The education team at Flamingo Land have a range of animals which they are able to use with school groups and the public. They provide an excellent opportunity for children (and adults) to learn about these animals and relate them to specific habitats and topics which they maybe learning about in school. The animals are small and friendly, but are kept off-show to allow them some privacy when they aren’t being used for sessions. We have recently had a new addition to the group, a California king snake. He still needs to be named, so we are deciding over a few possible ones to see which one suits him the best! He seems very lively and alert so we’re hoping he will be an exciting new addition to the collection. We will let him get used to the staff here first and then we will slowly start introducing him to small groups of visitors.
California king snakes are non-venomous and can grow up to about 4 feet in length. They are a fairly slender snake with bands around their bodies. There can be different colour variations of this species so each individual can look different. As they don’t have any venom they have to rely on constriction to kill their prey. They would eat a variety of vertebrates such as rodents, reptiles, birds and amphibians. The name ‘king’ specifies that they are able to eat other snakes too, including the venomous rattlesnake. If this snake becomes threatened it will try to mimic the rattlesnake’s rattle by shaking its tail in the vegetation. If the vegetation is dry then it can sound like a rattle noise. They can also excrete a musk smell as a defence mechanism. As their name suggests, they are found on the west coast of USA in habitats such as mountain ranges and deserts.
The other animals which we keep in our education department are Fred and Jasper the corn snakes, Ozzy the black Mexican king snake, Bernie the bearded dragon, Freddie the White’s tree frog, Talula the Chilean rose tarantula and giant African land snails. If you are visiting Flamingo Land and would like to meet some of these animals then come along to our Meet a Creature session which takes place daily at 2.30pm in the Education Centre. You will have the chance to see some of the animals up close and find out more about them. The California king snake is not currently being brought out but should be within the next few weeks once he has settled into his new home.