the unpredictable at some point or another. It just comes with the job when you work with animals. No matter how well we think we know our animals, they still randomly do things that will shock or amaze us. Whether it be getting themselves stuck in places that we never imagined they could fit into (such as our tiger salamander with his water bowl), or finding out that one of our sweetest animals is a petty thief (such as Wendy the woodchuck with Sherry’s invoices), there will always be outragous stories to share if you are an animal keeper!

Well, last Sunday was another great example of the unimagineable happening. Now, keep in mind Sundays are one of our short-staffed days, where there’s only three keepers here instead of seven. Katy and I already had to deal with the tiger salamander being stuck in his water bowl a few months ago on a Sunday, but strange things don’t wait for a good time to happen, so we just have to roll with the punches. Last Sunday, Sherry was filling in for Katy while on vacation, and she was the first one to discover this unforseen occurrance. Imagine my confusion when I heard Sherry radio Kent and ask him if it was possible for a male black rat snake to lay eggs! At first, I thought she was on the phone with someone who was asking her this question, and she was just confirming her answer of “no.” But, in fact, she was talking about our off-exhibit black rat snake. Yes, that’s right, she found nine eggs in the black rat’s cage while cleaning that morning. Apparently this snake is a female, and not a male, like we first thought.

Of course, the eggs are not fertile because all of our snakes live alone, so there will be no babies. It was certainly unexpected, but was still something outside of the normal routine that helps to keep the job interesting. It just goes to show that, when working with animals, we always have to expect the unexpected!

Join the conversation:

  1. Those eggs remind me of circus peanuts. I just bought some after 10 years of not eating them.

    Posted by Larry

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *