Name that Boa Contest

We have some new scaley faces here at Reptiles Alive this summer.  The new arrivals will be in quarantine for a few months while we double check that they are healthy and ready to go to shows with us.

Our first new arrival is a baby albino boa constrictor we received from a reptile facility in Tennessee.  She is healthy, gorgeous and we named her Sunflower.  Sunflower is only about 15 inches long right now and weighs less than a pound.  She will grow to over 6 feet long and could weigh over 50 pounds.  She is an up and coming star.  You may begin to see her next fall.

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Sunflower the albino boa constrictor

Our next arrival is a 14 pound, 6 feet long albino burmese python – the same kind of snake as Sunshine.  We have decided to name this new python “Moonlight.”  Moonlight was rescued from a pet store that was not taking care of its animals.  The python is relatively healthy, despite the neglect, but it does have snake mites.  Snake mites are not contagious to humans, but they can spread to many different species of reptiles.  As soon as I received Moonlight, I soaked him for about 2 hours and picked off all the mites I found.  After his bath, Moonlight then recieved an massage in canola oil.  He is doing great and his skin will be oh so soft.

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Moonlight, the albino Burmese python

The third new arrival is a “normal” colored boa constrictor that was an unwanted pet.  This snake is very pretty and he seems healthy as well.  But, he needs a name.

We know for sure he is a he (he was breeding with a cage mate before we received him.)  Boa constrictors come from Mexico, Central and South America.  So, we are looking for show name that would be good for him.  If you can think of a good show name for our new boa – please let us know.  If we like your  idea, we will use the name you chose.

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Name this boa constrictor

Lesson Session – Sound Art

Sound Art

Inspire your students to create awesome art from sound.

Materialsroar

Animal sounds
markers
crayons
paper

First, play some animal sounds for your class. Many animal sounds can be found on the internet. Have a class discussion about the sounds. How does each sound make you feel? What do you think the animal is trying to say? How do you think the animal feels? Discuss what you think the sounds might look like if you could see them.

1. Write in big letters with a big marker a sound on a piece of paper. One for each student. Sounds might be ROAR, CHIRP, EEEEEEEP, SQUAAAAACK, SSSSSSSSSSS, etc. Be creative.

2. Have each student think about the sound and color or draw what they think the sound looks like on their paper.

Scientific Names for Elementary School Students

We had a great Question from Sujan at our After School Class last week.

“What is the name of the lizard we met in class?”

Well Sujan, the Sudan Plated Lizard has TWO names!

The lizard we met is named Gerrhosaurus major, or “Gary” for short.  Why such a long name?

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All animals, rocks, plants, even types of clouds are given a special name called their “scientific name.”  This helps scientists put things in groups with things that are all alike.

For example:

Tree frogs that have sticky feet may be put in one group while frogs that have webbed feet and live in the water are put into another group.

They are grouped by the type of feet they have.

You can have fun doing an experiment in your own house!

Think of different ways you can group things in your house.  Some ideas may be.  Arranging things by color, size, or what it’s made of.

Choose a way to group things, then write down the different categories of groups.

Say you chose to group things by color.  Your categories will be different colors; red, blue, green, yellow..etc.

Then walk around your house and put objects in your house in its correct category.  (Yellow things go in the “Yellow” category.)  Write it down.

For extra fun, do this experiment with other people in your house.  Have them choose a different way to group things.  Compare your lists at the end!

You will find things that may be hard to put in one group.  (maybe it’s blue & yellow)  You can only put it inone, that means you have to decide!

It is lots of fun to be a scientist that classifies things!  They are called Taxonomists.

Pet Reptiles for Christmas

Are reptile pets for Christmas a good or bad idea?  For most people, a pet reptile is probably not the greatest idea for a variety of reasons.

Two reasons not to get a pet reptile are:

1.  Reptiles require specialized care that changes with the species being kept.  For instance, green iguanas require huge (4′X4′X6′) enclosures that can be heated to 80-100 degrees F with high humidity, good ventilation, and full spectrum lighting.  Iguanas also need a specialized diet of calcium rich leafy greens and other vegetables fed to them every day.  A red-eared slider turtle will need a 75-150 gallon aquarium with clean water, a dry basking area, and full spectrum lighting.  Many people don’t think of the space and cost of housing a pet reptile until it is too late.

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2.  Reptiles will never become a companion like a dog or cat will.  Dogs and cats are part of the family.  They liked to be petted, played  with, and cuddled.  Even the friendliest reptile pet will not ever play with you, go for a walk with you, or want to cuddle with you.  Some reptiles will even become ill with stress if they are interacted with too frequently.  So many reptiles become unwanted simply because they are seen as objects that require time and money as opposed to loved members of the family.

More great information to consider before getting ANY pet at Christmas, or any other time, can be found atOrlando Sentinel – Pets as presents: Think long-term

So what to do if your child loves reptiles?

You have many options for budding herpetologists on your Christmas list.  There are some very cool reptile toys out there that I would have LOVED to get at Christmas.  Remote control cobras, anatomically correct rubber reptiles, plush and wooden reptiles and more can be found at many zoo gift stores, nature specialty stores, and science related stores.   Books featuring cold blooded critters are also a huge hit with reptile loving children.

Other exciting gift ideas include:

  • Zoo “adopt and animal” programs.  These programs offer people the chance to sponsor a zoo animal.  Most programs will send you pictures, updates, and natural history information about the animal you “adopted.”  You can also take your child to the zoo (always fun!) to visit his or her animal.
  • Give you child “coupons” for reptile-related family field trips.   Trips to the zoo, nature center, museum, aquarium or park where you can search for reptiles and amphibians in the wild can all be part of the coupon book.  Remember to take pictures of animals you see, but not to touch or bother wild animals. You can then add these experiences and pictures into your nature journal.
  • Subscriptions to reptile magazines and journals or a membership in a nature or reptile related club or society is a great gift for young herpetologists.  Most states and some local jurisdictions have herpetological societies that anyone can join.
  • A gift of a live reptile show performed for your child at a holiday party is a great way to give your child the opportunity to safely interact with live reptiles.  Most areas have at least one professional traveling animal show company, and if you are in the DC area, you should, of course, hire Reptiles Alive!

Merry Christmasssssssss and have a sssssssuper New Year!

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