Frequently Asked Questions
Do you have any venomous or poisonous animals?
No, we do not. We prefer to educate with animals that the public can interact with, giving our participants a different experience than just a stage show or zoo exhibit. We are also ethically opposed to the creation of venomoid animals, and will not consider adding them to our repertoire.
Are participants allowed to touch or hold the animals?
Absolutely! We love to give people of all ages the opportunity to touch or hold a snake for the first time in their lives. Touching is permitted during presentations; we allow one-on-one experiences with holding animals after the presentation is over. We encourage photo ops during these experiences, so bring your cameras!
Do the animals bite?
Any animal can bite, as long as it has a mouth. We choose animals that we know have good temperaments, and our educators are very familiar with the body language of each animal so they can observe subtle changes in mood in the very rare event that an animal is no longer comfortable. Comfortable, secure animals are very unlikely to bite; bites occur when an animal is fearful.
Where do you get your animals?
They come from all kinds of places and situations! Some were rehomed from families that no longer had time for their reptiles. Others were rescued from negative situations. A few were purchased from breeders or stores. Wherever possible, we prefer to adopt an animal that is no longer wanted by its family than to purchase one from a store.
What do the animals eat?
Some are omnivores, some are carnivores. We don't currently have any herbivorous animals. Our kitchen prepares a variety of dishes for the creatures, including freshly thawed mice (we do not feed live rodents), live earthworms, live gut-loaded crickets, salads with greens fresh from our gardens, juicy Dubia roaches from our breeding colony, and chopped seafood.
Why don't you feed live rodents?
We feel it is in the best interest of the animals to feed pre-killed rodent prey. Prey animals can injure or even kill the reptiles, and who can blame them? They're just trying to not get eaten! We've seen far too many scars inflicted on snakes by rats and mice, so we're taking the safer route. All of our rodent eaters have no trouble taking pre-killed prey, even those adoptees who were raised on live foods by previous owners! For more information on feeding live prey animals, here are some experiences from zookeepers and reptile veterinarians (warning: contains graphic photos of injured and/or dead snakes).
Do reptiles make good pets?
We think that some reptiles can make good pets, and some do not. It's very important to research an animal before bringing it into your home! Many reptiles require special lighting and/or exposure to natural unfiltered (as in, not through glass) sunlight, or they will have long-term health problems. Some become large and dangerous as they reach adulthood. Others may require very specialized foods, or a great deal of cleaning.
Do the animals have names?
Every Reptile Adventure animal has a name. We believe that giving them names is a sign of respect for the animal, indicating how important each individual is to us. Also, we think it's easier to relate to an animal that has a name. After all, who could be afraid of a snake named "Julian"? We feel this also illustrates our extraordinary bond with these animals and gives participants a continuity to look forward to in future shows.
Why is the legless lizard not a snake?
We'll cover this in the show, but if you can't stand to wait, here are the main things:
- Snakes have short tails in proportion to their overall length, while lizards have very long tails.
- Lizards can purposely lose their tails and regrow them as a defense mechanism; snakes cannot do this--their tails are permanently connected.
- Snakes do not have the ability to blink their eyes, while most legless lizards can blink (there are some leggy lizards that don't blink, such as geckos, and there are some kinds of legless geckos, called the flap footed lizards!).
- Snakes have ladder-like belly scales called scutes which help them to climb and crawl. Legless lizards do not have these scutes, and they aren't good climbers.
- Snakes have flexible jaws that stretch to fit prey. European legless lizards don't have this ability, so they have to eat things that will fit in their mouths (just like you!).
- Legless lizards have holes in the sides of their heads, like you do (your ears!). Snakes' ears are internal, with no holes on the outside.
There are other differences, but you can look those up on your own!
Are snakes deaf?
Not exactly. Outdated sources will say that they are, but we now know that snakes have internal ears that are well-developed. The sound is transferred to the ear through the jawbone, so if the snake is resting its chin on the ground, it can hear the footsteps and rustling of things moving around. Modern technology is actually using this principle for something called a Bone Anchored Hearing Aid, often used for people who were born without an outer ear. Science fiction writers thought of this years ago, of course, and cyberpunk novels often feature similar bone-anchored communication devices.
Do you have animals native to New York State?
We currently do not. Native animals require licensing from the DEC--and some may even require federal permits, depending on their status, so don't try this at home! We are well-versed in the native fish, reptiles, and amphibians, and we are always happy to answer questions about what you've seen out in the wilds of our beautiful state.