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  • Austin Warren

Berea College's herpetarium announces its open hours

The Berea College campus is no stranger to all kinds of critters. From the occasional red fox to the zany campus squirrels, campus-goers delight in seeing nature among us, and in the case of a certain kind of slithering reptiles, they may even be a source of study and wonder of the natural world.

The Berea College Herpetarium, nestled in Room 140 of the Margaret A. Cargill Natural Sciences and Health Building (known by many campus-goers simply as the MAC Building) houses over 100 snakes and exactly one turtle.

Herpetarium staff assures those who might be uncertain about holding one of the many slithering creatures that all of the snakes are safe, though there are general guidelines to follow when handling the snakes.

Image courtesy of Austin Warren

For instance, it is advised to be gentle with the snake and make sure that it stays parallel with the floor while it is being held. One should also take care to not touch the head of the snake, as doing so makes the snake feel vulnerable and less willing to be away from its home.

As far as caring for the snakes goes, herpetarium staff regularly bathe and feed them while also providing medicine to ones that need it. They are also responsible for cleaning any messes the snakes make in their homes, as well as executing any deep cleans that might be needed.

Image courtesy of the Berea College Facebook page

Dr. Roy Scudder-Davis, biology department chair, is one of the chief individuals responsible for organizing the herpetarium, and has been doing so for quite some time. In a Facebook post on the official Berea College page made on November 25th, 2020, Dr. Scudder-Davis is depicted holding a snake, along with a quote from him: “each type of snake has a personality—some are calm, some are feisty.”

The herpetarium admits students, staff, and faculty at no cost. All the herpetarium staff asks is that you sign in upon entry. With enough visitors, the herpetarium staff and the biology department can ask for more funding in maintaining the herpetarium and hosting related events.

The herpetarium is open from 1:30 - 4:30p.m. on Mondays, 3 - 5p.m. on Tuesdays, 1 - 3p.m. on Fridays, and 12 - 1p.m. on Sundays.

Follow the Herpetarium’s official Instagram page @bereaherpetarium.

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