The past few days have been quite an adventure. I am one of the TAs for an intro biology course. The lab this week was "animal diversity"; as you can imagine I was looking forward to this one all semester.
The lab itself was a little boring - well, depending on if you enjoy looking at dead things in jars or not (I certainly do, but I know not everyone does!). The only live specimens were echinoderms and cnidarians, and the only real activity was a quick crayfish dissection. So I thought I should liven things up a bit.
Enter Bijou the ball python! I had her around my neck for the labs I TAed, and brought her for 10-15 minute presentations in most of the other lab sections. I used her to demonstrate some general concepts about reptiles and their evolutionary history, and answered lots of questions. Students got to touch/hold her if they wanted, and their reactions were my favorite part. There were so many students who had never held a snake before, or were afraid, but Bijou was such a sweetie. I think she was able to change a lot of peoples' minds about snakes. She also got to hang out with me through the day, she was well behaved and well liked among everyone who got to spend time with her. I'd love if she could keep me company every day, but that cute face would be too much of a distraction.