Snakes Alive! at Ernie Miller Nature Center

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On Wednesday we attended the Snakes Alive! program at Ernie Miller Nature Center. Our interpreter, Amber, did a great job of introducing several different kinds of snakes (and a snake cousin), talking about their various characteristics, and dispelling some common myths about snakes.

During the program, the kids felt a snakeskin and learned that a snake’s scales are made out of the same material as human fingernails. We learned about certain kinds of venomous snakes, and how some non-venomous snakes use mimicry to avoid being eaten by predators. Miss Amber taught the kids a simple rhyme to remember which striped snakes are venomous and which are not (“Red touches yellow can kill a fellow. Red touches black is friend to Jack.”) We also viewed a snake skeleton to see all their vertebrae, and a snake’s skull with fangs still attached.

After the program, we had the privilege of visiting the new exhibit – Our Changing Landscape – that is opening later this year at Ernie Miller. It is shaping up to be an excellent addition to the nature center!

Here is what we saw at the program:

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Miss Amber introducing a speckled king snake

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Close-up of the speckled king snake

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Feeling and learning about snakeskin

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Mexican milk snake (non-venomous snake that mimics the coral snake)

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Gopher snake

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A snake skeleton

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A venomous copperhead behind glass

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A Western glass lizard (legless lizard), cousin to the snake but not actually a snake
It is called a glass lizard because the tail can break off and continue moving to hopefully convince the predator to eat it instead of the main body. The tail can grow to be 1/2 to 2/3 of the total length of the body. Once the tail breaks off it will grow back eventually, but its new tail will never be as long as its original tail.

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The newest exhibit at Ernie Miller Nature Center

Many thanks to Miss Amber and to Ernie Miller Nature Center for a great program!

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