save the snake

    In celebration of the Chinese Year of the Snake (February 10, 2013 - January 30, 2014), the Tai Chi Center of Chicago in collaboration with the Field Museums' Division of Amphibians and Reptiles and the Midwest Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation has created the "Year of the Snake" initiative that is open to all.

    In China the Snake is regarded with awe and veneration for they symbolize cosmic awareness, sage like spirituality, and rebirth. The Chinese believe that fairies, elves and demons often transform themselves into snakes!

    The mission is to learn more about the Plains Garter Snake (and all other native Illinois snakes), and raise funds from anyone who loves and cares that he/she continues to have a place to live within its natural habitat. All donated funds will go directly to the "Year of the Snake," fund then be donated directly to the Midwest Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation.

Thank you friends of the Snake, nearly $1,100.00 was donated!

    Year of the Snake Celebration and Fundraiser
    February 9th, Saturday, 8pm - 12am

    Below you will find information about the Year of the Snake Celebration and who YOUR donations will go to.

      Tai Chi Center of Chicago - 4043 N. Ravenswood #201 / #228
      Questions please call 773-396-2653 or

    • To welcome in the new year while having fun amongst friends!!!
    • To raise money for the Year of the Snake - Save The Plains Garter Snake. This year TC3 will support the Midwest Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation. Visit to learn more about SNAKES. Or if you are unable to attend the celebration you can still make a donation online.
    • To Bang the Bao Gong of course!
    • To Burn Joss Paper with your New Year wishes.
    • To read your horoscope for the Chinese New Year, 4710.

    • Bring whatever you need to make yourself comfortable.
    • New Year wishes/resolutions.
    • Some food and drinks will also be provided otherwise this is a potluck event; please bring your favorite organic dish. Call if you have questions.
    • Buckets of money! 100% of the proceeds will go to The Field Museum.

    • A suggested $20.00/person, $30/ couple or family.
      We know you work hard for you money so any amount is appreciated! Our goal is to raise $2,000.
    • For a $50.00 donation you will receive a limited edition, Year of the Snake poster designed by Sas Stark (see below).
    • For donations of $100 or more you will receive: the YEAR OF THE SNAKE poster; a reserved place in a personalized group tour of the Amphibians and Reptiles Collection, at The Field Museum which dates back to 1893! Our very own, Laurel Ross (Urban Conservation Director) and Alan Resetar (Herp Collection Manager) at The Field Museum, will lead the tour. Your museum admission fee will be waived the day of this tour, spring date to be decided.

      8:00pm - Doors open!
      Gong'n will take place on the hour and half hour only in order to give our ears a break.
      9:00pm - Providing serpentine sounds of the flute and drum, Quentin Shaw and Heather McQueen from Drumface are artist-musicians who make percussion instruments at their Logan Square studio. Visit their site or studio to find more information about events including artist workshops, drum classes, and rhythm immersion trips to Morocco. Drumface
      9:30pm - Year of the Snake the Puppet Show
      11:00pm - Joss Paper burning. You don't have to be here at this time but you must have your personalized paper prepared in order for me to burn it for you. Joss paper will be provided.
      12:00am - Doors close. See you next year, The Year of The Horse!

    save the snake
    Limited edition:
    Save the Plains Garter Snake poster
    Designed by Sas Stark
    11" x 17"
    13 pt. Recycled Matt Cover

    Who Your Donation Will Go To

    The Field Museum is active in many areas of conservation and education. Field Museum staff members interact with other individuals and organizations involved in similar activities. Midwest Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (MWPARC) is a regional working group of Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (PARC). Both the regional group (MWPARC) and national group (PARC) are dedicated to the conservation of native herpetofauna (reptiles and amphibians) and their habitats. The groups are inclusive partnerships and join scientists, students, agency personnel, landowners, industry, conservation organizations, universities, museums, zoos and the public. Annual meetings are held at different locations throughout the Midwest and are open to all. High school and college students can attend, confer with, and present papers alongside professional herpetologists.

    The Midwest region includes Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. There are 164 species of reptiles and amphibians native to the Midwest PARC region including 58 species of snakes. Much more information can be found on the MWPARC website -

    PARC and associated organizations have also designated 2013 as the Year of the Snake. See

    Donations made to Midwest PARC will support its wide-ranging conservation projects.

    Thanks for your concern for the earth and her inhabitants!!!!!!!!!

    Alan Resetar
    Collection Manager & Acting Divisional Manager, Amphibians and Reptiles Division of Amphibians and Reptiles
    Field Museum of Natural History

    About the Field Museums, Amphibian and Reptile Department

    The herpetological collections of The Field Museum of Natural History date from 1893 when the institution was known as the Columbian Museum of Chicago. From a small collection consisting mostly of specimens purchased from Ward's Natural History Establishment of Rochester, New York, the collection has grown to over 290,000 specimens and is now one of the six largest US herpetological collections. More about the Amphibian and Reptile Department can be found here:

    watch a snake shed its skin

    cool kid shares his love for snakes!

    Alan Resetar

    Bluffing Eastern Hog Nose snake. Even if offered a hand to strike when in this pose, it will not bite. If this bluff does not dissuade whatever is irritating the snake, it will roll over on its back and play dead.

    Interesting Facts About Snakes

  • There are about 2,500 species of snakes. Only about 20% are venomous.
  • Thirty-nine species of snakes inhabit Illinois, dwelling in forests, grasslands, marshes, swamps, ponds, lakes, streams, rivers, and sloughs. Some species are quite common, while others are very rare.
  • Most significant reason some of Illinois snakes are endangered or threatened: Habitat alteration, illegal trade of reptiles and killing of snakes because of misinformation, lack of information, and irrational fears.
  • Reptiles smell using the tip of their tongue, and a forked tongue allows them to sense from which direction a smell is coming.
  • Snakes do not have eye lids. They also do not have ears. They are totally deaf. However, they get to "hear" from the vibrations on the ground.
  • Snakes shed their shin when old skin is outgrown. This is usually achieved by the snake rubbing its head against a hard object, such as a rock (or between two rocks) or piece of wood, causing the already stretched skin to split. At this point, the snake continues to rub its skin on objects, causing the end nearest the head to peel back on itself, until the snake is able to crawl out of its skin, effectively turning the moulted skin inside-out. The snake's skin is often left in one piece after the moulting process, including the discarded brille, so that the moult is vital for maintaining the animal's quality of vision.
  • Some snakes are capable of flying. Actually, it is gliding from one tree branch to another. They flatten the body into a disc which enables gliding.

    About the Year of the Snake - Plains Garter Snake mascot

    Plains Garter Snake

  • Key Characters: Side stripes on scale rows 3-4; orange-yellow midback stripe; black bars on the margins of labial scales; back scales keeled; anal plate not divided.
    Similar Species: Eastern ribbonsnake, western ribbonsnake, common gartersnake, lined snake.
  • Subspecies: Eastern plains gartersnake, T. r. radix.
  • Description: Medium-sized (up to 100 cm TL) dark brown or black snake with an orange-yellow midback strip and a yellow-gray stripe on each side. Two rows of alternating black spots or blotches on the side. Belly gray-green with dark spots along the edges. Usually a pair of light spots on top of the head.
  • Habitat: Former black-soil prairies, cultivated fields, pastures, wet meadows and marshes, and vacant lots.
  • Natural History: One of the most cold-tolerant snakes, often emerging from hibernation to bask on warm, sunny winter days. Mates in April or May and gives birth to 5-30 young from August through early October. Newborn 15-25 cm TL. Does not bite as readily as the common garter snake when handled. Common prey are earthworms, slugs, and small amphibians. Predators include birds of prey, mammals, and other snakes. Large numbers are killed on roads each spring and autumn as they move to and from upland hibernacula.
  • Status: Common in the northern half of the state.

    Complete List of Snakes in Illinois

TC3 Home