Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Canebrake Rattlesnake Joins Edisto Island Serpentarium

Heyward Clamp on Sept. 8 with new arrival
On Saturday, September 3 in the late afternoon, Marie Elliott of Edisto Island saw the massive rattlesnake crossing a dirt road and heading for a ditch. She is the niece of Heyward Clamp, founder of the Edisto Serpentarium, and quickly called his cell phone number to alert him of the situation. While she maneuvered her car back and forth to thwart the rattler from crossing the road, Clamp arrived at the scene in five minutes and used tongs to pick up the snake and secure it in a box he keeps at the ready in his truck.

Coachwhip snake on display at Serpentarium
Brothers Ted and Heyward Clamp milking a Diamondback Rattler,
so the venom can be used for medical science
Clamp told me that this canebrake rattlesnake will be used as an educational animal in their poisonous snake display and it will also be tapped for future venom production. “This snake has no rattles and that is actually not uncommon, since they are less flexible than a snake and the brittle rattles can break off just crawling through heavy brush,” said Heyward Clamp. “And it is not true that you could age a rattlesnake by counting rattles because they shed their skin multiple times during the course of any one year. The canebrake rattler has not been measured with a ruler because making it straighten out would be putting unnecessary stress on it,” said Heyward Clamp. “But I’ll make an educated guess based on my 50-years of handling snakes, and I think the length is right around five-feet long."

What a great educational facility in the Lowcountry

“Venomous snakes are moving more this time of year because they mate in the fall of the year, “ said Heyward Clamp. “They have their young a year later in the fall, so typically I get more calls about snakes on the move and sightings of small snakes after Labor Day.” Another myth is that snakes travel in pairs, but Clamp says this is not true. However, during mating season a male snake may trail a female snake, like a buck running after a doe during the whitetail deer rut. For more information visit the Internet at Edisto Serpentarium.

To ready the entire feature article in the newspaper click on Colletonian

To view past blog entries on snakes click September Snakes Seen Slithering - Duck Season Snakes -  2014 Snakes at SEWE - 2016 SEWE

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