Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Who can resist an Oreo? (or...oh no, another snake post...)

Volunteering at Shawnee State Park in Southeastern Ohio
...I know, I know...another snake, but look at him! He's Oreo, a California Kingsnake, and he's beautiful. I think Oreo was requested more than any other snake at the nature center. All the kids loved him and wanted to hold him (and the parents too, even moms...). With California in his name, it's obvious Oreo is not native to Ohio, but you can find Black Kingsnakes in Ohio. If you go back to the first Shawnee post I did, you'll find photos of Mr. King, a native Black Kingsnake. Although super friendly and gentle with humans, we had to keep the kingsnakes away from the other snakes because kingsnakes love to eat other snakes, and no snake seemed to be too big for dinner. I'll have to check with Jenny, but I think she said poor Pumpkin (the Corn Snake) had his whole head swallowed by Mr. King. Thank goodness someone was there to pull Pumpkin's head out! Kingsnakes will even eat venomous snakes. Apparently, Kingsnakes are immune to venom from Ohio's three native poisonous snakes (Timber Rattler, Northern Copperhead, and Eastern Massasauga).

Matthew Riccetti at the Shawnee State Park Nature Center
It's easy to see how Oreo got his name...


...although he could have been named after a cookie simply because he's so sweet!


...the kingsnake's scales are beautiful. I learned in an art history course I took eons ago that early artists mimicked snake scales and patterns in their art and the designs may have lead to the development of mosaics. I can certainly see the connection here!

Matthew Riccetti at the Shawnee State Park Nature Center
Matty shows a small child how to hold a snake using open hands.

Matthew Riccetti at the Shawnee State Park Nature Center

Matty learned an open-handed technique was a great way to get hesitant kids accustomed to the larger snakes. The kids were less fearful with open hands and soon grew to love the snakes. If you have children who love snakes (or are afraid of them), go to Shawnee and visit with Jenny at the nature center. Kids really respond to her. I saw so many timid children overcome their fears and learn to appreciate another part of nature after visiting with Jenny and all the critters at the nature center.

Matthew Riccetti at the Shawnee State Park Nature Center

...Oreo hangs down from Matty's neck as he talks to one of the visitors.

Matthew Riccetti at the Shawnee State Park Nature Center
...Oreo rests around Matty's neck, peeping out from behind.


...see you later, Oreo! We miss you...

28 comments:

Louise said...

He is gorgeous! And, I loved your comment about how mosaics developed for the patterns of snake scales. I'll never look at them the same way again.

Out on the prairie said...

Neat snake, I wonder if any tongues tasted him just to see if it tasted like an Oreo.

Chris said...

Wow probably a gorgeous experience that I will never be able to live ;-) Not only kids are afraid of snakes... i agree it is a cute one, but still a snake ;-)

Kathy A. Johnson said...

He's a beauty and so aptly named. I've enjoyed your snake posts a lot. It's always fun to learn more.

Roy said...

That's one gorgeous snake!

Looks like Matty is really enjoying himself.

Montanagirl said...

He is truly very beautiful, even though I'm not fond of snakes. His markings and coloring is gorgeous. Love that close up head shot.

Wanda..... said...

I completely agree with Montanagirl, she said exactly what I was going to...Oreo is beautiful, Kelly and Mattie has my admiration for letting Oreo rest on his neck.

Adrienne in Ohio said...

I have to say, Kelly, that I am really enjoying these snake introductions. Oreo is just beautiful!

Dave said...

Poor Chris is still afraid of snakes...
Oreo is definitely the coolest snake I've seen!

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Oreo is gorgeous.... Love those colors!!!! Glad you and Matty had such a good experience that week....

Hugs,
Betsy

Cherrie said...

That's not the kind of Oreos I like! lol I had a snake like this one get itto my house once. It scared me to death! The cat found it. I felt better when I found out it wasn't dangerous.

holdingmoments said...

What lovely markings on him. I can see how he got his name lol
Beautiful shots too Kelly

JKoenig said...

Boy, his face really does look like a mosaic. How beautifully created!

Hilke Breder said...

It's a gorgeous snake, particularly the head! I wonder whether snakes have individual personalities - the way you describe it, it sounds like it. I only see garter snakes around our house. Once I pulled a toad out of snake's mouth when the toad cried so piteously. You are not supposed to interfere with nature, but I couldn't help it.

Robin Robinson said...

Personally, I love how snakes look and really groove on this photo series. Fascinating! You captured terrific detail. I wear a snake skin on the band of my gardening hat (along with assorted freathers) which I found shed in a stone wall. I have to turn away when I'm with my herpetophobe friends! Nice work, Kelly

Appalachian Lady said...

Beautiful snake--wish I could spot one around here. But, I admit I am scared to hold them. Lovely photos.

Johnny Nutcase said...

beautiful, beautiful! I love snakes, this friend is no exception - great shots!

Pam Johnson Brickell said...

Such a handsome fellow!

Gaina said...

Oh my goodness, he's got to be the most beautiful snake I've ever seen :D. And named after my favourite cookies, what more could I ask? :)

HBFG said...

Oreo is beautiful!

Steve Willson said...

You can never have too many snake pictures.

Garden Lily said...

What a gorgeous snake!

NCmountainwoman said...

Definitely a beautiful snake. Much more attractive than the Eastern King Snake we find around here. Ours don't have as much white on them as Oreo.

You guys are doing a great service by teaching kids (and parents) about the value of snakes.

Jayne said...

I love seeing all these posts Kelly. It's probably how I feel about posting "one more butterfly" lately, but I can't help myself! :c)

The more kids are exposed to beautiful creatures like this, the more they are respected and preserved. I just think it's the coolest thing ever that you and Matty got to have this experience!

Elettra said...

wow!!!!!!!!!!!!!Post very very interesting with great picture

Kelly said...

...could you imagine stumbling across this beauty in the wild. Everyone out west where this guy roams free is so lucky. These snakes definitely seemed to have personalities and the children seemed to tune into them.

Mary said...

I think I could resist that one...it looks big! But the photos are beautiful!

Anna said...

Kelly another great collection, and no thanks to oreo. I like looking at the snakes, but playing with them, nahhh not this time lol. Anna :)