The Paw Report, Episode 309 – Snakes


[Music Plays]
>>Kate Pleasant: Coming up on this edition of the Paw Report,
we’re talking about snakes and other reptiles. As you can see, I have my friend Lil with
me here. And we’re going to learn a little bit more
about these creatures and what you might need to know if you’re thinking about getting one
at your house. So stay tuned, that’s all coming up next on
the Paw Report. [Music Plays]
Production for the Paw Report is made possible by:Inyart Tire and Auto Centerin Charleston
and Mattoon.Inyart offers complete auto repair.Inyart Tire and Auto Center cares about our community
and thanks you for being a responsible pet owner.More information at Inyart.com. Hello and welcome to this episode of the Paw
Report. I’m your host, Kate Pleasant.
And I’m joined today by Kyle Thompson. I guess he’s the snake guy at PetSmart in
Mattoon, right?>>Kyle Thompson:
That’s what they call me.>>Kate Pleasant:
Alright, and he has Cas. What kind of snake is Cas?
>>Kyle Thompson: He is a red tail boa constrictor.
However, he is a little bit lighter shade than normal.
>>Kate Pleasant: Okay, is that, is there any reason for that,
or is he just…?>>Kyle Thompson:
He’s what you would call a kahl strain albino.>>Kate Pleasant:
Okay, interesting. So, he’s a little bit different.
>>Kyle Thompson: Mmhmm.
A little bit unique.>>Kate Pleasant:
Well, he’s joined us today, and we have some other animals we’re going to talk about here
in a little bit. But really, what we’re going to cover today
is just snakes, reptiles, kind of exotic pets in general, because we haven’t done that yet
on the show, so that’s why Kyle’s here today. So Kyle, first tell us, if I wanted a snake,
what would I need to know.>>Kyle Thompson:
You definitely need to know to do your research. There’s a lot of snakes out there on the captive
bred market that you’re not informed that are either sprout out to be in the neighborhood
of 20 feet or so. Some are known for having really, really wild
temperaments. Definitely, definitely helps to know what
your’e getting into beforehand.>>Kate Pleasant:
Okay, so recommend maybe looking on the Internet, reading some books.
>>Kyle Thompson: Absolutely, or even don’t be afraid to ask
people at stores, because anyone worth their salt’s going to know what to tell you.
>>Kate Pleasant: Sure, and maybe ask other snake people or
reptile people, whatever the case might be. You hear that a lot with dogs and cats, too,
you know, ask other dog people.>>Kyle Thompson:
Exactly, and there’s a lot of resources out there.
There’s herpetological societies in Illinois. There’s a herpetology program, actually, here
at Eastern.>>Kate Pleasant;
Okay, so there are options.>>Kyle Thompson:
Lots of options.>>Kate Pleasant:
So, do your homework first.>>Kyle Thompson:
Absolutely.>>Kate Pleasant:
Okay. And so, with snakes, you mentioned, you know,
some have wild personalities, so are they kind of like pets?
You know, like regular cat/dog type things and personalities?
>>Kyle Thompson: You’ll notice that they’re driven basically
by like primal instinct, more so than an attachment or reliance on people.
But that being said, you’ll also notice that they all do have sort of their same personalities.
Lilith, our ball python that we have, is very, very calm and easy going.
We had a red tail boa similar to this guy here, except it was from Nicaragua, and he
didn’t have a very nice personality, in that he was pretty apt to strike, hiss; he was
pretty wild.>>Kyle Thompson:
Okay, but some of them are kind of calm and laid back.
I mean, obviously, like Cas here. He’s pretty okay with whatever’s going on.
So, are they hard to take care of? Is there a lot of maintenance?
Kyle Thompson: It’s hard to start up at first.
There’s a lot you have to do to set up an environment, which is essentially what you’re
looking to do when you’re keeping your reptile is you’re trying to replicate a natural environment
for it. And that’s heat levels, humidity levels, similar
types of substrates, and stuff like that. Once you get your maintenance routine up with
that, they become easy to take care of. Very, very few and far between on feedings,
especially for larger bodied snakes like pythons and boas.
Your’e looking at a good sized meal once every two weeks or so.
>>Kate Pleasant: Really, that’s it?
>>Kyle Thompson: Mmhmm.
>>Kate Pleasant: Okay.
And what do they eat?>>Kyle Thompson:
Most of them will eat rodents. The good thing is, is there’s a much more
humane way out on the market now of feeding rats, mice, and they actually come pre-killed.
You can get frozen ones, warm them up, and they’ll take them down just like normal.
>>Kate Pleasant: Okay.
And so, you said that’s every couple of weeks. So really, that’s obviously not very involved.
>>Kyle Thompson: Right.
>>Kate Pleasant: What about maintenance, as far as, like, habitat
cleaning and things like that?>>Kyle Thompson:
Habitat cleaning’s going to vary, depending on the snake.
These guys here are tropical. They prefer to have very, very high humidity
levels, high heat temperatures. Without that, they’re actually probably going
to get upper respiratory infections. You’ll notice them hiss, cough, sometimes
they’ll actually cough up fluids, and stuff like that.
Mold is a big problem that you’ll run into when you’re looking at high humidity levels
in any kind of enclosure. So, as long as your’e keeping that clean,
you’re keeping your meals out of there, you’re changing the water, you’re looking good with
them.>>Kate Pleasant:
And is that something you have to do daily? You kind of monitor that?
>>Kyle Thompson: I like to spot clean.
I like to make sure everything is kind of done well.
But it’s usually about once every week, two weeks you can look at them.
Snakes just aren’t very messy.>>Kate Pleasant;
That’s good to know. So what is it like, habitat wise, what should
you be getting for them? I mean, you know, different sizes I assume
require different sized habitats, and so on.>>Kyle Thompson:
Absolutely. A lot of the smaller bodied snakes you’re
looking at, like collier breds, a lot of native species, you can actually get by with using
an actual aquarium. Larger bodied ones, like the boas here, you’re
looking at, like the reticulated burmese pythons, real big snakes, becomes real inefficient
to use glass and acrylic. Your best bet, honestly, is to look up designs
for a hand-built wooden enclosure.>>Kate Pleasant:
Really?>>Kyle Thompson:
Mmhmm.>>Kate Pleasant:
So, wooden enclosures; that’s a thing, too.>>Kyle Thompson:
Yep.>>Kate Pleasant:
Okay, and is there a reasons not to use the, you know, like you said, the plexi or whatever
else?>>Kyle Thompson:
Mostly, it’s going to be expensive and hard to find one that will fit a snake about that
size. Glass also seems to have a harder problem
actually keeping humidity and heat levels where you’re going to need them for those
larger snakes.>>Kate Pleasant:
Mmhmm. And again, knowing what heat and humidity
levels, does that come with your research?>>Kyle Thompson:
That’ll come with research, absolutely.>>Kyle Thompson:
Okay. What are good snakes for starters?
You know, maybe those of us that have zero snake experience.
>>Kyle Thompson: I always suggest corn snakes and ball pythons.
Ball pythons seems to have very shy personality, but they’re never really prone to strike.
Same with corn snakes. Adult corn snakes are very, very easy going.
>>Kate Pleasant: Okay.
And so, what is it, you know, a lot of people have fear.
I don’t personally have a fear of snakes, but many, many people do.
Why do you think people are afraid of them?>>Kyle Thompson:
Lack of education on them, I think. Most snakes you’re going to find here, especially
in Coles County, are harmless. More people actually subscribe to the myth
that every snake in the water’s a water moccasin, anything that rattles it’s tail is a rattlesnake,
and it’s venomous. And once you start finding out what these
species are, you just start to realize that’s just not true, and most of them pose no more
threat to you than, you know, anything else that you’d find in your house.
>>Kate Pleasant: So, not every snake out there that we see
is big and scary and venomous, and will kill you?
>>Kyle Thompson: Not at all, not at all.
>>Kate Pleasant: Seems to be some of the perception, though.
You know, I mean, especially with people that have fear, so.
>>Kyle Thompson: Yeah, and when you look into it, there’s actually
a lot of benefit that comes from having the snakes around.
When the farmers around here start plowing fields, you’ll have an increase of rodents,
you’ll have mice, rats coming out to people’s houses.
A lot of times with that, you’re also going to see a lot of species like the black rat
snake, you know, your garters coming up there; they’re actually taking out the pests that
carry all the diseases and whatnot.>>Kate Pleasant:
Okay, and that doesn’t harm them, you know, because some of those carry disease; that’s
just the chain of events, I suppose. Circle of life.
>>Kyle Thompson: Absolutely.
>>Kate Pleasant: So, they do serve a purpose, in that respect.
>>Kyle Thompson: Mmhmm.
>>Kate Pleasant: Okay.
And so, what about domesticated snakes? You know, do you know any of the history there?
Has that been, have we domesticated snakes a long time ago, or…?
>>Kyle Thompson: Domesticated may be a bit of an overstatement
with them. Taming them…
>>Kate Pleasant: They’re still wild, I suppose, right.
>>Kyle Thompson: Right.
And at the heart of it, there’s not really any way to domesticate a reptile.
What we’re doing is essentially nullifying their responses of fear of us.
And that comes with, as soon as they’re hatched, the first thing they’re a lot of times going
to respond to is a human there overseeing the process of incubation.
Usually, they’re overseeing the whole process of the breeding of these animals, too.
Generations down the road, they’ve just had no real innate fear of humans.
>>Kate Pleasant: Okay, so it’s just like most other animals.
The fear is bred and taken out of them.>>Kyle Thompson:
You can actually find that pattern in the wild.
If you go down south and start finding wild iguanas, most iguanas don’t really have any
fear of people, because they realize if I stick around here long enough and stare at
them, they’re going to feed me.>>Kate Pleasant:
They’re going to give me something to eat, okay.
That makes sense, I suppose.>>Kyle Thompson:
Yeah, and the same kind of principle applies to these captive snakes.
We feed Cas here, and he’s never had a problem with striking.
He’s about as chill as you see here now.>>Kate Pleasant:
I was going to say, he doesn’t seem to be a problem.
He’s pretty quiet, so. Do you want to talk a little bit about Cas,
maybe anatomy wise, you know, for snakes? What do they have?
I mean, obviously, it’s scales and things like that, so.
>>Kyle Thompson: Right.
A lot of cool things happen when you get up into the heavy bodied snakes.
It’s hard to see here, but he’s actually got spurs on the back of here, which are essentially
leftovers of when snakes used to have back legs.
They’ve also got two lungs, as opposed to most collier breds and native species will
have lost, essentially, an ill formed one. He’s kept it, but his other lung is elongated
to fit to the shape of his body.>>Kate Pleasant:
Really?>>Kyle Thompson:
Mmhmm.>>Kate Pleasant:
That’s interesting. I didn’t even know about the two lung thing.
>>Kyle Thompson: Yeah.
They’ve also got thermal seeking sensors in their lips, and that’s what separates a lot
of boas from the python species, is the pythons have it, too, but they’ve developed thermal
pits along their lips, and these guys just have the sensors.
>>Kate Pleasant: Interesting.
Okay, so definitely a little different from our cats and dogs and fish.
>>Kyle Thompson: Yeah, absolutely.
>>Kate Pleasant: Okay.
So, you know, what it is that you like about snakes?
>>Kyle Thompson: I like the same thing about snakes that I
like about reptiles in general, and that’s that they’re just so much more different than
anything else you’re going to find out there. Especially with the snakes, is they are 100%
streamlined to be the perfect predators of their ecosystem.
And part of that I find fascinating, as well as I’ve got a great deal of respect for it.
>>Kate Pleasant: Absolutely.
They’re powerful, and they’re different. And you know, I think the different is what
brings on that fear a little bit, too. Their body shapes are different than anything
else we’re familiar with, so.>>Kyle Thompson:
Absolutely. Yeah, you look at that, and you start to see,
a lot of people will see the fangs in there, and they start thinking that that’s obviously
going to be a venomous snake. And like I said, that’s just not true.
You start to look at a lot of the constrictors, and they’ve got excellent personalities.
>>Kate Pleasant: Mmhmm.
So, is there, you know, is there certain personalities you should match to your personality?
Or does it matter? You just need to know how to keep them, or…?
>>Kyle Thompson: That’s debatable.
I like to say that there’s always a personality to match yours, Cas being probably a perfect
fit for me because he and I kind of like to just sit here and hang out.
>>Kate Pleasant: Just chilling.
>>Kyle Thompson: Mmhmm.
And we’ve got another snake, Lilith, she’s a ball python.
And she’s actually my girlfriend Sara’s snake, and Sara likes to do a lot of photography,
likes to do a lot of things, and Lilith will actually sit still and just kind of pay attention
to what’s going on.>>Kate Pleasant:
So, she fits Sara perfectly in that respect.>>Kyle Thompson:
Exactly. And she’s also got a cat, and the snake will
get nose to nose with the cat, do nothing to intimidate it, nothing to strike it.
>>Kate Pleasant: Unbelievable.
So, they can get along with other animals, too, in a way.
>>Kyle Thompson: Yeah, although I still wouldn’t suggest it.
>>Kate Pleasant: Right, not for the starters and things like
that; you wouldn’t want to just let your snake out on the floor.
>>Kyle Thompson: Right.
Once you’ve learned to kind of bond, and you know the personality of the snake, you can
start to kind of interact with other things with them.
>>Kate Pleasant: Are they good pets for children?
I mean, can you have them around your kids?>>Kyle Thompson:
Yeah. That also goes along with the education.
Definitely helps to let your kid know what they’re in for.
Maybe not for younger kids, because all reptiles have the possibility to carry salmonella.
And with younger kids putting their hands in their mouth, and all this and that, it’s
probably not the best thing for them. But once you get up into like the, you know,
6, 7, 8 years old, yeah, absolutely.>>Kate Pleasant:
Sure. A little bit older when they understand and
can respect the animal.>>Kyle Thompson:
Yeah, absolutely.>>Kate Pleasant:
And I guess that’s, like you said, about education, teaching them how to respect the animal, and
you’ll have no problems. So, you brought some other animals with you.
I know there’s a guy in there. I think he sounds angry.
>>Do you want to talk about…>>Kyle Thompson:
Yeah, we’ve actually brought in…>>Kate Pleasant:
… Him a little bit? There’s a couple of different things going
on over there. I can…
>>Kyle Thompson: Yeah.
We’ve got, actually, this is a red-eared slider, and these are turtles that you’re going to
find all over the U.S.>>Kate Pleasant:
Turtles, okay.>>Kyle Thompson:
Yep, and these guys are actually common enough that you can find them all over the world.
>>Kate Pleasant: Really?
So, this is something maybe in your backyard woods or something, you could go out and find
one of these?>>Kyle Thompson:
Yep. Lake Charleston has a pretty decent population
of them. Lake Charleston, Lake Mattoon, Lake Sara:
all the lakes around here you can find these guys.
>>Kate Pleasant: And what do they eat?
What do they do?>>Kyle Thompson:
Well, the interesting thing about them is that they’re omnivorous.
So, they’re kind of opportunistic feeders. If they can find a fish that they can catch,
they’ll go for it. In the wild, a lot of times, you’ll see them
chase down the crawfish. They’ll eat a lot of those watercress, water
grasses that you’ll find out in the lakes and the ponds.
>>Kate Pleasant: And why would someone like having a turtle
as a pet? What’s kind of the advantages there maybe?
>>Kyle Thompson: They’re actually kind of cute.
>>Kate Pleasant: They are cute.
>>Kyle Thompson: When they swim, they’re really, really busy.
They’re not much of a pet you want to handle, interact with hands-on.
And I think a large part of the aquatic species is it’s kind of a nice way to take nature
and put it in your home phone, give you something to kind of observe and take a look at.
>>Kate Pleasant: And are they simple on the maintenance side,
too? I mean, are these something that are an easy
clean, or…?>>Kate Pleasant:
They actually require a lot more work than a lot of people realize, because you’re looking
at filtration for water for them, you really want to make sure that the water levels are,
you know, clean, clear, not full of a lot of junk that could be toxic to them.
Definitely want to do a lot of maintenance on them.
>>Kate Pleasant: Okay, so they’re a little maybe more maintenance
intensive, so maybe not for, maybe not a great first pet.
>>Kyle Thompson: And that’s exactly right.
And that’s the sad part, is a lot of times, these are a lot of people’s introduction to
reptiles.>>Kate Pleasant:
And so, do you see, do you hear from a lot of people that they had a turtle for a while,
and then maybe they got rid of it; it was a lot of work, or…
>>Kyle Thompson: Mmhmm.
And a lot of people don’t realize that these guys actually need quite a bit of space.
>>Kate Pleasant: Mmhmm.
Well, I mean, they’re little, so you wouldn’t think so, but…
>>Kyle Thompson: Yeah, actually this one is a pretty young
one. He’s about 4 inches on his shell here, which
ties in, there’s actually a law that you can’t sell turtle species under 3 inches.
>>Kate Pleasant: Really?
So, you can’t have little turtles?>>Kyle Thompson:
Right.>>Kate Pleasant:
Okay. Is that just because the youngness of them,
or…?>>Kyle Thompson:
They’re highly, highly adaptive, and a lot of people get them about this big and go dump
them off in lakes, rivers, and stuff like that, just because they don’t have the resources
at hand, I don’t feel, to actually find homes for these things.
>>Kate Pleasant: Okay.
So, what would you want to consider before getting a turtle?
>>Kyle Thompson: You want to consider, you want to definitely
have a large habitat for them. Your’e looking at probably 40 gallons or more
with filtration.>>Kate Pleasant:
Interesting.>>Kyle Thompson:
And you do want to have land, and you want to have water for them to get in.
Land so they can bask, water so they can eat.>>Kate Pleasant:
Okay, so they have to have kind of both. And you mentioned the water filtration; that’s
something I hadn’t really considered before. I guess it would have to be very clean water.
>>Kyle Thompson: Yeah, they dirty their water up a lot.
They actually put a lot of waste in the water through their feeding process.
>>Kate Pleasant: So, you have to clean more often, right?
>>Kyle Thompson: Mmhmm.
>>Kate Pleasant: Okay.
And so, is this the kind of thing you’d be better off, you know, getting at a pet store
from an expert, or can you pick one up out of your backyard?
>>Kyle Thompson: I wouldn’t suggest just picking them up out
of your backyard. Once they get used to people interacting and
kind of providing for them, it’s really hard for them to go back to the wild instincts.
And a lot of times, people pick them up, they bring them in for their kids, or just for
themselves, feed them, and they get real reliant on people, then they take them back, dump
them off into a river, and the thing can’t fare for itself.
>>Kate Pleasant: Right.
Is this what you consider a box turtle? I mean, I know around here we call things
box turtles. Is that kind of a box turtle?
>>Kyle Thompson: Box turtles actually have a hinge on their
plastron down here, so that they can pull themselves entirely into their shell.
>>Kate Pleasant: Oh, okay.
So, he’s not a box turtle.>>Kyle Thompson:
Nope, he’s actually just a little pond slider.>>Kyle Thompson:
Okay, and turtles can bite, as well, correct?>>Kyle Thompson:
Mmhmm.>>Kate Pleasant:
So, that’s something you want to be aware of.
>>Kyle Thompson: Yep.
If you look, he’s actually got pretty sharp little teeth on the bottom of his beak there.
>>Kate Pleasant: Yeah, I can see that being a problem.
[Chuckles] He could get a finger or something.
>>Kyle Thompson: Yeah.
>>Kate Pleasant: And what about their shells?
Do you know about their shells? Kind of, is there structure in there, or is
it formed that way?>>Kyle Thompson:
Actually, the back part of their shell is their spinal cord.
>>Kate Pleasant: So, it’s like a backbone right there, you
can see it.>>Kyle Thompson:
Mmhmm. Yep, it’s all attached right into here, and
it’s attached right between here. This is actually the carapace, and this is
the plastron on the bottom.>>Kate Pleasant:
Okay. Okay, yeah.
He’s got nice colors, too, looking there up close at it.
>>Kyle Thompson: Yeah, this is actually a captive bred species.
A lot of the captive ones will have really nice coloration to them.
>>Kate Pleasant: Mmhmm.
Okay. And so, if we were going to get a turtle,
and then we decided we didn’t want it anymore, what would your recommendations be?
>>Kyle Thompson: I would definitely look into getting a look
at the rescue situations around here. I know in Coles County I’m one of the few,
but there are definitely people out there willing to take them.
>>Kate Pleasant: Right.
So, you can find homes for them. So, you recommend that, other than turning
them loose.>>Kyle Thompson:
Absolutely. Absolutely.
I would just know who you’re giving them, too.
Research.>>Kate Pleasant:
Again, research, research, research. That’s the theme of today’s show, is do your
research.>>Kyle Thompson:
How did you get interested in snakes and reptiles?>>Kyle Thompson:
I was really into dinosaurs as a kid, and my parents, or my dad and his brother were
really, really outdoorsy types. They like to hike, they like to go out and
just see, you know, Fox Ridge, all sorts of national parks like that.
Well, their love for the outdoors kind of got them interested in the wildlife that we
can run into around here. And once they started to really know their
stuff, they’d introduce it to me. Like, do you know what kind of frog this is?
Oh, it’s, you know, southern leopard frog. And they’d start telling me stuff like that.
They picked the right time, being into dinosaurs, because these are like, you know, modern dinosaurs
to a young kid.>>Kate Pleasant:
I was going to say, it’s kind of the closest you can get to a little kid, so.
>>Kyle Thompson: Yeah, absolutely.
And it wasn’t too much longer after they started teaching me that, that my uncle got an iguana,
and he was about a 5 foot iguana, and that was the closest to a dinosaur I’d ever seen.
And from then on, it’s all I liked.>>Kate Pleasant:
That’s interesting. So, you kind of learned by osmosis, by being
there and seeing things, and kind of experience it first hand.
So, would you, what would you say to someone that came in and said, you know, I’m thinking
about a snake, but I’m terrified of them. You know, are there ways to work on that fear?
>>Kyle Thompson: Just get to be around them.
You don’t have to touch them, necessarily, but even being as close as we are and seeing
that there’s no real danger at hand. Being around somebody who knows what they’re
doing and is comfortable with it kind of helps ease the tension of somebody else who’s afraid
of them.>>Kate Pleasant:
Okay. And what would you say are like some of the
best things that people should know about snakes, just as we’re kind of getting towards
the closing here?>>Kyle Thompson:
Honestly, they just make good companions. They’re a real great pet for people who don’t
really want to put forth a lot of effort, or if they don’t have time, especially for
people who travel. As long as they’ve got access to water, and
they’re fed on a consistent basis, you’re looking at a good pet.
>>Kate Pleasant: Mmhmm.
Is that something you can board? I mean, you can board cats and dogs; can you
board a snake?>>Kyle Thompson:
I’m sure there’s actually people out there who wouldn’t mind pet sitting, but as far
as an actual place that will take that, I’ve never heard of.
>>Kate Pleasant: What is veterinary care like on snakes and
other reptiles?>>Kyle Thompson:
Veterinary care can be kind of scary. The prices on it, especially if you don’t
have an exotic reptile vet, can be pretty potent.
That being said…>>Kate Pleasant:
Do they require normal checkups?>>Kyle Thompson:
They should, in my opinion, just to make sure they’re not catching anything unnoticed, especially
these heavy bodied snakes. There’s a disease called IBD, which affects
boas more so than anything else, but it’s usually once it sets itself in, it turns fatal.
>>Kate Pleasant: Really?
So, that would be something you want to monitor, then.
>>Kyle Thompson: Especially if you’re attached to them.
>>Kate Pleasant: Mmhmm.
But it can be costly. But do they need, like, you know, with cats
and dogs there’s grooming; do they have anything, you know, like any trimmings, or…?
>>Kyle Thompson: They pretty much do that all themselves.
The snakes will, they”ll shed their skin on a routine basis for you.
>>Kate Pleasant: I was going to ask about that, mmhmm.
>>Kyle Thompson: It just helps to kind of soak them every so
often to help them out through that process.>>Kate Pleasant:
Okay, and what is the purpose of the shedding?>>Kyle Thompson:
The shedding actually will take away all the old dirt, anything that they’ve accumulated
on the top layer of their scales. And once they peel that back, they’re clean.
>>Kate Pleasant: Okay, so they do that on their own, as well.
>>Kyle Thompson: As they grow.
>>Kate Pleasant: Right.
And you said the soaking; is that just putting them in water, or…?
>>Kyle Thompson: Mmhmm.
Lukewarm water. You don’t want to shock them, because they
are coldblooded. They’re pretty much whatever their environment
is, is their static body heat.>>Kate Pleasant:
Okay. And so, do they have to have a certain temperature?
I mean, I assume there’s lights and things like that they need in their habitat to stay
a certain temperature.>>Kyle Thompson:
Absolutely, absolutely. That will all depend on the various species
of reptile you’ll come across. These guys will need probably a really, really
high level of heat. You’re looking at usually a pretty powerful
bulb for that.>>Kate Pleasant:
Mmhmm. And you said that they’re not, most of them
aren’t prone to striking. You know, as a general rule.
But say you got bitten by a snake. What should you do?
>>Kyle Thompson: Definitely treat it with peroxide.
>>Kate Pleasant: Okay.
>>Kyle Thompson: Run it under some water, warm water and peroxide,
and then just keep making sure it’s not infected.>>Kate Pleasant:
Have you been bitten before?>>Kyle Thompson:
More times than I can count.>>Kate Pleasant:
And so, it’s treatable. And like you said, most of them aren’t venomous,
so.>>Kyle Thompson:
Yeah, right.>>Kate Pleasant:
Do your homework and do some research, makes sure you’re not getting into anything too
bad there, but. Well, Kyle Thompson from PetSmart, we thank
you for coming on and introducing us to the world of snakes, reptiles, you know, things
that maybe we aren’t as familiar with. So, thanks again.
>>Kyle Thompson: Yeah, it’s been a pleasure.
[Music Plays]>>Betty Hargis: Hi, I’m Betty Hargis from the Dog Training
Club of Charleston. Here to talk about the basic commands that
we use in the advanced puppy and basic classes for obedience.
And the first things that we usually do are sit/stays, and down/stays.
And those are just simply exercises that are an extension to what they learn in puppy class,
which is the sit and the down. And then, we just extend that.
So, if you need to have your dog stay in a position while you’re going through the door
or getting out of the car, doing something where you need, for instance, to have your
hands free, you start teaching the stay. This is Micah, he’s my little Australian shepherd
mix, who is 8 months, almost 9 months old. I’ve had him since a baby.
I got him from a local rescue group, and he’s come along quite nicely.
The fact that he is a herding breed helps because he’s willing to please and work with
us. So, show you the sits first.
Sit, yes! The ‘yes’ is your word for the dog that says,
oh, you did that correctly; I like that. And then, the treat comes forward.
So, sit, yes! Gradually work the treat out of it, or randomize
it so they don’t become accustomed to it being all the time.
Nice down. [Chuckles]
I didn’t ask for that yet. Micah.
Sit. Okay.
There we go. Yes.
This is the down. Down.
Yes. Micah.
Our form of training is positive reinforcement based, which means they either get some kind
of reward for doing the behavior that you’re wanting, and in this case it’s food.
You can use a toy, your voice, and you can mix it up; you can have all three.
So, for the stay, stay, it’s, the verbal is combined with the hand signal.
Micah, Micah. Stay.
You step off from the foot that’s away from the dog.
Yes. Good.
Yes. Returning, stay.
And I’m repeating the command there so that he knows I expect him to stay in that position
until I get back. Wait.
Yes. And I gave him the reward because he did as
I asked. So, we’ll do the down.
Stay. Down.
Yes. It’s the same thing.
Stay. One of the big things with training: dogs
learn our body language. Stay.
And they’re very attuned to what we are saying nonverbally.
Yes. Stay.
The nonverbal signals of leaving on this foot when your’e doing a stay, the leg that’s away
from the dog, opposed to when we do heeling, and it’s this one.
They learn very quickly that those are things that they can take and learn, put in their
little memory bank, and know that that’s part of the exercise.
So. Because I expect to go into some form of competition
with him, I have expected him to give me some pretty straight sits, although that one is
a little crooked; it’s called a puppy sit. And since he is a puppy, he still does that.
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