Category Archives: Pictures

Snake Report

Lately I’ve gotten really interested in snakes. Our school is getting a snake named Ratters soon. Right now he lives with Jess until we have a cage for him (which she’s building). Since holding him and Jess and Zack’s other snakes a couple months ago I’ve been to a serpentarium (click to see my post about this trip) and Repticon.

After Repticon I asked my mom what it would take to for me to be able to have a snake, and she told me to write a thirty page report about snakes addressing the pros and cons of having a snake, as well as how to take care of them and keep yourself safe whilst doing so. I’ve been working on it for a couple of weeks (including over spring break in Universal) and I’m a quarter to a third of the way through depending on how you look at it.

So far I’ve written about rosy boas and I’m in the middle of writing about Pueblan milk snakes. I’ve explored how to care for the individual snakes in regards to food, water, heat, humidity, the enclosure they’re in, and shedding. Every kind of snake is so different in the care that they need! Rosy boas shouldn’t have too much access to water in case their cage gets too humid, but Pueblan milk snakes should have a water bowl big enough for them to soak in at all times.

Here’s what I wrote about rosy boas. Please let me know if I’m missing things, any information isn’t totally correct, or if you have experience with snakes and/or other reptiles. Distinguishing fact versus fiction with online information is hard, especially when I come across wildly varying articles and blog posts.

Rosy Boas

This is the rosy boa. They can come in many different colors including, but not limited to, rosy pink, salmon, orange, brown, gray, white, and black. They are easily identifiable by the three stripes down their backs.

Description

Rosy boas are are considered excellent beginner snakes for many reasons. They are easy to find because of their popularity and they are not expensive. You can get a Rosy boa for as little as 25 dollars. Other snakes cost hundreds, and even thousands, of dollars! Also, rosy boas’ temperaments are perfect for new snake owners and children. They are slow moving, docile and enjoy handling. They are also small snakes, even as adults. Their adult lengths are usually 2-3 feet, with very few reaching 4 feet. Their diameter as adults are around the size of a golf ball.

In the Wild

Rosy boas are found in the Southwestern United States and Northwestern Mexico. They live in rocky places where they can hide under rocks. It is best to buy a captive-bred snake for a couple of reasons. First, if you buy a wild-caught snake their temperament won’t be like a captive-bred snake that was handled from birth. It may also have parasites and injuries. Even if a wild-caught rosy boa didn’t have any such issues, if too many of them are taken from the wild there could be a potential problem with population. It is best to purchase snakes from breeders who know about the individual snake, its parents, and any issues it might have. Breeders should also let you know if they have any concerns about the snakes. They should be able to tell you how the snake is with eating and handling, and what the snake’s enclosure will need for your snake to thrive.

Enclosure

Because rosy boas are small, their enclosures don’t need to be large. Adults do very well in 20 gallon tanks, which are usually 24 x 13 x 13 inches. The enclosure needs to be escape proof because rosy boas are known for trying to escape. The top should be made out of a specific kind of screen, because the snake may try to escape and injure itself if it’s too rough or the holds in the screen are too large. Instead, the top should be made out of a softer screen with smaller openings.

This tank would be an ideal tank (minus the cactus and leopard gecko; never house snakes with your other pets). This tank is selling for about $170, but it is also possible to build your own tank with a kit for less money.

All snakes need something called substrate. Substrate is the material on the floor of the enclosure. Substrate can be wood chips, sand, and many other things. The substrate you choose should depend on the type of snake you have and what it needs. Different substrates contribute different things to the humidity, heat, and comfort level in the  enclosure.

In the rosy boa’s case, it’s best to use newspaper, paper towels, wood chips, or CareFresh. Carefresh is like the bedding for hamsters or other rodents. Substrate should be changed every two months, and immediately if there is any smell. Also, with rosy boas, if any water is spilled in the substrate it should be changed immediately as this can lead to serious health problems. Besides the bimonthly cleanings, spot clean the enclosure 2-3 times per week.

Another part of the setup should be hides. Hides can be anything from elaborate little homes and (fake) skulls from the pet store to tissue boxes. Hides make the snakes feel safe. Some snakes like hides better than others, so for some hides aren’t as important.

Rosy boas like to have two hides; one on either side of the enclosure. One hide being the warm hide, and one being the cool hide. The temperature of the enclosure can be managed by heat tape or a heating pad and thermometers. The gradient of the enclosure should be the low 70s on the cool side and the high 80s on the warm side.

Something else very important when it comes to snakes is humidity. Some snakes, like the reticulated python, require very high humidity. Other snakes require very low humidity. Rosy boas are one of the latter. They live in very low humidity areas like deserts, so the humidity of the enclosure should not be more than 60%. If the humidity gets too high, the snake can quickly get respiratory issues. This is very dangerous and can quickly lead to death.

Water

To keep the humidity down for the reasons mentioned above, you shouldn’t give your rosy boa constant access to water. Instead, put a water bowl in for 1 day 1-2 times per month. This way, your rosy boa still has access to water and the humidity won’t reach a dangerous level. As long as the snake eats well, the snake will stay hydrated from the mixture of biweekly water access and mice.

Food

Related to the water is the food. Rosy boas only need to be fed one mouse 2-4 times per month. The age of the mouse will correspond with the size of the snake. Baby rosy boas will eat the baby mice, called pinkies, while adults can eat small adult mice. When you get the mouse, it will be frozen. When it is time for your snake to eat, take the mouse (it will be in plastic packaging) and submerge it in warm water. To make sure the mouse is completely defrosted, squeeze it in the middle. If it is completely soft and you don’t feel anything frozen, it is safe to feed to your snake. After feeding, snakes should not be handled for two days or until the mouse is no longer visible in the body. If the snake is handled at this point then it may regurgitate the mouse, and nobody wants that.

Thanks for reading!

Serpentarium 12+ Trip

*Blog for Feb 12-16

This week I went on a super fun trip with kids ages 12 and up. I’m part of a group where we take turns planning trips with/for the older kids and our latest trip was to a serpentarium in Wilmington, NC. Zack (@zelda) did a great job planning it. We stayed at his grandparents’ condo for two nights and went to the Cape Fear Serpentarium, the beach, the Fort Fisher Aquarium, Fort Fisher, and a couple of little shops near the condo.

Left to right: Kate, Liberty, Elisha, Caleb, Andrew, Ireland, Jordan, Zack, Me, Will, and Ralphie.

The Serpentarium

A serpentarium is like a museum/zoo that shows snakes, lizards, and other reptiles. We went to the Cape Fear Serpentarium which, according to the website, has the largest and most rare venomous snake collection in the country.

It was so amazing! I saw so many different types of snakes, including a black mamba (pictured) that either liked me or wanted to eat me. It was really cool to see a black mamba because when I was younger I was super interested in them and re watched a documentary about them probably five times. I felt proud of myself for knowing what kind of snake it was before looking at the sign. Black mambas are extremely venomous (5/5 on the venom scale) and their bites are known as the kiss of death.

Black mamba and me.

 

There were also lizards and turtles, as well as alligators and crocodiles. I was really impressed with the variety and sheer number and size of the collection. We learned that all of the animals are taken care of by one person. That’s a huge job! Jess got their contact information and I’m hoping we might be able to help them out some time. Here are some more pictures:

Not a snake.
Blood Boas
Friendly snake
This snake is so cool because it looks like leaves.
cute snek

Aquarium

Liberty and me at the aquarium.

We also went to the Fort Fisher Aquarium. That was a lot of fun. We saw a dive show where two scuba divers went into a huge tank with fish, sharks, turtles, and an eel and answered questions through an underwater walkie talkie system that we could hear outside the tank. We learned that green moray eels (pictured below) aren’t actually green. They’re blue, but the slime they secrete everywhere is yellow  making them appear green! I thought that was super cool.

Green moray eel

Something the Fort Fisher Aquarium is famous for is Luna; their albino alligator. Albino alligators can’t survive in the wild. A big reason is that because they’re albino, they can get sunburns super easily. An alligator’s instinct is to bask in the sun. If an albino alligator basked in the sun and did what they wanted for just a couple of weeks, they would probably die from sun poisoning.

 

Fort Fisher

Unfortunately, we had to go through Fort Fisher really fast. We didn’t have time to read the signs and I don’t really remember anything from the quick movie we watched beforehand. I will say that it was a nice walk around outside and the mounds around the fort were cool, though.

I hope you enjoyed reading about my trip. The reason this is so late is because I’m on spring break (Universal Studios!!) and just now had a free few minutes to finish this up.

Bye!

*Not at the Serpentarium, This is at Repticon the Sunday after the trip.

Geometry, American History, and My Haircut

It’s been too long!

Recently I’ve been focusing on learning geometry because I have a test in June. I’ve always taken the EOGs (End Of Grade) for fun, but this year in 9th grade I have to for the state. I’ve been learning geometry on Khan Academy. I really love Khan Academy because the teacher talks to you and demonstrates everything on the screen with a stylus. There are also practice tests that will give you extra videos to help you with what you need to work on. In the past, I always learned about genetics and the circulatory system on Khan, but I’m realizing it’s a great place to learn math as well! My goal is to complete the geometry section of Khan before my test in June.

Something else I’ve been doing is working on my knowledge of American History. I got A Young People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn for Hanukkah. The books starts when America was “discovered” (but not really discovered because people were already here) and goes to sometime after the year 2000. Right now I’m in the early nineteen hundreds. The book is really good (unlike much of the history inside of it)! I like how you see the events from different perspectives. We hear what the rich white people said in addresses and speeches, what the free/enslaved black people said in front of  large groups of people or in meetings, and what the middle class wrote in newspapers and pamphlets. There is also an entire chapter dedicated to the activist women in the 1800s. I highly suggest this book (or the original adult book if you want) if you’re interested in American history.

One more thing. I got a big haircut! Now my hair is the shortest it’s been in ten years.

Bye!

 

The Way Of Adventure Library Selfie

A few people from Wings (@tomis, @michaelgadhia, @libby, and I) are participating in Blake Boles’ “Way Of Adventure” Course. Our first challenge out in the community was to go to our local library, ask a librarian to help us find a book, and then take a selfie with them.

I decided that I would ask for/get a book about German grammar, because that’s one of the most (if not the most) difficult things about learning German (or any other language, for that matter).

I actually found a great book with German sentences to use in any situation including

  • Shopping, home improvement, restaurants.
  • Greetings, goodbyes, introductions, and telephone calls.
  • The weather.
  • Train station, hotel, post office, airport, auto shop, and the doctor’s office.

There are so many more, but I won’t bore you any longer.

Needless to say, this should be a very helpful book to look over! I also got a book called Ein Hund fürs Leben. The translation is (I think) A Dog for Leben. I’m hoping I’ll be able to understand it!

Now, the selfie with the librarian was very awkward. I think that Liberty documented the experience beautifully in her own blog about the challenge, therefore I’ll quote her a bit on this one. Green = Liberty’s words.

We were all acting really awkward when we asked for our selfie. The librarian came around the desk for the picture and waited for probably 20 seconds while Michael was trying to figure out how to take a selfie. Then Alona finally just grabbed the phone from him. The selfie was then taken, and we thanked the librarian and hurried out. 

I have a feeling this course is going to be a real challenge, but I think we are all very excited to see what other ridiculous things we need to do in this course.

Left to right: Me, Librarian, Michael, Liberty.

 

 

Winthrop Eagles

This week, as you probably know, was the beginning of March Madness/March Mayhem/NCAA Tournament. In case you don’t know, this is a tournament between the top college men’s basketball teams in the country. There are 64 teams who play each other until there is a winner.

There is a college called Winthrop University out of Rock Hill, South Carolina. This year, Winthrop made it into the NCAA tournament for the the first time in (I believe) ten years! The reason this is exciting for me is because my family knows two of the players; Anders and Bjorn Broman, who are brothers. Because we know them, we get to go to a lot of Winthrop’s home games.

There was a Selection Sunday watch party at the Winthrop Coliseum my family went to. Winthrop was the number 13 seed and was going to play against the number 4 seed.

Thursday, March 16th the Winthrop Eagles played the Butler Bulldogs in Milwaukee. They unfortunately lost by 12 points, but it was still a really good game to watch. It wouldn’t have been such a sad loss if it wasn’t the last time I’ll see the seniors (Keon Johnson, Tevin Prescott, Josh Davenport, Hunter Sadlon, and Roderick Perkins) play.

I’ve decided to draw all of the Winthrop players and then get it autographed! I have drawn 14 of the 16 players on the team, including red-shirted players. Here’s my progress so far!

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Algebraic Algorithms

This week I learned a really cool algorithm in Algebra “Class” with @nancy and @gabe. I can now figure out the slope intercept formula (y=mx+b) as well as the standard form of a line (AX + BY= C) from two points on a graph, without a graph.

 

So… I wrote an entire long blog post explaining how to do everything in detail, and then I realized I made a huge mistake in the very beginning that affects the entire post. Now I’ve decided just to post a picture of how I did it, and if you really want to know, google it.

mathforreal

The Curly Girl Method

Hi! I’ve mentioned the Curly Girl Method a few times on my blog, but not in much detail. I thought that I’d do just that.

The Curly Girl Method is for anyone who has wavy or curly hair. The basic idea is to only use conditioner, gel or mousse. No shampoo. I know, I know. No shampoo?! Trust me, my hair is very clean. Shampoo contains sulfates, which strip the hair of its natural oils. Some shampoo (and pretty much any other types of hair products) also contains silicone, which coat your hair in plastic, making it so that no moisture can get through to your hair. Ever. For your hair to be healthy, it needs moisture, and it can’t get that when it’s coated with plastic.

To start the Curly Girl Method (or CGM), you need to do a final wash. This is washing with a shampoo that has sulfates, but not silicone. You can also use diluted dish soap. The sulfates wash out the silicone so that you can start anew with non-plastic-y hair. Then, you add conditioner. The conditioner can’t contain sulfates or silicone.  It all depends on your hair with how much conditioner, which conditioner, if you leave some in or not, etc.

Personally, I leave in one HUGE handful of Suave Essentials conditioner. That’s right, I don’t wash it out. My hair loves moisture that much!

The next time you wash your hair, instead of shampoo or dish soap, just use your CG (Curly Girl Method Safe) conditioner to wash your hair. Put some on your dry scalp (and, if you want, dry hair) and scrub your scalp. Don’t use your nails, though. Scrub until you feel like your arms are falling off, then get into the shower. Scrub some more so that all of the conditioner is out of your hair and off of your scalp. Put some more conditioner in your hair and let it sit like you would with normal conditioner, and shower as normal. Once your shower is over, rinse all of the conditioner out while combing through your hair with your fingers or a wide tooth comb. Now, add some more conditioner in your hair. It should feel like wet seaweed and your fingers should be able to go through it effortlessly. I suggest doing this with your head upside down; it’s easier on the arms. I then add another handful of conditioner and work it into my hair. This is too much for some people, and not enough for others, so you just have to figure out what’s best for you!

Once you’ve finished with that, put some gel in your hair. Remember, the gel can’t contain silicone or sulfates! I like to scrunch my gel in, but it’s up to you. You don’t need to use gel, but that works best for most people.

It’s normal for your hair to need to transition. For some people, their hair looks good right away. For others it takes up to 3 months. During the transition period the hair is usually limp, possibly greasy looking, and overall unappealing. But once you get past that stage, your hair will probably look so much better! I know mine did. Here are some pictures:

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My hair when I was little.
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Before the CGM. I wore my hair in a ponytail 24/7.

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This is after my first time doing the CGM. I didn’t know about the final wash, so I didn’t actually do one.
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Right after my first DevaCut. My hair was cut dry so that she could see how my hair naturally fell.
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My 13th Birthday! A couple weeks after my DevaCut.

 

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A few months after my first DevaCut.

Over time, my hair got curlier and curlier. Now, a year after my first DevaCut, my hair is pretty curly.

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My 14th birthday! This was yesterday 🙂 (March 1st, 2017)

If you have any questions about the Curly Girl Method, comment, and I’ll do my best to answer them!

I hope you’ll give it a try 🙂

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Pictures of my family!

As promised, here are pictures of my family.

Let’s start out with me. Because, I think we can all agree, I was by far the most adorable child.

alona-blue-dress alona1shavuot_2_face0 alona5mts_face0  alona10mts

I don’t know how old I was in these pictures, but it really doesn’t matter.

Here’s my little sister Sarah Elisha when she was little.

elisha1yrclose_face0 elisha6wkstongue_face0

elisha10mtssmilefar_face0 elisha10mtseatfinger_face0  elisha1yrplayblks

Ok, maybe she was almost as cute as me. But not quite.

Here are my parents: Eric and Leigh

daddycreepystatue
Daddy in the Louvre in France!
momma
Momma in France
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In Paris, France
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In front of some water somewhere
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Wedding day!

 

This is my brother, Balto Paws.

balto balto3 balto4 balto5

Yes, I know he’s a dog. But don’t tell him that.

Here are some more pictures that I found.

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Me
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Also me
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Elisha
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Elisha and I

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Here are some more recent pictures because, as you probably can tell, I’m not anywhere near 13 in these pictures.

alona alona2 alona3 elisha elisha2 elisha3

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Me before a swing dance

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