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The Royal Chamberlain - His Excellency, Grande Duque de Las Escales, Kea, The Okeetee Corn Snake

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    Kea is an Okeetee Corn Snake (Elaphe guttata guttata). He was bred by Tulsa Zoo's Curator of Reptiles, Linda Putnam. He was hatched on 27 June 2002. He came home with Gloria, from Tulsa, Oklahoma on the 21st of December, the Winter Solstice. What a wonderful, magickal Yule gift!
     Corn Snakes are non-venomous. While snakes make very good pets, venomous snakes are too dangerous for almost anyone except the very experienced people who work at zoos to handle. There are a great variety of non-venomous snakes who are beautiful and pretty easy to keep, from the relatively small Corn Snakes to enormous boas and pythons.
     Never take a wild snake out of its environment. There are two important reasons for this. The first reason is that snakes are essential to the ecology. They eat a lot of bugs and mice and other pests which destroy gardens and can get inside the house. Secondly, they may already be infected with diseases which can be very hard to cure.
     If you are interested in having a snake for a pet, call your local zoo and speak to the reptile (also called the herpetology) department. They can almost always refer you to a reputable breeder who can help you find the perfect snake for you. Of course, always do as much research as you can before you get a snake so that you know what kind in which you are  most interested, and what requirements there are for keeping it. There are lots of books available in local libraries, and, of course, there is always the internet.
    Kea eats only pre-killed mice. There are two reasons to this. One is that it is far kinder to the mice, the other is that it is safer for the snake as well. A desperate mouse can badly hurt a snake, and who could blame it? Better, by far, for all concerned if the mice die under more humane circumstances.

This picture was taken in May 2003. Kea was almost 1 year old.

Kea as he is today

"Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen." 
- John Steinbeck 

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