Snakes from across the plains have stolen the spotlight at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum (RSM) in Regina.
A new exhibit called ‘Snakes Alive’ opened on Friday to the delight of kids who were crowding around glass aquariums and lining up to stroke the reptiles.
“I like how they’re really long and they can do a lot of stuff,” said Veronica White, as she leaned in for a closer look at the hog-nosed snake in an aquarium.
She admits she has never seen a snake this close before, but she does think it’s pretty cool that all of the snakes at this museum are from Saskatchewan.
“They’re awesome,” said Ewan. “I like the rattlesnakes because when they, like, rattle their tails.”
His mom Sheri was also impressed with the new exhibit.
“I love it, it’s great, there’s quite a variety and just knowing that you can find them around in your backyard or when you go on a hike – it’s fantastic,” she said.
Raina’s hand shot up into the air as the museum experts asked questions about snakes. She has her own pet snake at home.
“They’re awesome because they’re so cute they’re just little long lizards I guess,” she said.
While some people might be scared of snakes, she is definitely not.
Whether you find snakes fascinating or freaky, Ray Poulin hopes people of all ages will learn to appreciate them. He is the curator of vertebrate zoology at the RSM and helped set up this exhibit to include all nine species of snakes that are found in Saskatchewan.
“We’ve got rattlesnakes and the three different species of garter snakes and also something called a northern red-bellied snake, which is kind of the size of a small pencil so it’s just a whole variety of them,” he said.
Poulin said they were very conscious of the fact that not everybody is open to getting up close to snakes, so they tried to set up the display to make it welcoming for everyone.
“I’m hoping for a bit of better understanding. Sometimes I think snakes get a little bit misunderstood – a bit of bad press and certainly Hollywood doesn’t do snakes any favours,” he commented. “Snakes are not maybe what people think they are. They’re just an animal right. They’re not chasing us, they’re not scary, and they’re not for the most part dangerous.”
He adds that people may be surprised to see how many different colours of snakes there are in the province. He said if people learn a little bit about snakes up close, then the museum has done a good job.