One Last Bit of Jekyll Island…

Surprise! Even though I’m in Arizona now I do have one more batch of Jekyll Island photos to share with y’all. It doesn’t feel right to close that chapter without doing a post about Walter.

Walter is a pine snake, Pituophis melanoleucus. Of all the education snakes at the Jekyll Island 4-H Center (which include seven individuals representing five species), he was my favorite. Anyone who doesn’t think it’s possible for reptiles to have individual personalities has definitely never spent much time handling different snakes. Walter was born in captivity at another 4-H center and has been an education animal his whole life, and according to my boss he had at various times been screamed at, dropped, and even accidentally stepped on by nervous people, and had never once even threatened to bite anyone. (Not great for the snake, I know, but these things happen when an animal spends its life being handled by excitable children.) This is the sweetest, most laid-back reptile you will ever meet.

Doing herpetology programs, particularly snake programs, was my favorite part of my job at Jekyll. Showing a nervous kid (or adult!) that “scary” snakes can actually be docile, friendly, curious creatures is a lot of fun. Pine snakes like Walter are constrictors with a wide range in the U.S. (My understanding is that Walter himself is actually a hybrid between two subspecies.)

Anyway, I’ll be staying with my parents out West for about the next five weeks, during which time I’ll mostly be here in southern Arizona – but we’re also planning a road trip to visit Arches, Rocky Mountain, and Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Parks. (Expect lots of photos!) After that I’ll be flying back to Georgia to pick up my car and then heading north to Wisconsin, with stops along the way to visit friends in Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan. Rebecca in the Woods is on the move…

5 replies on “One Last Bit of Jekyll Island…”

i’m staying at Jeckyll island now and was concerned about snakes. i hate them and if i could would kill them on site. i guess is ignorance but just the same can’t grow to like them. i may drop by the 4 H to take look and try to learn more about them. thanks for your information. Juan

Juan – not sure if you’ll see this, but if you do, I would highly recommend checking out Tidelands Nature Center ( The 4-H center itself isn’t really open to the public, but the nature center is.

There are some venomous snakes on Jekyll, but I only ran into once in ten months of living there. You’re far, far more likely to see water snakes, green snakes, rat snakes, black racers, etc., all of which are nonvenomous and completely harmless. Even if you do happen to run across a rattlesnake or cottonmouth, if you stay calm and don’t approach it will most likely leave you alone.

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