FAIRLEA W.Va. (WVDN) – Snakes and turtles and fairs, oh my! Maybe this is not a scene from The Wizard of Oz, but there was a whirlwind of excitement over the chance to see and touch a live snake at the 2023 State Fair of West Virginia.
The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (DNR) allowed fairgoers to get up close and personal with a live corn snake and a woodland box turtle with stunning red eyes. Anyone who visited the DNR exhibit in The West Virginia Building during fair week had a rare opportunity to pet one or both of these reptiles, and all you had to do was ask.
According to DNR, the mountain State is home to 23 species of snakes and 13 turtle species, including a subspecies. The exhibit at this year’s fair housed a corn snake who seemed quite comfortable with human interaction. Its scales were smooth to the touch and beautifully colored in a pattern that some would say mimics that of a copperhead. One way to tell the difference is that a corn snake has a black and white checkerboard pattern on its belly. The corn snake is non-venomous and is one of the nearly two dozen snake species to call West Virginia its home.
The turtle, who seemed a little bashful at first, grew to enjoy the attention once comfortable with new friends. Its toes were well-defined with markings similar to a natural pebble stone pathway that traveled up its entire leg. To the touch, it felt slightly bumpy and textured. While not the first thing attendees may notice, its red eyes were unique and quickly became the focal point.
While most people may not fear turtles, many often hesitate regarding snakes. Both reptiles at the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources fair exhibit were friendly and left no fear in those who cared to interact. Please keep in mind that the personalities of these two reptiles may be very different from those encountered in the wild. Education on the state’s abundant wildlife, safety precautions when near them, and ways to protect yourself and the animals are vital.
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