Snakes make great pets... for some

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If snakes give you the heebie-jeebies, maybe you just haven't met the right one. Snakes actually make great pets.

The Chippewau Nature Center in Midland is home, sweet home for several species of snakes.

(michelle fournier/chip nature center)

Michelle Fournier says, "Part of our job here at Chippewau Nature Center is to provide positive snake experiences."

"Positive snake experiences" is not an expression a lot of people think they would ever use. Which is why the next job here at Chippewau is education.

"A lot of snake phobias come from being young and having a negative experience," Michelle says, " Often those fears are also transferred from moms and dads to kids. So it's really exciting to get the whole families here for our live snake programs."

It's one thing to look at snakes in a controlled environment- or through a glass case; but what kind of pets do they make?

"Not exactly cuddly," Michelle says, "You know, personality wise, it's way different than a cat or dog. They do live in aquariums, so they are not roaming in your house. "

Popcorn is an albino butter corn snake. Corn snakes are more common choices for pets.

"This snake was born in captivity. He was a rescue from one of our staff members. And he's since become a pet at our nature preschool," Michelle says.

If you are considering a snake, one thing you should absolutely keep in mind- even with a sweet guy like popcorn- there is a true "circle of life" experience at feeding time.

"There is no such thing as a vegetarian snake," Michelle cautions, "They all eat live animals. So, whether that be freshly killed mice and rodents- such as rats- or live ones."

Again, snakes make great pets, but not for everyone.

That's why Michelle offers up an important suggestion, "If someone's considering a snake as a pet, a lot of research should be done about what species they're interested in, how big the animal gets, what kind of cage requirements do they need."

If you rent your home, you might also want to make sure snakes are allowed, because a pet snake will most likely be a very long-term roommate.

"Some snake species live quite long. Popcorn here could live to be 15 years old. If you're looking at ball pythons that might live 20 to 30 years, so make sure that you're committed to the lifespan of that animal," Michelle says.

If you are curious about snakes but maybe you don't think they'd be the right pet for you. You can always come check them out at the Chippewau Nature Center. If you're lucky, you may even get to meet my buddy, Popcorn."

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