Some of the most memorable experiences we offer at The Brooklyn Children’s Museum involve adventures with our live animals. There are daily opportunities for kids to feel the scales of a snake, see a sea star extend its bright tubular feet, or let a delicate walking stick move across their outstretched hands. We’d like to introduce you to some of the animals that make teaching at the museum such a thrill.
Indigo, an albino corn snake, is native to North America. Corn snakes are found in the southeastern and central states. Their name comes from a propensity to hang around corn silos in search of small rodents, their favorite meal. Corn snakes are constrictors, meaning they kill or subdue their prey by squeezing before swallowing them whole in one big gulp.
Like all our snakes, they are gentle, non-venomous, and very unlikely to bite. My favorite part about teaching with corn snakes is that they love to move! This corn snake, Dots, loves to maneuver himself through my belt loop or key chain ring. When handling corn snakes, I’m much less likely to get the most commonly asked question: “Is that real?!”
Indigo’s beautiful “ghost morph” pattern and Dots’ “fluorescent orange” color comes from selective breeding, a deliberate mishmash of dominant and recessive pigment genes. The standard pattern of a corn snake is a beautiful blotchy brownish-orange that blends well into shaded forest leaf litter. Indigo’s light blue-grey color and Dots’ vibrant orange would have made it difficult to camouflage in the wild. They would probably have been eaten as young snakes by a predatory bird. We’re so glad they’re with us!
Since we celebrated haikus in our last post…
Indigo corn snake
shines silver blue, singular
morph of gentle air.