Meet Bruce, the Black Mamba.
Another rainy weekend in Florida…what to do, what to do? A couple weeks ago I tentatively agreed to visit the Reptile Discovery Center in DeLand, a place I never knew existed, even though I lived in DeLand for 4 years. Just off International Speedway, this little spot feels like a snake museum and would have been really awesome if I hadn’t been so nauseous and tense the whole time. I am extremely scared of snakes. Still, I found the place to be enjoyable and educational and would recommend it to anybody. If you happen to like snakes and other reptiles, you should definitely visit!
I was recently asked to make an amigurumi Black Mamba and had pictured myself making a happy little black snake. Come to find out, black mambas are not actually black….nor are they the happiest of snakes. Deadly? Yes, very. Happy? Not so much. Apparently Black Mambas get their name from the black color in the inside of their mouths.
What was the very first snake I came across at the Reptile Discovery Center? Yep! A Black Mamba. It was more brownish-gray than anything…a pretty nondescript color that I found difficult to replicate. I ended up using a rusty brown cotton yarn mixed with a shiny silver bamboo yarn and the result was really cool! It’s not entirely accurate. The Mamba had more of a brownish back and a silvery underside, but I do like the way the mixed yarns looked like actual snake skin.
The Reptile Discovery Center is home to Medtoxin, billed as “a large-scale commercial venom production facility that collects venom from an array of venomous snakes for use in pharmaceuticals and medical research.” It’s really intense and interesting to watch the extractions. If you want to see what it’s like, here’s a short video we took while visiting.
Other than the extractions and the galleries of the most venomous snakes in the world including the gorgeous green mamba, cobras, pythons, boa constrictors, rattlesnakes of all kinds and many more, there is also a trail where you’ll find alligators, tortoises, many types of lizards, a basilisk, and turtles. There are bug spray stations available which you should definitely utilize. It was Deer Fly-crazy in the woods. Plus, before the venom extraction, we were given the opportunity to hold a baby alligator and a few big snakes.
The experience didn’t cure me of my snake fears, but I am proud of myself for having faced them….even if I did need ice cream afterwards. I’m also proud of myself for making this snake. I procrastinated as long as possible but, like the Reptile Discovery Center, I was glad I did it, once I’d done it.
I have another fear of blank white surfaces. Maybe I should go to the newly opened Hobby Lobby in Orange City this weekend, pick up a giant canvas, and fill it full of paint. What fears can you face this weekend?