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Daily Classroom Special
Critter Corner: The Buzz: Past Issues: Volume 2, Issue 5  

About this Daily Classroom Special
Critter Corner allows teachers and students to learn and share experiences about organisms that can be kept in the classroom. Critter Corner is maintained by Judith Jones, teacher at East Chapel Hill High School (NC) and Teachers Network web mentor. E-mail Judith. Make sure to visit Judy's other Daily Classroom Special, The Time Travel Interviews with Famous Scientists

The Buzz  


Past Issues

Questions, Comments, Suggestions

The Buzzzzzzzzzzz
Catch the Buzz
You have questions

Judy has answers

Tarantulas and Snakes

Subject: Rosy the Tarantula
From: Bill

Hello Judith,

I have a Puerto Rican Tiger Rump Tarantula, Tiger, and a South American Rosy Tarantula, Harriet. I got Harriet when she was an adult, but Tiger when he was just hatched. It was pretty neat watching him grow up, he will be two years old this Christmas. He molted every month for a while then three months then a year. I'm surprised he hasn't molted this fall yet. Last year they both molted the very same day even though Harriet molts every two years now. Thats all the critters I have right now. These are really nice pets but most people see them as bugs that should be squished, I'm trying to educate as many people as possible that they are pets just like dogs or cats, well okay not exactly the same but still cool pets. ;-) I've been thinking about a cat but I'm afraid it might try to play with the spiders and get hurt. When I was a kid our cat knocked the bird cage down and broke it trying to get them. Harriet and Tiger say hi. Talk to you later.


Dear Bill,

I don't think I have even seen a picture of the Puerto Rican Tiger Rump Tarantula. Its name makes it sound beautiful. Spiders do grow more rapidly when young and therefore molt more frequently. My Rosy molts about once each year. I have found that the more faithfully I feed my tarantulas, the more frequently they molt. I agree that they make most interesting "pets." A success story for me is that my daughter, while growing up, seemed to fear spiders a lot. She would squeal and ask someone to come kill it. I always removed the spider to the outdoors and tried to explain that only a very few are really dangerous. The other day, she called me from her home. (She is now 23 years old.) She had encountered a "beautiful large black spider with yellow markings all over" and wondered if it was safe. I assured her that it was most likely an orb weaver and a delight to watch. She was excited that it was near her door and she could observe it over the next few weeks! YES! We can change people - especially young ones!

Good luck,
Judy Jones

P.S. I have had my tarantula at home in a secure cage with my four cats!!

Subject: Corn snake Size
From: Cheri

I have a question about my cornsnake that I hope you can help me answer. I am new at owning cornsnakes, so I have a few questions now and then. I just recently bought a beautiful cornsnake that I named Louie. My question: At about what age will Louie be full-grown? I would appreciate any comments or answers on this subject. Thank you for your time. I will be anxiously checking my e-mail!!

Thanks Again,

Dear Cheri,

What a beautiful and lovely snake to own. Sometimes people "power feed" their snakes and the reptiles will reach sexual maturity in eight months. Normally, sexual maturity occurs at two to three years although the snake will probably increase in length and girth for a few years after that. Snakes will very slowly grow their entire lifetimes (hence, they continue to shed their skins), but the most rapid growth is while they are young. Hope this helps.

Judy Jones

Subject: Cornsnake feeding
From: Jessica K.

My corn snake threw up it's two pinkies I fed him. Is something wrong?

Jessica K.

Dear Jessica,

It is really not unusual for a snake to "throw up" its dinner once in a while; many of my snakes have done it. I would wait a few days, make sure the snake has plenty of fresh water, and feed just one mouse at the next feeding. My snakes have "thrown up" sometimes when I over feed them or when they are too cold and can't digest their dinner efficiently.

Let me know how your efforts go!

Judy Jones

Subject: Snakes
From: Stephen F.


My name is Stephen, and I am a 15 year old for Vancouver,B.C. Canada. I am fairly new to snakes as pets, but for the past two years I have been interested in purchasing one.

I have read a variety of different books about different breeds, needs, ect., and believe that I am up for the challenge and fun of owning a snake.

Although, I would like some information on what snake you would recommend for a beginner. I thought that possibly a boa would be a good snake, but I know how big they get! At the top of my list is a corn snake, but read that they cannot be trusted as much as say a kingsnake, and can be picky about food. What would you recommend?

Thank you for taking the time to read my message, and for responding if you have time.

Thanx again,


Dear Steve,

How nice to hear from you!! I think either of the snakes you have mentioned would make terrific reptiles to keep. The corn snakes I have eat very quickly! I have never had any trouble with feeding them. I do keep a heater under part of the aquarium. When snakes get too cold they will be reluctant eaters.

The corn snake is a wonderful first snake because it does not get too large and is extremely easy to handle. My corn snakes have all been very friendly and quite unlikely to bite.

The boa is generally a very mellow snake but there is more variability in their temperaments. Sometimes you can get a rather "snappish" boa. I have one right now - quite pretty but not one that I trust with my students. My other boa is an easy to handle, trustworthy snake. If you handle your boa frequently, it will be more likely to keep a pleasant disposition. You can be very careful in selecting it, as they can get rather large and do need a roomy enclosure!

Good luck. Let me know what you decide.

Judy Jones


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