A Fun-Loving Guide to the Natural World for Kids and Adults

Ambassador Snakes, Taraj and Katai

People often think we’re a little odd when they find out we have snakes as pets.  And despite the fact that we both love snakes, it took us a while to make our decision.  You see, snakes are one of those animals that don’t really domesticate.  Sure, they get used to being handled, but snakes will readily re-adapt to the wild if they’re released into the right ecosystem.  And it felt strange to us to consider keeping such ‘wild’ creatures as pets.

We finally decided that we’d go ahead and bring snakes into our lives, but that we’d hold ourselves to a condition.  The snakes wouldn’t be pets so much as ambassadors.  As soon as Taraj and Katai (who were brothers and came to us when they were the size of pencils) were grown to an impressive-enough length, we began taking them to schools, libraries, nature presentations, and community events, where they swiftly became stars.  Corn snakes are so beautiful that few people can resist coming up to meet them, even if they’re afraid of snakes.  For hundreds of people, Taraj and Katai have been the first snake they’ve touched, and by the end of the presentation, many people end up having their pictures taken with one of these two brothers draped around their necks!

During the summer, we bring all of our snakes out to bask in the sun and experience some quality outdoor time.  While some of our other snakes are terrestrial, Taraj and Katai have arboreal tendencies, and love to climb.

It may be an unfair trade-off.  They live lives of captivity, only getting to go outside once in a while.  But they’ve made a difference for lots of people, and made a difference for lots of snakes, since many of the people leave the snake presentations with a new respect and curiosity for these wondrous creatures.  We hope that Taraj and Katai get to touch many more people’s lives in the coming years!

8 Responses to “Ambassador Snakes, Taraj and Katai”

  1. Those snakes are some kind of BEAUTIFUL! Do they live in upstate New York? Thanks for being ambassadors for snakes. So many people hate them and hurt them without thinking.

  2. I can’t think of two better people to care for these ambassadors to the natural world!

  3. I have to admit that although I believe in live and let live, like many people I’m a bit creeped out by big snakes. I recognize that they are beautiful, important members of ecosystems, however and am disturbed by the persecution so often suffered by totally harmless snakes. Bravo to you for sharing your knowledge and expertise with others and helping to promote understanding of these neat animals.

  4. Hello Jackie,

    You’re absolutely right that people often hold some ill feelings toward snakes. We feel really lucky to be able to introduce people to some really friendly ones =)
    These corn snakes are a southern species, very common in Florida and ranging upward from there — we’ve heard of them found in New Jersey, though! You have the black rat snake in New York, which is closely related (though not at all similar in appearance), and the Eastern Milk Snake, which isn’t so closely related, but looks VERY similar to the Corn Snake!

  5. Thanks Ted, we feel lucky to have the privilege!

  6. Hi barefootheart!

    We understand how they can be a little ‘creepy’. We feel the same way about tarantulas! Fascinated, but a little intimidated =) That’s been one of the most rewarding parts about bringing these two to presentations — taking the time for people who are a bit tentative to have their ‘first touch’ of a snake (often they’ll begin with the tip of the tail). We like to give people as much time as they need, and sometimes people will actually be crying when they first touch the snake’s scales. It’s quite beautiful to behold!

  7. I love this post. Your snakes are lovely. I too have a couple of snakes as “pets”. One is a young corn snake, we affectionately names Corny, and a large California King Snake, that is the most wonderful shade of chocolate brown and yellow….named Brownie of course. I use them all the time for programs for children. The kids love them and are naturally drawn to them. One of the greatest feelings to watch the transformation from fear to respect.

  8. Hello MObugs41!

    Thank you so much for helping to spread the word about snakes — we wish we could meet your California King snake! Sounds so beautiful =) It truly is amazing to watch people’s curiosity get the better of their fear.

Leave a Reply