Stripped. Banded. Spotted. Speckled. Yellow. Gray. Black. Green. They come in almost every pattern and every color of the rainbow. Small and large. These beautiful, elegant and some may say creepy creatures are snakes.
The Snakes Alive event featured the Serpentarium, one of the largest private collections of reptiles in the U.S., with hands on learning and lectures by the natural sciences department held on April 9 as a fundraiser for the Men’s Soccer Team as well as for the Alchemy Acres Animal Sanctuary.
“I am a zoo biology major, but I don’t get to see all the animals all the time,” senior Laura Fawks said. “I thought it was really good. They had everything out.”
The Serpentarium has over 170 different snakes including the rare Wetar Pythons. Malone has 11 of the only 15 Wetar Pythons in captivity in the world. Besides the snakes, there were also many other different reptiles including a Black Throat Monitor, which looked pre-historic with the head like that of a T-rex and massive claws.
Aviso AVW reporter Samantha Shaffer reports on the event.
Edited by Michael Garwood.
“The kids were really enjoying the hands on stuff because they could touch the snakes and really learn about them,” Fawks said.
Many of the zoo biology majors were holding the snakes, geckos and iguanas. The geckos felt like petting sandpaper while the snakes were incredible smooth to touch. The snakes wrapped themselves around the arms and legs of the zoo biology majors holding them. “They like to feel small and enclosed,” senior zoo biology major Julia Belden said.
Although snakes feel more secure enclosed, when they reach for something they can stretch out more than half of their bodies without falling.
“We love doing it,” Associate Professor of Biology Dr. Chris Carmichael said. “It gives our zoo biology majors an opportunity to work on public speaking.”
“Students at Malone knew their stuff and were learning how to talk to the public and interact with them,” Fawks said. “Because it’s not just about working with the animals but about working with the people.”
“My favorite part was when they pretended that a snake got loose during the flashlight tour,” junior psychology and health major Stacy Studer said.
A cage was left open with a snakeskin hanging out of it during the flashlight tour. The snakes’ scales shimmered under the light of the flashlights in the otherwise completely darkened room.
They also had the recently rescued snakes on display. “The rescued snakes are doing great,” Carmichael said. “A couple are still completely out of it. One is at the vet’s office. He was loose in the house and had to be pulled out of the wall [when they rescued him.] He had extensive surgery two months ago” and is still recovering.
They will be in quarantine for 180 days. “To me, they are healthy right now,” Carmichael said. “But sometimes it takes a long time for cold blooded animals to show problems.”
“It went great,” Carmichael said. “We definitely increased our numbers from last year.”
Corinne Abbiss is a contributing writer for The Aviso.