When you first look at him, he looks like one of those wooden toy snakes you get that sort of twist and turn when you hold it’s tail. This is the real McCoy, though. I went to the Fort Worth Zoo yesterday and talked with Joey the zookeeper in the Museum of Living Art (MOLA). The MOLA is one of my favorite places to visit at the zoo.

Joey was fun to talk with. He had a lot of great information to share about the critters he works with. His favorite guys are the Komodo dragons he cares for at the zoo. He says they are very personable, they are fun to stimulate and are actually pretty interactive. Now I have to convince my mom they are cool because she still gets the willies when she sees them.Joey said that there are two Komodo stepbrothers at the zoo. I asked him which one has the most personality and he told me they both have a lot.  They think things through.

The Honduran milksnake was interesting, too. This is what Joey had to say about it:

JK: What is your job at the Fort Worth Zoo?

Joey: I am the zookeeper mostly for the Komodo dragons and the saltwater crocodiles. I also care for the stingrays and some of the other reptiles.

JK: What are you showing off today?

Joey: This is a Honduran milksnake.

JK: Is it endangered?

Joey: No, I’m glad to say it is not.

JK: What does it like to eat?

Joey: Honduran milksnakes are carnivores. It likes to eat things like small lizards and mice. This snake gets a frozen (then thawed) adult mouse to eat about once a week. Honduran milksnakes actually don’t eat that often. If it did eat more often it would not be healthy for it.

JK: How did milksnakes get that name?

Joey: Milksnakes are often found in barns with the cattle. A long time ago farmers thought that since they always found them in the barns that the snakes were after the milk from the cattle. Really, though the snakes live in the barns because they are warm, they have good places to hide and there are lots of mice around. They don’t drink milk at all!

Some other fun facts I learned from Joey about milksnakes are that they are ectothermic (cold blooded). It is slick to touch. Snakes have a variety of skin-types. Some are very soft to the touch like touching fabric. Some feel like you are touching concrete. The Honduran milksnake was very smooth to the touch. They are not venomous so they do not have fangs, but they have sharp little teeth. Joey told me that this snake is pretty tame and has never bitten him.

Milksnakes will study the movements of mammals. A mammal may have a regular path it takes everyday, maybe to a water source, or something. The milksnake will sort of set up house around that path and then nab the mammal when it is on its way to water. The milksnake constricts its prey.

I liked this Honduran milksnake. It was very nice and it was very curious. Thanks for all the info, Joey!