The Chinese New Year has just arrived and last year’s magnificent dragon has flown away to make room for this year’s snake! This is a great time to visit the Dalton Discovery Center at Conservancy of Southwest Florida Nature Center and learn all about snakes and the other creatures that call southwest Florida their home. The Dalton Discovery Center is home to over 100 animals, including a live loggerhead sea turtle and a variety of snakes – an Eastern Indigo Snake, a Pine Snake and a Red Rat Snake.
Plus, every day on the Lutgert Commons Deck, guests can participate in the “Reptile Reverie” program to learn more about reptiles, including the native snakes of Florida, which ones are endangered and why they are so important to our environment. The program features a live snake or alligator!
No visit to Conservancy of Southwest Florida is complete without a visit to the Bradley Nature Store, where you can pick up reptile-inspired stuffed toys, games, books and other nature-friendly accessories. Conservancy members enjoy a ten percent discount on all purchases.
The new entrance to Conservancy of Southwest Florida Nature Center, Smith Preserve Way, is located just south of the Naples Zoo off Goodlette-Frank Road. The Conservancy Nature Center is open 9:30 AM – 4:30 PM, Monday – Saturday. Adult admission is $12.95. Admission for Children 12 and under is $8.95. Admission for Conservancy members and children under three years of age is free. More information is available at www.conservancy.org or at 239-262-0304.
Ten Fun Facts about Florida Snakes
- Collier County is home to 28 species of native snakes.
- While six venomous species of snakes exist in Florida, only four species exist in Collier County.
- Exotic (non-native) snakes exist in southwest Florida. Most are released as pets that have established breeding populations in the wild. They include, Brahminy blind snake (which has been spotted at the Conservancy Nature Center), Reticulated, Burmese and Ball Pythons and even Green Anacondas.
- Snakes do not have eyelids. Instead, their eyes are covered by a clear protective layer.
- Snakes shed their skin in order to grow and maintain healthy scales.
- Sight: Snakes have relatively good vision. Some snakes can see objects moving at 300 yards away. There are usually many objects in a snake’s way on the ground, so they cannot always rely on vision alone.
- Hearing: Snakes do not have external ears. However they can hear even though noises may be muffled. Snakes can pick up sound frequencies.
- Touch: Snakes have touch sensors located over entire body and can sense vibrations in the ground around them.
- Smell: A snake uses its flicking tongue to “smell.” The tongue collects particles of air and delivers them to the ‘Jacobson’s organ.’ This organ’s chemical-sensitive tissue (similar to the membranes in our nose) is connected to the brain by olfactory nerves.
- Heat: Pit vipers (venomous) have facial pit organs that are heat detectors used for finding warm-blooded prey.