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Children either love snakes or are afraid of snakes. I believe it is important for kids who live in the northeastern part of the United States to realize there are no poisonous snakes in our area. Learning the names of some of our more common snakes, like the garter snake, is helping children to be aware of their differences.
As a child, we often found garter snakes in the woods behind our house. This early experience helped me learn that snakes are not slimy, like many people think, but have a smooth, scaly feel. Some of the other common, non-poisonous snakes in the northeast are the milk snake, black racer and the hognose snake. These snakes eat mostly small animals like mice and frogs but also insects or worms. Snakes are warm-blooded, therefore, when it gets cold they must slow down their activity and find a warm place like under a log or in the ground. They do not truly hibernate, they go into brumation, which is the slowing down of their metabolism.
The adjacent illustration is a sliver of the double-page spread in Moonglow. (Cynthia Wells created all the illustrations and the motion effect.) If you are interested in hearing Cynthia talk about her digital illustration methods, or Peggy talk about natural history, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org