New life slithers into Riverquarium - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

New life slithers into Riverquarium

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June 23, 2004

Albany - Although the Albany Riverquarium is not open, signs of life are already showing up. A reptile from the wild laid eggs and they may hatch just in time for the first visitors.

A protective mother, coiled around it's unborn babies. Senior Aquarist John Magyar says, "It was a big shock."

She gave birth only four days after they found her. Magyar adds, "We thought that she might have been eating bird eggs because we found her in a tree and they are part of their diet, but now we know she was pregnant."

The new mom was found slithering down a tree in the Riveraqarium's backyard.

The baby snake eggs are the first sign of birth for Riverquarium employees. They will live under the same roof as the 30 pound Flint River Catfish, alligators and turtles, all native to our area.

Giving south Georgians a lesson in nature. General Curator Richard Brown says, "There is no reason to kill a non-venomous snake, we would like people to know the difference."

The new mother is a non-venomous gray rat snake. She was saved and given the chance to lay 20 plus eggs, two months away from breaking through to the new world. Magyar says, "Hatching? Typically in 60 days."

Just in time for hatching of the Riverquarium. The Riverquarium is expected to open Labor Day weekend.

The snake eggs will be moved within the next 24 hours to an incubator to keep the eggs at a constant temperature.

posted at 6:22PM by kathryn.simmons@walb.com