Traveling with snakes

I was contacted by someone who wanted me to rehome her Cornsnake, he was 14yrs old, the reason was that the person was relocating a long distance drive away, as I travel often with my snakes I offered assistance on how to take her snake with her.

  1. Pack the snake into a pillow slip which it’s best to twist at the top turn over and tie around, this will prevent the snake escaping. Tied T shirt or even a continental quilt cover for a larger snake.
  2. Place the wrapped  snake into a plastic box with holes in or a cardboard box ( I use baskets ) as the snake isn’t used to traveling put a small piece of it’s furniture in the b0x or some substrate so that there is a smell of its home nearby, obviously nothing too heavy.
  3. The warmth in the car should be enough without extra heat ( I usually set my car temp at 21c which is not too hot for me but warm enough for snakes of any type for a short time) but a “warm” water bottle and a flask of hot water to top up in case the car becomes cold if you are leaving the car for any length of time i.e. stopping for refreshments. This can be placed in the box with the wrapped snake it’s important that the water bottle isn’t too hot!

When I moved with all the snakes in the sanctuary it was December and it was snowing! I bought lots of hot water bottles for them and when we arrived at our new home it wasn’t possible to unpack them all that night so we just heated the actual room that all the boxes were in until the next day when we needed to put all the vivariums back together and set them up.

I hope this is of some assistance for others who may need to travel with their snake/s.

School visits

School visits are very exciting and informative for pupils.

We teach many things science,  pupils are encouraged to ask questions and one of the questions is, can the snakes breathe through their bags that we carry them in? So we need to explain the difference between woven material and plastic, plastic is such a common thing in our world now that this fact is often forgotten.

We teach children about the shedding of the snake skin and how similar this is to our own skin sloughing and the fact that our hair sheds and is dead matter once it does.

Although we are mainly science based some geography comes into the conversation as the snakes come from different parts of the world so the children are asked if they know where certain countries are that the snakes come from and if they can guess where they may come from, what the weather is like there because snakes cannot regulate their own temperature we need to keep them as warm as the their country of origin.

We also teach them about our own indigenous varieties of snake, the grass snake with its distinctive yellow and black collar, the adder or viper with its zig zag pattern all the way down its body, the tiny smooth snake and the slow worm which is interesting as it looks like a snake but is a lizard, so we teach about the differences.

Below are some photos of Harwich Community Primary School pupils and teachers learning about snakes and many other things.


Essex Fire Station open day – Harwich

I and one of my volunteers took the snakes to the above venue for snake snuggles and phobia busting.

Pics up soon

North Essex Photographic Workshop

North Essex Photographic Workshop booked the snakes for one of their meetings.

Some of their brilliant photos are here:

Sue on the other hand took photos of the photographers taking photos ­čÖé

Of course she couldn’t resist taking a few of the snakes too.

Here we have:

Tango – Corn Snake,

Gino – Brazilian -Rainbow Boa,

Beni – Royal Python,

Wills – Corn Snake 

Bobo – Boa Constrictor


Snake phobias overcome at NFTS

Snake phobias overcome at NFTS: we visited The National Film and Television School at Beaconsfield where Jenny Kuznetsova was running a short film on snake phobia, quite a few people overcame their fears some just wanted a snake snuggle with Bou one of our Albino Burmese Pythons:



Snakes at School – Portway Primary School E13

Snakes at School – Portway Primary School, Plaistow, London E13 booked Live, educational, snake encounters for their Science Week 8th and 10th March the children had a great time finding out about snakes and getting to know them by name, breed and lots of handling. so did the teachers whom we managed to get some photos of below:

Snake work

Snake work:

Our only way of creating funds for the sanctuary is by taking them out to work.

There are lots of plus’s:

  • Snakes get more stimulation than they can get in their vivariums
  • In the Summer months at outside events they can experience the outside world and breath fresh air.
  • People of all ages learn lots about snakes that they didn’t ┬áknow before.
  • People overcome their fears and phobias.
  • People find out that contrary to popular belief snakes are actually therapeutic to handle.
  • Children have lots of fun meeting the snakes.

Some photos at a outdoor brownie event at Chigwell Row, featuring big Dobi our largest Boa Constrictor

This our second year at this event, we are already booked for next year.

The snakes, Sue and all the volunteers love this type of event.




Bio Active vivariums

Snakey Sue’s Serpent Sanctuary:

2016 was a busy year working in the Sanctuary.


All of the substrates in the vivariums were made bio active.

We purchased 24 slabs of coir, 8 bags of  top soil and two bags of play-sand plus tropical springtails, tropical woodlouse. We had a continual box of soaked coir on the go, to mix with the other ingredients.

Leaf litter came free and included some of our own woodlouse.

Sue  set up a plastic box to breed the insects and it has been very successful.

The aroma in the vivs is so much better – like the forest.

Dobi our largest Boa shed his skin and it was being munched up by the wood louse so it was left it in for them to finish off, still need to check for toilets especially with the larger snakes but any residue will be cleaned up by the insects so its make caring for the 50 snakes so much easier.


Rose and Bou

A video of Rose and Bou’s home two 500 watt heaters to keep them warm and two baths, lots of room to climb and stretch.


As we still have 50 snakes to care for and not much chance of rehoming the larger ones we have decided to create spaces that are large enough for them to climb about. Rose and Bou are lucky that they have their room but to create another space for the large male Boa Constrictors meant making a large hole between the two 7ft vivariums with a branch for them to climb about. Dobi the 9ft x 20 kilo boy needs a giant box for a bath so that takes up a lot of space in the bottom viv now that there is access to the top vivarium I placed BoBo in with Dobi and Moses. BoBo was the last Boa to come and live in the sanctuary ┬á– ┬áthere’s not enough space for any more.


We will try to work on some of the other vivariums to give the other residents more room, they live in 4 x 2s, 5 x 2 and 6 x 2 but I would still like them to have more space to roam.

Snake Sanctuary News

Snake Sanctuary News:

Sue cannot take in any more large snakes but can sometimes make room for smaller breeds.

She recently had a request for a corn snake and managed to rehome not just one but two.

These two, Flo and Diago, had always lived together so it would have been cruel to separate them. A father and son came to see them and decided they were the right snakes for them. They decided to rename them Alexis and Sanchez.

They send Sue updates and photos which is always appreciated.

One corn snake that had been rehomed came back ( which has been a common occurrence, sadly) His name is Wills I housed him in Flo and Diagos 4ft vivarium and he has a companion Libby who came to live at the sanctuary in 2014 in bad health but has picked up tremendously.

Also a new corn snake whose name was Kaa but as we already have a Kaa in the sanctuary his name was changed to Justin, which seems to suit him. He is 11yrs old and is a lovely natured snake.

Sadly many of the snakes in the sanctuary have become old and passed over the rainbow bridge in the last few years, recently we lost Bully and Clover





Originally Flo & Diago Rehomed

Originally Flo & Diago Rehomed

Wills and Libby

Wills and Libby









The testimonial page has just had an update of emails going back to 2012!! Go look there.

Lots more time to update the website ┬ásince no face book ­čÖé

After spraining her ankle 11th July Sue had a few gigs to do, but she never likes to let anyone down so she managed to commandeer different drivers to drive her to events, we did the last Music in the Park, we have been taking the snakes there for 10yrs running! A talk, presentation at Leigh on Sea U3A – testimonial below – on the same day we visited a brownies group in Woodford and our regular annual visit to a Summer Holiday Activity Group in Finchley, London.

Sue had lots of plans to run two or three local, fundraising events but the ankle said no chance, so looking forward to running them when all is healed once more.

The ankle is improving, although it seems like an age, caring for the 50+ plus snakes hasn’t been an easy task either especially when there was a turnover of volunteers and for a couple of weeks there was no help!!


Can I thank you, both personally and on behalf of our group, for the talk you gave us recently.  It must have been particularly difficult with your injured ankle.  Thank you for taking the time to do this and not cancelling the event.

 I have received many favourable remarks about your speech and the style in which you delivered the information.  I was astonished how you managed to get so many of the audience involved with your pets.

I hope we can arrange to have you speak at another event in the future

Thanks again for providing such a entertaining and informative speech.

Kind Regards  David Shakespear