SUISUN CITY — Slim, a California gopher snake, rested comfortably on Jerry Emaneelson’s arms as it soaked up the sun’s rays.
“He likes the warm,” Emaneelson said, petting the snake’s skin.
Snakes are often referred to as “cold-blooded,” perhaps by those who fear them. But as it turns out, snakes are truly cold-blooded because they have to regulate their body temperature using the air around them.
Gopher snakes like Slim are not poisonous or even dangerous. The main way to tell the difference between a gopher snake and a poisonous rattlesnake is to listen for a rattling sound. Daredevils can go one step further and look into their eyes – gophers have round pupils, rattlesnakes have cat-like slits.
At the Suisun Wildlife Center Saturday, children and adults shrieked with excitement and stared in wonder at creatures like Slim and Tank the Western pond turtle as Monique Ligouri, executive director of the Wildlife Center, introduced them.
Once a year, the Wildlife Center gives the public insight into animals they might never have had the opportunity to see. All of the animals are wounded and being cared for and treated until they can go back into the wild.
Shelley the turtle wore a green cover over her shell, which will help repair it. Wildlife Center staff believe that Shelley was run over by a car.
“She just keeps on going,” Ligouri said.
The Suisun Wildlife Center is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily at 1171 Kellogg St.
Reach Heather Ah San at 427-6977 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/HeatherMalia.