Breakfast with Sidharth and Nikhil the other day turned out to be a testing time for me. I found them test me on corn snake. ‘Do you know why they call it a corn snake ?’, asked Nikhil as he was mid-way through his morning cup of yogurt. Snakes and spider are not the kind of things we usually discuss at breakfast table. But then Nikhil, and brother Sidharth had been to a birthday party the previous day , at which some wild creatures from Oakland Zoo - snake, spider, lizard and the like – were among the special invitees. It was their friend Akshay’s birthday. And the seven-year-old is said to have flair for wildlife. And his parents had the small animals to the party.
Sidharth and Nikhil said they even touched the snake. The zoo staffer, who brought the small animals to the birthday party ran a minor workshop on corn snake for the children. Sidharth and Nikhil came away from the party, fairly knowledgeable about lizards, spider and corn snake.
The lady from Oakland Zoo is seen taking the caged animals out the car at Akshay’s residence in Danvile C A.
At our breakfast table the next morning Sidharth held forth on corn snakes ; said they are so called because they sneak into corn fields to prey on mice. Corn snake is a friend of the farmer because mice cause damage to his corn. And a snake can smell mice from afar, though it can’t see them . Snakes have poor eye-sight, says Sidharth. When I chipped in with the suggestion that they could wear glasses, Nikhil laughed at me. His point was you can’t fit eye-glasses on a snake that doesn’t have ears. Both brothers ruled out contact lens. As Sidharth put it, snakes were not designed to have proper vision. So eye-glasses or contact lens wouldn't help.
Oakland Zoo, under their education programme, sends on request a select few small animals to educate and entertain children at birthday parties. Akshay’s father had filed an application in priscribed format to the zoo authorities to have the animals over at their Danvile C A residence for the brithday party.
Under Zoo Mobile scheme, the birthday child (ages four and older) and their friends will meet four small animals, most of which can be touched. The birthday child will receive a Zoo gift to mark the occasion. A ZooMobile party is fun, educational and entertaining. The zoo makes available zoo animals only for birthday parties for children turning 4 and older. Pets must be kept in a separate room. Children under 3 are not permitted to touch the animals.