Posts Tagged ‘snake’

by , Keeper
I graduated from NCSU(go pack) and have worked in the animal department for about 8 years. Some of my favorites include ferrets and birds. I am also known for my weird obsession with Boba Fett.
I work Tuesday-Saturday in either the Farmyard or inside the main building behind the scenes.

Common mistake with snakes

May 13th, 2014

A lot of times I go and check on the animals in Carolina Wildlife. When I walk out I hear a lot of comments adults make to children. Some of the comments are correct and some of them are very false. One that drives me crazy is hearing people over at the snakes warning kids to avoid snakes with triangle heads because they are poisonous. Now, I do agree in avoiding the snakes, but 2 things wrong with the advice is  snakes aren’t poisonous, they are venomous and a lot of snakes have triangular shaped heads…not just the venomous kind. I found this excerpt in the herpsofnc website.

” there is no simple way to distinguish between a venomous snake and a non-venomous snake.  The best possible advice one can follow is that any snake that cannot be positively identified as harmless should not be handled.  Many people believe that all snakes with triangular-shaped heads are potentially venomous.  Although all pit vipers (rattlesnakes, copperheads, cottonmouths) in the eastern United States have broad triangular heads, so do some non-venomous species such as water snakes (Nerodia).  In addition, a non triangular head does not signify the absence of venom: the two species of coral snakes in the United States, both venomous, have slender heads with little distinction between head and neck.  Another over generalization is that venomous snakes have elliptical pupils, whereas all harmless snakes have round pupils; however venomous coral snakes also have round pupils.  Unfortunately, no single rule separates all venomous species from all of the harmless ones.”

snakehdsPhoto

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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

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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.

QuikPic: Name that snake

March 14th, 2013

Any ideas what’s happening in the photo below?  Stay tuned…

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  1. Director Comment :

    This is our canebrake rattlesnake. She is sedated in the photo. She had an infection/abscess on her face that we’ve been treating and we needed to get a closer look.

    Posted by Sherry Samuels

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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.

Chinese New Year: Year of the Water Snake

February 11th, 2013

Happy belated Chinese New Year. Yesterday began the year of the water snake

We have a Water Snake at the Museum that lives in Carolina Wildlife. This snake has been with us for about 5 years. This snake lives with our mud turtle. The Keepers shot a video of the snake catching a fish- click here to see it.

 You can go to numerous websites to learn about Chinese New Year, but below are two to start with.

http://www.adafruit.com/blog/2013/02/10/happy-chinese-new-year-year-of-water-snake/  

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_New_Year

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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.

What happened there…

January 12th, 2013

I asked yesterday if you could guess What Happened Here. I sooooooooooooooooooo wish what happened is what Kristen described in the comment section of What Happened Here, but the story goes like so:

Katy grabbed the snake before it disappeared. Daniel and I help make a plan.

I’m sitting at my desk and I hear some chatter in the hall then Kimberly yells for me to come to the Exam Room. It’s maybe 20 feet from where I am to get there and I find Katy lying on the floor. I notice quickly she has the end of the black rat snake in her hand and the snake is basically disappeared into some crack in the baseboard of the cabinet.

I stick my hand (well, really my pointer finger is all that will fit in) up in the hole and I first thought the snake was making its way into the wall. As Katy has already learned, there is no real way to back the snake out. The snake was tense and pulling led to no good outcome. I think I freaked Katy and Kimberly out when I said something like “we could put the snake to sleep”. (I was thinking if the snake were medicated there was a chance we could thread him back out through the hole since he would not be tensing his muscles and fighting against her pulling).

After a minute or so, we figure out that the snake is not in the wall nor is it under the cabinets. Instead, it is wedged between the end of the cabinet and the wall.

Daniel starts to pry off the cabinet trim.

 This is when we ask Daniel to start ripping the cabinet trim off. I was able to confirm that the snake had gone down to the ground rather than up against the wall, so I knew Daniel could  cut and pry and saw and do whatever was needed without hurting the snake.

I’m not sure if you can tell in the photo that we covered Katy’s head with a towel   (we hoped to keep the saw dusting away from her eyes and mouth- which we did).

a saw is needed to cut away the cabinet trim.

 

Daniel finally gets the 2 inch wide trim piece off the wall and we see the snake clear as can be.

Aaron goes to get a snake hook- it’s skinny enough to get back in the crack to try to encourage the snake forward.

With the end of the snake hook behind the snake encouraging it forward, and leading the snake up and out away from the splintered wood, we were able to get the snake out, and unharmed.

 

It’s a crappy photo, but this is the 1.5 inch space between the wall and the cabinet that the snake has gotten itself into.

Daniel was a huge help (Daniel works in the facilities department now but he worked in the animal department for many years as well so we continue to count on his assistance during tricky times. The snake was uninjured. Katy checked him for any scratches or wounds but found no issues on. Possibly the most impressive thing is that Daniel had the cabinet repaired by lunchtime!

. Now, are you asking how this whole scene came to be? The snake’s cage was being cleaned so we put the snake on the Exam Room floor to get some exercise. We have now since covered the hole under the cabinet (and we found another hole at the other end of the cabinet that we covered too).

Another exciting day in the animal department complete. I’m really glad this story had a happy ending.

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by , Keeper
I'm extremely excited to be working at the Museum since October 2010. My favorite part of this job- besides working with the animals- is listening to all of the Keeper stories, I hear a new one each day. In my spare time I enjoy hiking, belly dancing, and vegan cooking.
I work Sunday through Thursday. I can be found mostly behind the scenes or training the Ring Tail Lemurs.

Snake Enrichment

July 17th, 2012

Even our snakes get enrichment! This morning while in the RHR (reptile holding room) I looked over and saw this…

Corn snake using enrichment

This corn snake was inside it’s enrichment- which was a brown paper bag with leaves. Below is another view of the snake and a second corn snake who is half in and half out of it’s enrichment.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Each animal reacts differently to enrichment, but changing a snakes habitat has the greatest enrichment potential. We switch it up week to week to keep it novel. We do enrichment for snakes 3 times a week.
 
One day is handling each snake for at least 5 minutes, another day is adding natural materials, such as leaves, river rocks, pinestraw, pinecones, twigs, non-animal scents, soil, moss, or hay. And the last day also has to do with their habitat but less natural materials such as t-shirt, fake plants, paper lunch bags, cardboard or pvc tubes, snake rattle (old medicine containers with a couple beans or small rocks inside), grass mats, ramps, shredded paper, mirrors, brush, or various sleeping logs.

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  1. Great pictures and a fascinating read!

    Posted by Exotic Pets

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by , Keeper
Hiya! I'm Mikey. That's all you get. :)
I work Tuesday through Saturday and you can usually find me training the bears, mucking with the reptiles and saying bad words in Italian to the aquatic filter systems.

No such thing as a Poisonous Snake… (Part 1)

February 7th, 2011

Hello out there in TV Land!  Your friendly neighborhood Mikey checking in again with another fun blog about odd animal facts.  This one concerns a subject that is near and dear to my heart, and one which I have been told is a staple of my reptile programs, wherever I have done them.  A few months ago Jill wrote up a similar posting.  Allow me to elaborate on it a little more.  My topic is going to be the Venomous VS. Poisonous debate. with a main emphasis on snakes.  Also, this posting is going to be in two parts- the first will delve into the differences between venomous and poisonous and the second will go into detail about the predominantly different types of snake venom and their effects.

I know all of you have heard of cobras, and rattlesnakes, and copperheads and other dangerous snakes, right?  And chances are that whenever you’ve heard or spoke of them, the term “Poisonous” has been brought up?  Many people refer to the dangerous serpents as “poisonous snakes”.  Here’s the fun part!  There’s no such thing as a poisonous snake! The term itself is not correct – any snake possessing toxicity is in actuality a “Venomous” snake.  Now, I know you guys are shaking your head and saying that they’re the same thing, but believe you me, it isn’t true!  The term is properly applied depending on the animal’s (or plant’s) mode of introducing it’s toxin into something else’s system.

Venomous

Venomous

Venomous

Venomous is when the toxin is injected into something else, be it a bite or a sting or whatnot. Poisonous is when the toxin is eaten or absorbed through the skin.  Snakes can be venomous, as can scorpions, spiders, many fish and even bees (that’s why the sting hurts so much!).  But no snake is poisonous, -you can eat a snake (although I don’t advise it) without getting envenomated.  Things that are poisonous include many amphibians, a large number of plants (ever heard of poison ivy?), and my sisters cooking.

Poisonous

Poisonous

Poison Ivy...Very Dangerous!

Coming soon… the Sequel!  Where we talk about all the fun effects venom can have!  Don’t touch that dial!  :)

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  1. What about spitting cobras? How is their venom delivered?

    Posted by Libby
  2. Hey Mikey, good post!.

    It’s a tough concept for some folks to grasp, the difference between 
poisonous and venomous. But let’s face it, most people don’t really 
care what you call it. If you step on Copperhead (or a lionfish) or you mess with 
poison ivy (cartoon villain or plant), you’re going suffer for it.
    When I read “no such thing as a poisonous snake” I thought to myself, “surely, somewhere in this big old world there is a poisonous snake.” I found two. These snakes get their toxicity from eating other animals which are toxic, such as newts and toads.
    The first is a garter snake in western US which eats toxic newts and retains the toxin in its liver: . I’m not sure if this helps the snake avoid becoming prey itself, but a local fox would probably not eat two of these snakes.
    The second, keelback snakes in SE Asia: which actually seem to use, and advertise, the toxicity acquired from eating toxic toads as a defensive measure against being eaten themselves. The toxin is contained in glands on the snake’s neck and makes them distasteful to those who would think about eating them (the snake).

    Posted by Ranger Greg
  3. Hey there Libby!

    Yes, spitting cobras are venomous as well – they are elapids like other cobras and their venom is primarily Neurotoxic in nature. They actually will “spit” their venom from their fangs, which actually means they are contracting the muscles around the venom glands and forcing the venom out small holes in the fangs. They generally aim at their targets eyes. And they are usually pretty accurate to distances up to 6 feet, although they can spray their venom over 12 feet in some species!
    They can also deliver a perfectly venomous bite if they so desire, and the thinking is that they developed the spitting adaptation because most species live in areas where they may be trampled by the hooves of herding animals such as antelope.
    So if you venture to Africa, or some parts of Asia to visit, watch wear you step and keep your sunglasses on. Even at night- that makes you cooler. Like ones of the Blues Brothers. :)

    Posted by Mikey
  4. Hey Ranger Greg!
    Thanks for the extra thoughts! I know a number of animals retain toxicity due to their diet such as Poison Dart Frogs and even sometimes Box Turtles (gotta love those mushrooms they eat!).

    Good to know of the snakes – I tried to do a little research but couldn’t come up with much, but do you think that Eastern Hognose snakes retain any toxicity since their diet is primarily toads? I know there is an ongoing debate about them being harmless or a very low level venomous, but what about the possibility of them being slightly poisonous due to retained toad toxin? Any ideas?

    Posted by Mikey
  5. Not sure about the hognose snake.
    If it is toxic, it probably doesn’t “know it.” After all, one of it’s main defense strategies is to roll over and play dead.
    The garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis) eats a very toxic newt (Taricha spp.), but I ‘m not even sure that it realizes its own toxicity.
    However the keelback snake of SE Asia (R. tigrinus) is toxic and lets everyone know it! It has a bright yellow throat which it displays when threatened by a predator (http://www.pnas.org/content/104/7/2265.full) “Go ahead, take a bite. I dare ya!”

    Posted by Ranger Greg
  6. Love your post, but unfortunately you are still wrong. A snake soaked in warfarin and eaten for dinner is a poisonous snake.

    Posted by Tim
  7. Actually there are poisonous snakes. For the life if me I can’t remember what they are. And I do mean poisonous, as in eating one would be dangerous.

    Posted by Jim Jameson
  8. I should have read Ranger Greg’s post

    Posted by Jim Jameson
  9. Not True at all there is a small group of snakes called Keeled Backed snakes that actually have both venom and poison glands

    Posted by Charles Kendrick

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