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World Snake Day is observed on July 16th each year and helps people understand more about the 3,500 different species of snakes that share our world. In addition, it’s a great reminder that for many pet owners, snakes, as well as other reptiles, can be a unique addition to their pet family. Tom Dock of Noah’s Animal Hospital joined us today to share some of the things you need to know if you decide to bring an exotic pet into your home.

Here are some specific details about the pets seen on Indy Style today: 

1. Ball Python:  Native to West and Central Africa, maximum length about 6 feet.  Diet consists of small mammals and/or birds.  Some can live up to 60 years in captivity.  Due to captive breeding programs, many color variations are available, and these snakes are generally healthier than wild-caught specimens. 

2. Hognose Snake:  three different genera including 14 species.  Can be found in US/Mexico, Madagascar, and South America.  Will often feign strikes by raising up, flattening their necks, and hissing; they can also “play dead”.  Diet usually consists of rodents and lizards, but these are not constricting snakes.  Considered easy to care for in captivity. 

3. Russian Tortoise:  Native to Central Asia.  Fairly small tortoise, 5-10 inches in length. Diet is vegetarian and they enjoy many of the broad, green, leafy plants.  Like many other reptiles, these animals can live for decades!