The Chinese New Year changes over from the year of the dragon to the year of the snake. Chinese people are like most who have very little affection for our slithering friends. Every New Year brings a new stuffed toy for Chinese children but this year the sale of the snake mascot is down. No one finds the snake as cute and cuddly as a dragon. The bible even references the snake as evil in the Garden of Eden, tempting Eve to take a bite of the apple.
Snakes are an important part of the ecosystem by ridding communities of rats, mice and other vermin. If you find a snake at your house don’t get rid of it or you may end up with a mouse in your house. At the Peoria Zoo we have several snakes from the largest Burmese python to the Emerald Green Tree Python. The Burmese python have become injurious to the Florida Everglades after being let loose by their owners to replicate in the wild, destroying the small animal population. Pet ownership of snakes can be a life long endeavor, as many species will live greater than 20 years. Reptiles require lots of warmth in the winter(85-90F) and a steady stream of rodents to survive. Snake ownership is not for everyone but an appreciation of their contribution to our ecosystem is important in 2013 the Year of the Snake.