Today’s Geography Quest is inspired by a project R13 took on at the start of summer- a snake. We found a pile of garter snakes at the foot of our mailbox under some rocks and she asked to keep one. The rest, as they say, is history.
The Snake Project
Throughout the summer, R13 has been caring for her snake– actually it started out as the family snake, but very quickly it was obvious that R was the one who was catching slugs and worms to feed him and it became her snake.
As we approached the new school year and I thought about her science course, I consulted with her and she decided to take on The Snake Project– Project Based Homeschool style for the first quarter. If she is on task with the project and still has more ground to cover, I’m willing to see it through another quarter. This is entirely student driven and I step in as a consultant at times.
So far she’s been checking items off of her list. Here’s just a snippet of what she’s been researching:
- anatomy and physiology of snakes
- types of snakes and classification
- care of snakes– in particular she’s been reading about brumation (hibernation of reptiles) in preparation for winter. Will Clyde the snake be placed so that he can brumate for the winter? Or will we arrange to feed him weekly from the pet store through the winter until his regular diet is available outdoors again.
More on R’s Snake Project another time. For now, let’s talk about the Geography Quest this study has inspired. Are you ready for adventure?
Explore the Narcisse Snake Den in Manitoba, Canada
R13 became interested in the Narcisse den when she discovered the book, The Snake Scientist by Sy Montgomery. This great little book details the research of Bob Mason who was a scientist from Oregon State studying behavior of the snakes at the den.
I think it’s a unique, non-fiction, picture book because it tells how the scientists conduct the research detailing the methods of collection and the data they are trying to gather. It’s a peek into the work of a real life scientist and it’s all about garter snakes.
I thought it would be a fun exploration to visit the snake pit on a Geography Quest. Snake lovers you are in for a treat! Visit Snakes Alive! page to learn all about Manitoba’s famous snake den.
You can read the Snake Log 2013 from 2013 to find out how the season went. The observation season is over now because the snakes have all returned to their dens for the winter.
What’s it like to have tens of thousands of snakes emerging at once out of the ground? Take a look at this video.
Want more videos? There’s a whole page of them to view at the Narcisse Snake Den site.
The Manitoba Herps Atlas– take a look and be part of the project that is mapping the species of reptiles and amphibians that live in Manitoba, Canada.
Search for and Investigate Other Snake Pits around The World
Are there more snake dens like this in the world? The Narcisse is the largest of its kind in the world, but surely there must be more places where snakes gather in large numbers. A very quick search revealed another spot.
Snake Island off the Brazil Coast– Lancehead viper snakes live here at about 1 per 3 feet. Given the viper’s deadly bite, you are never more than three feet away from death. We learned that people are forbidden to visit there (except for a few scientists) by order of the Brazilian Navy. Finding this gem led me to Atlas Obscura. What a find! You can explore and share the world’s hidden wonders there. Warning: some of the information and attractions here may not be suitable for all ages.
Your challenge is to do some more research and find out where there are reported gatherings of large numbers of snakes and map them. We can let Indiana Jones know where not to go. He’s not a fan of snake pits. Are you?