Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Poisonous and Nonpoisonous Snakes in Ohio and How to Tell the Difference

There are many species of snakes in Ohio. Roughly about 24 or so. Out of all these snakes, only three are considered poisonous. That would be the Northern Copperhead, the Eastern Massasauga, and the Timber Rattler.
Copperheads have bitten more people in the U.S. than any other snake. Luckily the amount of venom injected in a single bite is not enough to be fatal in a healthy adult. However it is extremely painful. You can easily find them in rocky, wooded hillsides. When encountered, they usually retreat, but if aroused, they can vibrate their tales and strike wildly.
The Eastern Massasauga is also called the Swamp rattler and Black snapper. It has been recorded in more than 20 Ohio counties. However, sightings are rare and this snake is designated STATE ENDANGERED. They are usually very sluggish and don't offer to bite unless thoroughly aroused. Their venom is highly toxic. However, it has small fangs and does not inject enough to be fatal.
Finally, the Timber Rattler is the most dangerous snake in Ohio because of its large size. They can reach lengths of 6 feet. Luckily, most Timber Rattlers are mild in disposition and simply try to crawl away when encountered. If aroused enough they will defend themselves. These snakes are also designated as STATE ENDANGERED.

Nonpoisonous snakes are far more numerous in Ohio. But many are often mistaken for their more toxic relatives. Of all these snakes, the Black Rat Snake is the one most commonly slaughtered. My snake, Sirrius Black, is a Black Rat Snake. I am taking out into the public this summer to show any one who will listen that he is harmless and very beneficial. His main diet is rodents. With him around, there will not be mice or rats chewing on your electric wires or putting holes in your walls. I hope you come out to meet him and my other snakes and see that they are truly amazing and beautiful creatures.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Jenny- A Second Look

This is Jenny's first time really being handled since I got her. She has been a little cranky, hissing and hiding her head. She has had to get used to a lot. Neecha
for example. Neecha is a noisy Rottweiler. I have been opening her enclosure every day and touching her lightly and talking softly to her. Mostly she buries her head in her coils and does her best
to look invisible.

Jon makes it look easy to handle her, but it wasn't at all. She is a lot of snake. You can see by the pictures that she is long(7'8") and bigger around than my hand. Once we got her out, she became very curious about her new surroundings and looked at everything.

As it turns out, she has a great disposition, though we handle her with great care. Certainly, I will not be getting her out alone. We finally obtained a rat big enough to make her a decent meal, and when she captured it, it was shocking, though impressive. She was lightning fast. In one second, she had the rat wrapped three times over. I learned a whole new respect for her just watching her catch and eat her dinner. I don't feed live, it may be nature's way,but in my home I am able to stop any needless suffering. I knock them out with CO2. Caring for her has been a learning experience . As long as she is handled responsibly she should make a fine ambassador for her kind this summer.

Friday, March 6, 2009

We will be at Thompson Park this summer!

Ya, it's cold right now, but spring is almost here, and summer isn't far behind. June 20 will be the first time I have my snakes out at Thompson Park for everyone to meet. I have 4. Buddy, a corn snake. Hermoine, a ball python. Sirrius Black, a black rat snake. And finally, Jenny, a red tail boa constrictor.

Please come out and meet them. I know that once you do, you will feel differently about snakes. Hermoine is such a nice snake. Meeting her alone should change your mind. She is short and stubby, but very sweet tempered and curious. She wants to see everything. Maybe once you meet these guys, you might think twice about running over a snake trying to cross the road. I have seen that happen a few times and I believe it is heartless. They do serve a vital and important role in nature. Without them, the world would be overrun with rats and mice for example. So, remember, June 20, 2009, at 4pm-Thompson Park- to meet me and my 4 snake friends so you can make them your friends, too.