by Cousin Anna (age 12)
Did you know you can tell if a snake is active during the day or night by the shape of its pupils?
If the snake’s pupils are slit-shaped like a cat’s, this means that the snake is active during the night. If a snake’s pupils are round like ours, this means that the snake is active during the day.
Did you know snakes do not have eyelids?
They have an eye cap that protects their eyes so that they don’t get stuff in them.
Did you know snakes don’t have ears?
They sense vibrations instead of hearing sounds.
Snakes are commonly thought to be slimy, slithery creatures. This is nowhere near the truth. A snake’s hide is dry and smooth. Snakes shed their skin every once in a while when they get too big for the old skin. You can tell that a snake is near the time it sheds its skin when its eye caps get cloudy. When a snake sheds its skin it sheds the eye caps as well.
Like frogs, snakes swallow their food whole. Snakes are carnivores. The snakes that live in Canada eat a variety of foods such as frogs, small rodents, insects, and sometimes small birds. They usually eat their prey alive.
Before you go outside to catch a snake, make sure you research the snakes in your area. If there are any poisonous snakes native to your area, make sure you know what they look like and never try to catch them. Make sure you always know what kind of snake you are catching so that you don’t accidentally catch a deadly snake instead of a harmless snake. Luckily I live in an area where there are only harmless snakes, so I have nothing to worry about.
Go out into the forest or to the pond in late spring, summer, or early fall and look for snakes. You can often find them sunning themselves on rocks or in patches of sunlight on the forest floor. To catch a snake, grab it around the middle of its body and behind its head. I do not hold the snake right behind its head because this allows no movement for the snake. Don’t squeeze or drop the snake. Be gentle. The snake might thrash around. Some snakes let out a smell called musk when they feel scared. This might happen to you when you catch a snake. Once the snake stops squirming you can let go of its head and just hold the snake gently around the middle of its body. Let the snake slither through your hands and wind around you. It might want to check you out too. Hold it for a few minutes and then let the snake go by setting it gently on the ground where you found it. Have fun with your snake catching!