Sadly HAWS education snake, Severus, died over the weekend. It wasn't unexpected -- she was surrendered to us in 2007 and the previous owners told us she was 25 at the time; that would have made her almost 29 years old at the time of her death. With a California King Snake's life expectancy being between 20 and 30 years, it turns out she lived to a ripe old age.
We didn't know Severus was a "she" until last year when she was experiencing some gastrointestinal distress and we had her visit Dr. Kevin Ruch at Elmbrook Veterinary Clinic. Dr. Ruch is a specialist in reptile medicine and he did a great job caring for her, and identified her as a female.
Severus was the perfection education animal. She was content to be left alone, and happy to be brought out and handled as well. Because most kids haven't ever held a snake, she gave the kids in our education programs a new experience. And it was fun to see the kids start out repulsed and then come to think she was really cool.
Now that she's sunning herself on the snake rock in the sky Severus will be missed here at HAWS, and we are thankful for the almost 4 years of service she was able to contribute.