Jon Wirsing was kind enough to share a couple of baby rat snakes the didn’t want around his house (and his wife Karen was even kinder to deliver them). For some reason we rarely run into snakes despite quite a bit of time in the woods. I think we’re just too loud.
The kids were clearly incredibly excited. Two snakes and four kids led to some sharing issues which are always interesting when live animals are concerned. Five or six frogs (escapes required new captures) helped fill in as did a grasshopper and a roly-poly.1
I believe these kinds of experiences are invaluable. Because of my role, many people who don’t know me that well assume that I find technology a seamless substitute for virtually anything. I’m pretty sure they picture me in a basement somewhere avoiding physical contact with things.
I can give these experience to my own children. I can take the risk or make the extra effort. There is no doubt in my mind these moments will stay with them creating memories that will be built upon and which will result in more learning and more interest in the world around them.
We talked about poisonous and non-poisonous snakes and how the shape of the pupil was a very good way to help tell the difference between the two.2 There was serious consideration given to the snakes’ body temperature.