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Daily Classroom Special
Critter Corner: The Buzz: Volume 3 Issue 1 

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

Corn Snake

Dear Ms. Jones,

About 5 years ago I bought a corn snake; it was only 18 inches long at the time I bought it and I put it in its cage without a snaptight lid on the cage. All I had on top of the cage was a screen from a window and some video tapes holding the screen down. Three hours later I went to go feed it and it was gone and I have been finding snake skin in the house still so I know it's in the house. I want to know how I can catch it and keep it as a pet. Can you tell me what I need to do to catch it?? Thank you

Dear Brandon,

Isn't it amazing that your corn snake has stayed around your house for so long! When my snakes escape, 99% of the time I find them in my classroom, but well before five years have passed! I don't have any magic suggestions for you, but here are a couple of things that have helped me. When I find my escaped snakes, they are usually around a rodent cage that I keep in my classroom. You might try keeping a couple of mice in a cage and place the cage in the area where you have seen the sheddings. Then, you should keep the area quiet and check it frequently. When you see the snake, be sure to put a towel over it before you pick it up. Now that it is used to being free, it may try to bite you as you pick it up. It would not be a serious bite, of course, but still something you might want to avoid. Sometimes, I leave the lid off the mouse cage (making sure the cage is tall enough so that the mouse can't get out) and then the snake will actually get into the cage. However, you have to check often, because obviously the snake can get back out again, too. Patience is a key. Good luck to you. Let me know if your snake ever reappears!

Judy Jones

Snakes I am trying to identify a snake that I found in my yard actually I have seen a few of them. so far they have all been small in size. They are orange in color even on the underside. There is no specific markings that I could tell . My son believes that it is some kind of tree snake I live in awooded area in Pennsylvania if that is of any help. Any help you could give me would be appreciated thank you. Christy

Dear Christy,

I am intrigued by the snake that you described and apologize for being slow to answer you. You say that the snake is totally orange and very small. I know that there is a rather flesh colored snake in North Carolina that is called a "worm snake." It is also very small - the size of a very large earthworm. But your description sounds too orange to be a worm snake. I will try to find the snake in one of my field books at school and get back to you. Meanwhile, you could browse in book stores. Field guides will probably reveal the answer! It definitely does NOT sound dangerous.

Good luck,
Judy Jones

Ball Python Dear Judy, I enjoyed reading your article on ball pythons. I recently acquired a ball python for my daughter and my in-home daycare. My daycare kids young, but I would be interested in any ideas you might have to use the python as a learning tool. The average age of my kids is two.

I also have a fear that the python could strangle the children. I cannot find any information that indicates this as possible. Have you ever heard of such an incident with ball pythons?


Dear Melissa,

How nice to hear from you. Ball pythons are wonderful snakes - particularly for preschool students. The snakes are really quite docile and dependable. I would be extremely surprised if a ball python tried to squeeze a toddler - given that the snakes do not get very big. But since snakes can never be actually tamed, I would always supervise the handling of any snake - both for the sake of the child and the sake of the snake!! However, I think you can relax. Helping young children become comfortable with reptiles so that they don't develop ridiculous fears is probably the best use of the snake. Being able to feel the cool dry skin and see the tongue sensing all the molecules in the air, are wonderful sensations and observations for young children.

Good luck and please send more questions if you have them.

Judy Jones


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