Sciensational Sssnakes!!




About the Collection

Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake

Blanding’s Turtle

Sinaloan Milk Snake (Photo: Jonathan Crowe)

The emphasis of our captive collection is on species which are found in the wild in Ontario, since that is the main focus of our educational programs. Over the last few years, we have maintained the most complete representation of live Ontario herpetofauna in captivity in the province. Most of these animals originated in the United States and most are born in captivity. We strive to find specimens which have been produced in captivity. We generally disapprove of the removal of animals from the wild, though we do feel that it is justified in some cases for legitimate educational or research efforts. Examples of our Ontario species include the Eastern Fox Snake, Northern Water Snake, Eastern Hognose Snake, Wood Turtle, Spotted Turtle, Stinkpot Turtle and Grey Treefrog.

Another area of interest encompasses species which are found elsewhere in Canada, such as the Bullsnake and Western Hognose Snake.

We also maintain a substantial number of exotic species in our collection. Many of our programs include information about appropriate pet reptiles such as Corn Snakes, and inappropriate pets such as Burmese Pythons or Boa Constrictors. We have a fair number of exotic snake species to facilitate this, and to provide additional opportunities during the hands-on part of our programs. Our collection includes a few exotic lizards that are well suited to the type of programs that we do, such as the Blue-tongued Skink and Fat-tailed Geckos. Most lizards are not suitable for our programs, as they often have large claws and teeth. They tend to be more skittish than snakes, in part because, unlike snakes, lizards have external ears and can hear the noise generated by excited children! Other examples of our exotic species include the Everglades Rat Snake, tricoloured Milk Snakes, Ball Python, Brazilian Rainbow Boa, Sand Boa and Leopard Gecko.

We are often asked about the size of our collection. While it does fluctuate somewhat due to births, deaths and acquistions, we generally have approximately 80 working snakes at any given time. This allows us to rotate them so that they all get some time off! Turtles, lizards, and amphibians bring the total number of individual animals to over 100, representing about 30 species. It is a lot of work maintaining a collection of this size and scope!

We do not purchase animals for resale — we are not a pet shop, nor are we reptile dealers. We do not strive to breed specimens either, though this does happen naturally on occasion. If we have offspring that are beyond the needs of our programs, we do make them available to suitable homes or educational facilities, depending upon the species. We sometimes accept donations of unwanted pet reptiles if they are of a suitable nature for our programs. This is how some of current “employees” came to us!