Athena’s cage

Ashley Novella is a recent graduate of the UVM Rubenstein School where she majored in Environmental Science and a concentration in Conservation Biology. She is a herp enthusiast and a responsible snake owner. For her art project, she showcased her corn snake, Athena, along with some tips to help new snake owners.

Ashley writes, “Here I’ve showcased my corn snake Athena’s tank. I’ve numbered a day to day caring guide to keep your pet snake happy and healthy. I pinpointed fundamental features of a tank (see guide at the bottom of the document), since there’s more than what meets the eye.”

“I’ve had Athena under my care for three years now, and there’s some things I’ve learned about corn snakes along the way. They are very active snakes. Athena seems to be an anomaly, only being active when held rather than in the tank. She likes to hide out under the cool bath 95% percent of the time.”

They are usually very docile. Athena was born into captivity and has been held her entire life. I feel very comfortable letting even my little cousins handle her with proper instruction. I’ve also come to be more in tune with snakes in general from Athena.

When she is shedding, fluid rushes to the surface creating a barrier from the new and old skin. During this time, her skin becomes a dull, milky pink rather than vibrant red and orange. During the entire shedding process, her vision is cloudy, making her insecure in her tightening skin. I do not attempt to feed her during this time. Another trick during her weekly feeding of a small frozen rat is to thaw the rat thoroughly with warm water in a container and then wiggling the rat to entice her.”

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed being a corn snake owner, and I hope this visual and guide highlights how manageable and fun it actually is to learn and care for Athena!