Friday, August 10, 2007

Jake the Snake

This particular post is not for the squeamish. It features photos of a feasting snake, and may be upsetting to some folks.

Jake is my son's little Fox (aka Pine) snake. A friend from a local church had found two Garter as well as two Fox snakes in a fence post hole, and rescued them. They were newly hatched and, oh, so adorable! He was giving them away to anyone who wanted one, and releasing any unclaimed. I did my best to sway my hubby in favor of this sort of pet. He gave in to the majority, and we happily brought him to his new home!

Jake is now about a year old, and has grown a lot. He has shed his skin several times, and has nearly quadrupled in size. He now eats up to five pinkies (baby mice) weekly. I've bought Jake fuzzies, but have yet to feed him these larger frozen (but well thawed when offered) mice. My sister and I agree: We love snakes, but just don't like what they eat. We've had mice as pets, and have both rescued and fed baby mice milk with eyedroppers.

Up here in the Land of Curds and Whey (aka Wisconsin), Fox snakes are abundant. In some states, they are considered threatened which is largely due to habitat loss. Their homes are farmland, prairies and wooded areas.

Unfortunately, snakes are still feared and largely misunderstood.
Most snakes of the world are non-venomous and are actually valuable creatures that keep the rodent population under control. While I worked at Beaver Creek Reserve, a beautiful specimen was brought in during our staff meeting by two police officers. A concerned citizen spotted it on a playground and called it in. It had been rattling it's tail and a few people feared it was a Rattlesnake, even though one hadn't been spotted in the Eau Claire County area in a long time. (It would be a rare sighting.) Fox snakes will rattle their tails when frightened, and also may produce a musky smell from scent glands at the base of their tails.

Below are photos of Jake eating. It's taken me a while to actually
get my "nerve" up to watch him eat! --LKR

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