This past week we have flooded our Facebook and Instagram with photos and facts about snakes in honor of Snake Week. Let's talk a little bit about the different species and adaptations of snakes!
Babbage, our Creamsicle Corn Snake, is showing off one of the many adaptations that snakes have: smell! Snakes use their tongues to smell along with their nostrils. When a snake sticks out its tongue it picks up tiny chemical particles. When the snake brings its tongue back into its mouth, the tongue fits into a special organ on the roof of the mouth. This special organ is called the vomeronasal system. This system takes those tiny chemical particles and tells the snake what they are. This way the snake “smells” things like dirt, plants and other animals!
Lucy, our Red-Tailed Boa Constrictor, is an amazing and beautiful snake. Her species has different patterns on her upper body and tail, which is why they are called "Red-Tailed". Lucy is not venomous, and her species constricts their prey before they eat it. As you can see, Lucy's species also has split eye colors (light tan and brown) along with a slit eye instead of a circular pupil like other snakes. Lucy is about five and a half feet long, and she is the longest snake that we have here at the center!
Lovelace, our Red Rat Snake, is showing us another part of the normal snake life: shedding skin. Like other reptiles, snakes shed their skin all at once to continue growing. Since snakes do not have eyelids, this means they have to shed over their eyes! When snakes are shedding, they tend to hide because at this time they would be very vulnerable to predators. They lose most or all of their eyesight, so we tend to not take them out of their cages so that way we don't scare them. Once they shed, their scales are beautiful and bright instead of pale in the picture above.
Last, but not least, is this well kept snake skeleton. We've come across a lot of students who have thought that snakes don't have bones, because they are very flexible. Once we show them this skeleton, they understand that even though a snake can move around in weird ways, they still have bones keeping them together!
To learn more about snakes and to see the ones we have here at the center, stop by Monday-Friday at 2pm for our Creature Feature; our last Feature will be August 10th.