Pet snakes slither into Stillwater’s public library Oct. 20

(STILLWATER, OKLA. / Oct. 3, 2016) – Staff at OSU’s Avian, Exotic and Zoological Service is encouraging community members to forget about their fear of snakes and instead invite snakes into their homes as pets. “Pets as Snakes,” a class at the Stillwater Public Library on Thursday, Oct. 20, from 6:30 p.m., will help the public understand the joys and challenges of welcoming these creatures into their lives.

kanda-and-snake“Snakes have become popular as pets as people have found they are quiet and don’t need to be walked, so they do well in an apartment or urban home,” said Ian Kanda, Registered Veterinary Technician in the Avian, Exotic and Zoological Service at OSU’s Boren Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital. “They also come in all colors and sizes, and breed well in captivity, so they are readily available.”

Kanda, along with the service’s Dr. Joao Brandao, will be presenters at the library class where participants will learn where to get a snake and how to house, feed and keep them. The class also includes a question and answer period and the audience will get to handle a pet snake.

“This class is designed for all ages,” said Kanda. “Snakes can make good pets for children because they are low maintenance and their lack of fur means they are hypoallergenic. However, there are some important considerations to letting children have a snake, which we will discuss at the class.”

Kanda attended Northern Alberta Institute of Technology where he received his Animal Health Technology diploma in 2000. He is currently pursuing a veterinary technician specialty in exotic companion animals.

Kanda co-founded the Alberta Amphibian and Reptile Conservancy (AARC) and in 2014 conducted a population census on red-sided garter snake hibernaculum. He was also president of the Edmonton Reptile and Amphibian Society from 2010-2014 and was honored with a Legacy Award prior to moving to Oklahoma. Ian has been keeping and breeding reptiles and amphibians for 26 years.

Brandao, originally from Oporto, Portugal, earned his veterinary degree from the University of Tras-os-Montes e Alto Dourvo in Vila Real, Portugal. Following graduation, Brandao completed a one year internship in avian and exotic animals at the Great Western Referrals in Swindon, United Kingdom, followed by a one year internship in zoological medicine at Tufts University in North Grafton, Mass., and the University of Georgia in Athens, Ga.

After his internships, Dr. Brandao completed a three year zoological medicine residency and Master of Science degree in Veterinary Clinical Sciences at the Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, La. Currently, Dr. Brandao is an assistant professor in the department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences at Oklahoma State University.

Besides caring for ailing exotic pets like snakes, OSU’s Avian, Exotic and Zoological Service cares for sick or injured wildlife free of charge to the public.  However, the treatments provided to wildlife must be covered by donations as the hospital does not receive any designated state funds for this purpose.

“The wildlife service treats approximately 500 animals per year at an average cost of $80 per animal,” said Kanda. “That adds up to $40,000 per year, so donations are greatly appreciated and needed in order for us to continue providing care for these wonderful animals.”

To find out more about making a donation or about services, contact the Veterinary Medical Hospital at (405) 744-7000. To find out more about the “Pets as Snakes” class, visit the library’s website at http://library.stillwater.org, email askalibrarian@stillwater.org or call 405-372-3633 x 8106.

The class is free and open to the public. No registration is needed. The library has a variety of books and picture books on snakes and keeping snakes as pets that are available for check out. For assistance, please stop by the Help Desk.

Library hours are MondayThursday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. The Stillwater Public Library is located at 1107 S. Duck St. (the corner of Duck and 12th Ave.).