"Now he doesn’t have any arms or legs; you cannot see his ears. And while we are not looking he’s stealing all of our beer. And then Sneaky Snake goes dancing ..."
– “Sneaky Snake,” by Tom T. Hall
Part of the mission of the Great Bend Brit Spaugh Zoo is to provide education, and when it comes to snakes there are a lot of misconceptions. When singer Tom T. Hall wrote that no one could see Sneaky Snake’s ears, he was probably just being funny. The truth is, snakes don’t have ears.
This and more can be learned at the zoo’s Reptile House, a shaded spot that only about half of the visitors really care to see, according to Zoo Director Scott Gregory. But those who do step into the shelter may want to turn around; it’s OK, the snakes are behind glass and can’t hurt you. On the wall is an educational display of snake facts and fiction.
While it’s true that snakes don’t have ears and their vision isn’t that great, they can hear very well. As the display explains, “Special scales along the snake’s body help it to feel/hear vibrations along the ground. A snake can feel you coming from miles away.”
Some snake species do have a sixth sense: The ability to detect heat signals. Specialized pits in their heads allow them to pick up heat signals put out by prey.
The exhibit reminds us that ophidiophobia is the abnormal, overwhelming fear of snakes. However, there is also this encouraging quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Always do what you are afraid to do.”
Speaking of fear, this year’s Zoo Boo will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 25. Admission is free, just as regular admission to the zoo is free. It is one of Great Bend’s biggest events. According to zoo officials, over 4,000 came last year.
Any business or organization that would like to have a booth should contact Gregory by emailing Scott@GreatBendZoo.com or stop by the zoo office. There is no charge but booth sponsors must provide their own candy to hand out.