Although not one of my favorite activities, appearing on television to promote Imperial National Wildlife Refuge and our programs has been necessary at times over the past few years. During these appearances, we include the snakes and occasionally some other critters, as well as a few skulls from our collection.
Spike, the kingsnake, has made a big hit with Yuma’s channel 13 weatherman, Joey Norton. Holding Spike coiled in his hand, Joey delivers the forecast, occasionally pointing out different temperatures around the country. “Spike wouldn’t like the weather here,” he says, pointing to frigid temperatures in the north, “but he loooooves the climate here,” pointing to mid-70s in Arizona.
Our latest visit to the TV station once again found Spike in the Joey’s hands as he delivered his forecast, indicating areas of preference and dislike. When finished, still holding Spike, Joey sat down next to the anchor during an ad. When the ad ended, images of a rogue Santa appeared, a story narrated by the station’s anchor as she sat next to Joey.
Toward the end of her narration, viewers watching from home must have noticed the anchor choke back a giggle. While she was reading the script, Spike had begun slithering up Joey’s jacket sleeve. Joey pointed it out to us just before clamping his hand over his mouth to keep from bursting out laughing.
Return to the Desk
Returning to the news desk, the camera revealed Spike disappearing up Joey’s sleeve. “Look – he’s coming out the front of my jacket!” Joey said as he peeled back the jacket and watched Spike’s head emerge. The snake’s tail still extended from the sleeve.
The newscast ended with Spike snuggled in Joey’s jacket, both ends still protruding from different areas. With the camera off, Chuck helped Joey extract the snake, gently tugging it free of the front of the jacket.
Some viewers may have been revolted at the scene; others may have been amused. Either way, animals steal the show!