Education snakes

Ball python, Python regius

  • Length and defense: 3 to 4 feet, the smallest of African pythons; defense against larger predators is to coil in a tight ball.
  • Habitat and range: Grasslands of West Africa, Sierra Leone, Togo and Senegal
  • Diet and hunting: Small mammals
  • Reproduction: The female coils around six to seven eggs for approximately three months, often nesting in an abandoned burrow.

Coastal rosy boa, Lichanura trivirgata roseofusca

  • Length and defense: 3 feet; like the python, it also may also roll into a ball as a defense.
  • Habitat and range: Rocky brush and deserts of Southern and Baja California
  • Diet and hunting: This nocturnal (active at night) and crepuscular (active at dawn and dusk) snake preys on small mammals and birds. A slow mover and good climber, it kills by constriction. No water source is needed; it survives on body water of prey.
  • Reproduction: The female bears five to 10 live young after eggs hatch internally.

Corn snake (or red rat snake), Elaphe guttata

  • Length and defense: 4 to 6 feet
  • Habitat and range: Southeastern United States from New Jersey south to Florida and west to Louisiana. They are primarily ground dwellers but can be semi-arboreal.
  • Diet and hunting: This crepuscular snake is an excellent climber that preys on lizards, small birds and rodents.
  • Reproduction: The female lays eggs in the spring and lays clutches of 12 or more about one month later.

Pacific gopher snake (or bull snake), Pituophis melanoleucus cantenifer

  • Length and defense: 3.9 to 6.8 feet, one of Oregon's larger snakes; It mimics rattlesnakes by rapidly vibrating its tail, rattling dry grass or leaves.
  • Habitat and range: Southern British Columbia to Mexico. Of the 10 U.S. subspecies, two occur in the Pacific Northwest; habitats vary; in the Northwest most common in semi-arid brush and near farms. Usually absent from dense forests and high mountains.
  • Diet and hunting: A constrictor, it generally hunts during the day. It climbs trees and bushes; prey includes bats, birds, lizards and small animals.
  • Reproduction: The female lays 12 to 14 eggs, often in abandoned mammal burrows. Hatchlings are 8 to 12 inches.

Taiwan beauty snake, Elaphe taeniurus

  • Length and defense: Up to 8 feet
  • Habitat and range: Forests, cultivated fields and near homes and grain storage in Assam, Burma, Laos, Southern China and Taiwan
  • Diet and hunting: This constrictor is an excellent, fast climber. It preys on birds, rats and mice. It's often kept in homes to control rodents.
  • Reproduction: Hatchlings average 12 to 16 inches long

Diet

The zoo's snakes are fed mice.

Status

All native reptiles suffer from habitat loss. Many species are protected; it is illegal to take them out of the wild for any reason or to collect them as pets.