March 13, 2018

Naturalists add ambassador

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Sasha the corn snake is the Clermont County Park District’s newest animal education ambassador.

CHILO – Forgive the latest addition to the Clermont County Park District family if she sticks her tongue out at you.

She’s only 8 years old a little bit of a southern belle.

Oh, and did we mention she is a corn snake named Sasha? Our newest animal education ambassador joins Clover the rabbit and a box turtle students nicknamed Chilo.

Expect to see Sasha and her colleagues traveling the county with Lead Naturalist Jana Marshall and Naturalist Alyssa Rooks as they visit schools or host scout groups for programs. They’ll also make appearances at Park District events like Nest Fest.

When she’s not traveling, Sasha lives at the naturalists’ office at Chilo Lock 34 Park, where she has a three-level enclosure with a warming lamp and plenty of hiding spots.

“She’ll help dispel the rumors that snakes are all bad or scary,” Marshall said. “She’s not venomous. She’s not aggressive. She is really good at tree climbing and she can even swim if she has to.”

You’ll recognize Sasha by her pale orange skin with rust-colored patterns trimmed in maroon.

Corn snakes are not native to Ohio, but generally live in the American southeast. Our five-foot version is related to the black rat snake commonly found in Clermont County. Her diet is similar; she eats mice, generally at a rate of one a week.

Sasha came to the Park District from Arrowhead Reptile Rescue after serving in a similar educational role at Diamond Oaks Career Development Center on the west side of Cincinnati.

“We definitely wanted a rescue rather than pull a snake from the wild,” Marshall said. “We’re trying to preserve wildlife, not upset it. Working with the rescue is one way to do that.

“When you have a snake, you have it for life, but sometimes people don’t realize what a commitment that is. We’re glad to have a good home for Sasha and to have a place where she can keep teaching.”

Want to meet Sasha in person? Schedule an appearance for your class or group by calling Marshall at 513-240-2615 or writing jmarshall@clermontcountyohio.gov.

Sasha slithers through the grass at Chilo Lock 34 Park.

Sasha displays her forked tongue while climbing up Naturalist Alyssa Rooks’ arm.

Mark D. Motz is the Community Relations Manager for the Clermont County Park District. A native Cincinnatian, he has worked for more than 25 years as an award-winning journalist and public relations professional. Away from work, he enjoys photography, theater and spending time with his nine godchildren.

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