Cornelia (on the left in the top picture) is a Carolina corn snake, originally bred by the late Dave Lester. Unfortunately she was sold to a student who was unable to care for her properly, and subsequently rescued and adopted by Ray Miller, who eventually sold her to me.
She is approximately 3 ft long and thinner than Sam; this is normal for corn snakes - the females are smaller than the males because the males fight at mating time. I bought her in May 1997, and she and Sam met on the 10th of June 1997. She was then 5 years old, and had laid several clutches of eggs with previous mates. Sam presumably thinks of her as the older woman. They liked each other, and Sam pursued and mated with her the same day they met. However, it's possible that he wasn't quite ready at that point, since there were no offspring.
On 29th May 1998 Cornelia laid 22 eggs. The picture to the right shows her laying (but actually in 1999, since the picture was much clearer). Her head is to the right
Twenty eggs hatched, and Cornelia laid another eleven eggs the same weekend. She has gone on to lay similar quantities in 1999; see the baby snake page for more details.
Cornelia's first owner kept her under poor conditions, in a cage with a very hot light, and she had several layers of skin on her body because there wasn't enough moisture for her to shed properly. After prolonged soaking she finally got rid of the last of her skin, but unfortunately lost the tip of her tail in the process. Ray Miller nursed her back to health, and it's hardly noticeable today, it just looks a little thin and slightly bent at the end.
Cornelia was named (by her first owner) after Jerry Cornelius, hero of some of Michael Moorcock's SF. The fact that the name begins with "corn" may also be a reason for this choice...
If you want to send e-mail to a snake, Cornelia can be reached at email@example.com. She may not have much to say in reply!
The camera used for the older photographs on Cornelia's and Sam's web pages is an ancient Canon F1. For close-up pictures a 135mm macro lens was used. Since I try to avoid using flash for animal photographs they were mostly shot at low shutter speeds and wide apertures; this meant that many of the pictures were unusable. For future pictures I may go over to diffused flash, which shouldn't harm their eyes. They were scanned using an HP Scanjet 5p and edited using Micrografyx Photomagic software. The picture at the top of each page was taken with a Casio QV10 electronic camera, which gave good results but maximum resolution of only 320x240; I've since traded it in for a Minolta Dimage, used for the egg-laying picture above.
updated: August 1999