Sciensational Sssnakes!!




Frequently Asked Questions

Gilligan, a Common Musk Turtle (Photo: Simon Lunn)

Charlotte, a Western Hognose Snake

Booking and Rates

Do you give discounts?
Sometimes. We especially give discounts on our travel charges if other events can be co-ordinated with yours so that we have less driving to do! We may be able to offer discounts at some times of year, and to some groups if we are especially supportive of their activities. Please bear in mind that many of our customers are non-profit groups, and while we are not a registered non-profit group, we are actually much smaller and have less revenue than many such groups. So, simply being a non-profit group does not mean you will receive a discount.
Why do you charge for travel time? I don’t get paid to drive to work!
True, but you choose where to live and work, and hopefully you don’t have to spend too much time and gas on getting back and forth. Our programs are conducted throughout Ontario, so if we set one price for everyone, we’d end up punishing those who are close by and undercharging those who are far away. Our travel charges hopefully cover our gas and vehicle costs for getting to a show, but they don’t always!
What if I schedule my show for when you are already in town?
That is great! We always like to be more efficient and burn less gas. We would give you a 50% discount on the travel cost, as the travel cost would be split between your program and the other one. To see when we may be in your area, visit our Upcoming Events page.
Do you do shows on weekends? Weekdays? Evenings? In the summer?
We do programs year round on a fulltime basis. Evenings, weekends, holidays, etc. are fine — just let us know your preferences and we can most likely accommodate them!
You are already booked for the date that I wanted. Can you do more than one event at a time?
Usually we can accommodate two simultaneous bookings, and in peak periods such as summer weekends, sometimes we have three crews on the road at different locations. It depends upon the specific nature of the events, so please inquire.

Displays and Shows

How many animals do you bring to a show?
Typically 12-20 individuals of 8-10 species. Snakes are the main focus but we usually include a turtle and perhaps a lizard. If you have any particular requests, just let us know.
What types of animals do you bring?
A typical show features four to five native Ontario snake species, including both species at risk and species that are still numerous. We try to feature species found in the region of the show. One or two Ontario turtle species are usually included, as are two or three species of exotic snake — usually following the theme of appropriate pet choices (i.e. corn snakes, ball pythons) vs. inappropriate pet choices (i.e. Burmese pythons).
Can you do something a little different from the typical show?
Of course. Custom programs can be created upon request. We’ve done things such as “Everglades Night,” endangered species programs, corporate meet and greets, training workshops, and others.
Why don’t you bring lizards, more turtles, crocodilians, etc.?
Lizards have external ears and may be stressed by loud noises of crowds, children, etc. Due to the hands-on nature of our programs, snakes are much more suitable. We can bring lizards by special request, so please discuss your needs with us. Again due to our hands-on activities, turtles are not very suitable as they may transmit Salmonella bacteria. They are also far more likely to bite or scratch than the snakes! We can do turtle-focused programs by request. We do not work with crocodilians, as even the dwarf species can deliver powerful bites, and babies will eventually grow into adults. Crocodilians also require a great deal of space and resources, which we would prefer to devote to our main focus — native Ontario reptiles and amphibians.

Our Collection

How many snakes do you have?
Our working collection typically consists of approximately 80 snakes of about 25 species. We need to have enough to be able to rotate them through the programs. Sometimes we have baby snakes that can raise the number of individuals drastically in the short term.
Do you have other animals?
Yes, we also have turtles, including representatives of all of Ontario’s turtle species, and a few lizards and frogs. In total our collection includes nearly 150 specimens of about 50 species.
Do you have any cobras?
No. And we never will. Cobras are highly venomous snakes and in our opinion they should not be kept in captivity without a very good reason. We don’t have any good reason to work with them. In general, we don’t feel that venomous snakes are appropriate as “pets”. The only venomous snakes we work with are Massasauga Rattlesnakes, as they are the only venomous snake found in the wild in Ontario. We feel it is very important to educate the public about these threatened snakes.
Isn’t it illegal to have Ontario’s native animals in captivity?
Yes, except in very limited circumstances. Because Sciensational Sssnakes!! performs educational programs, which we hope will help protect and conserve Ontario’s wildlife, the Ministry of Natural Resources has granted us a permit to keep our native animals for educational use. This permit does not allow us to collect species from the wild, which we strongly discourage anyway.
How do you get your native animals?
The native species that we use are generally bred in captivity, either at authorized facilities here, or in the United States. A few are wild animals that for some reason are unable to be returned to the wild.

Wildlife and Pets

I have a painted turtle (or some other Ontario species) that I’m not supposed to have. What should I do?
If it was taken from the wild, it can be released only if it is in good health, has not been exposed to any other reptiles or amphibians, and it goes back to the same location it was originally taken from. If not, you should contact your local office of the Ministry of Natural Resources. Ask to speak with their wildlife in captivity person for further direction.
I can’t keep my iguana/large constrictor/crocodilian; would you take it?
No, except in limited circumstances. These animals require extensive facilities and resources to maintain properly, and we have limitations of both. In some cases we have been able to incorporate one of these animals into our collection or have been able to find a responsible home.
I can’t keep my corn snake/ball python/leopard gecko; would you take it?
Maybe. If we feel that an animal would be a useful addition to our collection, we will take it in for future use in our educational shows or displays. If we are unable to use it, we may also be able to find a good home for it.
Are rattlesnakes “venomous” or “poisonous”?
Poisonous animals have a substance that is dangerous to health. Venomous animals have a means of injecting such a substance into a victim. Therefore, the best way to describe rattlesnakes (and cobras, etc.) would be venomous.