Wednesday, June 20 , 2018, 10:24 pm | Fair 63º


Sssmitten by Sssnakes? Ssslither Over to Wheeler Visitor Center

Peter Triem shows a Ruthven’s king snake from Central Mexico. Triem will be at the Wheeler Gorge Visitor Center on Saturday for the “Snakes, Snakes and More Snakes” presentation. (Mike Havstad / Wheeler Gorge Visitor Center photo)

Bob Kilpatrick and Peter Triem, licensed wildlife rehabilitators with the Ojai Raptor Center, will return for their fourth year with their “Snakes, Snakes and More Snakes” presentation at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Wheeler Gorge Visitor Center. They will entertain and educate the audience about the varieties of snakes found in Southern California. Of special interest to many people will be the rattlesnake.

This year, the outdoor audience experience will be more enjoyable with shade provided by canopies. There is also a new indoor public restroom on the premises. Seabee volunteers from Port Hueneme completed major renovations to our bathroom, kitchenette, storage room and hallway at the end of March, and local contractors finished the detailed work just as the season began.

Other changes since last year include two large display cases, one that will house taxidermy displays of an acorn woodpecker on a granary, a gray fox stalking a quail, local birds and other educational materials. The second case will be dedicated to information and props about the California condor.

The program is geared toward all ages. Curious about which snakes make great pets and which ones are escape artists? Do you know how to properly handle and take care of them? Or, do you just have a curiosity for nature?

Children can earn the Los Padres National Forest Junior Ranger Badge. Donations, which are used to pay for programs, are $3 for adults, $2 for youths ages 5 to 18, and children younger than 5 are free.

The Wheeler Gorge Visitor Center is located on Scenic Highway 33, a half-hour north of Ventura.

Mike Havstad is director of the Wheeler Gorge Visitor Center.

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