Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Our new project

David, Kevin, Kaitlyn, and Hailey all love animals. They have all been homeschooled from the start. They all learn through reading and hands-on activities. If you ask any of them what their favorite class is, they will say the field trips/hands-on activities. We can cover parts of speech at the zoo!

So, how does a single income family accomplish paying school taxes, purchasing a variety of curriculum, and field trips and outings? Well, it's not always easy. One way we wish to add more science classes and camps, is through a fundraiser.

Now, since we aren't typical homeschoolers, a typical fundraiser just would not do. And, it has to be something to learn from. When you stop learning, you stop living.
Our fundraiser is a class, AND.... well, sort of unconventional. We have purchased several corn snakes for breeding, selecting them by color, to sell hatchlings this summer.

This blog section will be devoted to some of the curriculum I'm writing up for them, pictures of the snakes (hopefully video of laying eggs or eggs hatching) and a record of the Corn Snake Project.

I can hear the "EWWWWW" crowd already. Here is some snake myths we have debunked so far. (wow, feel so X-files right now)

1. Snakes are misunderstood. They are not mean, horrible creatures waiting to attack you. Think about it, if something big comes at you, you will protect yourself. Well, that's all snakes do when they strike. They are protecting themselves. Except for the venomous ones, most are pretty docile, and learn to be handled with little effort.

2.Snakes are slimy. Snakes have scales, different types. Our corn snakes, found here in North America, have very smooth scales. Some vipers, such as the Gaboon Viper, appear velvety, but have almost prickly scales. Our Kenyan Sand Boa, has a rougher scale, allowing him to easily burrow in sand. If you see a very shiny snake, he has probably just shed. A snake "in the blue" will have blueish eyes and look rather dull and gray. This guy is about to shed. His vision is obscured, and he may strike as a defense, as he is partially blind and vulnerable.

3. Snakes are dangerous. Venomous snakes can be dangerous. Exotic snakes, growing to excessive lengths, can be dangerous. Your iron can be dangerous. You must carefully research ANY pet you are getting and plan for its growth. IF you cannot keep up with licenses, and provide a proper habitat, then yes, exotic snakes can be a dangerous pet for you. We have opted for smaller snakes that pose no dangers. Corn Snakes grow, in captivity, 3-5' in length. Our Kenyan Sand Boa may reach 15". (yep, that's right 15 inches!!) Remember, you car can be dangerous. Your kitchen knives can be dangerous. You must care for your possessions, including pets.

4. Snakes eat live animals and that is gross!
Ok, snakes eat mice, rats and other "varmits" in the wild. However, it is not recommended you feed captive snakes live mice. Mice, being the prey, will fight back, and can injure your snake. It is much easier to purchase frozen feeders (little bags of frozen mice or rats), thaw them and feed your snake using tongs. Our Corn Snakes are COLUBRIDS : any of a large cosmopolitan family (Colubridae) of chiefly nonvenomous snakes. They are constrictors, meaning constrict their food. Much to our joy, some of our snakes will even go through the motions of constricting the thawed feeders! Especially the Sand Boa!

5. Snakes carry salmonella. ALL reptiles and amphibians CAN carry salmonella. Usually, reptiles and amphibians in captivity will not carry salmonella, as long as their habitats are properly cleaned. Those in the wild are a bit more questionable. If you are going to handle any reptiles or amphibians, it is wise to wash your hands BEFORE and AFTER handling them. (Note: frogs breathe through their skin, take caution using any products and handling frogs - you may accidentally poison them.)

6. Snakes aren't good pets. Snakes are great pets, especially for someone wanting an easy pet. They are fed once a week max. (unless you have new hatchlings or are preparing to breed). You clean poo from their cage once a week. Check or change their water daily. If you have set up a decorated habitat, the rest of the time, you can just enjoy watching them.

We, me or the one of the kids, will update this page as our snake project continues. We will add pictures of the snakes, links to videos of snakes how we built our incubators and habitats. Once we have the hatchlings, we will include information on how to purchase one.


  1. What a great project/fund raiser!! (I read your post on G-HAH.) I love snakes and my sister had a pet python when we were kids. We also would find ring-necked snakes, too. So cute!

    I hope you all have a wonderful time of learning... and raising money!

  2. I am not sure if it will be too late for you but are you familiar with the Austin Children's Business Fair? We participated last year and it was great. It is put on by Acton Business SChool and they let kids have booths there to sell various items. It is an annual event and is usually in October. You may to google it and email the director to see if live animals would be an option for sales.
    Anne, annemj421@hotmail.com