Students Make Friends with Snakes

by Erin Anderson, editor

The Grade 6 science classes had an exciting morning this week, as the travelling snake program stopped by with two very tame snakes. The students have been studying reptiles, and the snake visit always brings out their curiosity and enthusiasm.

The things learned this week included the fact that snakes don’t eat things that are already dead (though they do kill their prey), that snakes have a “scoop” on their belly for each vertebrae in their spine, and that snakes have only one lung, because they don’t have room in their slender bodies for two! Along with the living specimens, the visiting snake expert brought along skin and skeletons of other snakes, as well as a full-scale replica of the longest snake on record. With snake populations losing large amounts of their habitat, she says, snakes in the wild don’t grow as large as they used to.

It’s always amazing to see students slowly overcoming their fears and reaching out to touch the snakes, feeling their scales and how their muscles contract to move them across a forest floor or along a branch. Almost every student managed to get their hands on the two cold-blooded creatures and gain an appreciation for the uniqueness of their form. It was an educational and exhilarating morning!

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