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7/8/2009 Shout About South Carolina: Edisto Island Serpentarium, a thriller outdoor escape between Charleston and Beaufort

Discover the slithering, mystifying world of reptiles in their natural habitat at Edisto Island Serpentarium, an hour drive from Charleston and Beaufort. Just watch your step, duck your head and keep distance from the streams and ponds…you never know who’s watching!

Only 10 years old, the Edisto Island Serpentarium is a culmination of 50 years of snake hunting adventure by local brothers Ted and Heyward Clamp. The modern indoor facility and beautifully landscaped outdoor gardens are designed to give visitors the same exhilaration they have enjoyed for years when encountering a reptile in its natural habitat.

Admission is $12.95 adults, $9.95 children 6-12, $5.95 children 4-5, and free for those 3 years and under. The serpentarium is open Monday to Saturday 10AM to 6PM (Thursday, Friday and Saturday August 17 - September 5). After Labor Day the place shuts down until April of next year.

What’s fun to see and do at Edisto Serpentarium

• Get the inside scoop, pet a harmless snake and watch a venomous cottonmouth water moccasin slither at your feet at the daily educational snake programs (11AM, 1, 3 and 5PM). “Deal or no deal?” Learn the truth about Coachwhip, Hoop Snake and Shatter Snake myths.

• Join in the live alligator feeding frenzy (daily at 12 and 4PM) when Big George, Trouble and Sampson rule the Green Pond. Beware they like to snap their massive jaws and splash you with water!

• Fall in love with turtles of all colors, shapes and sizes. There are box turtles, red-eared sliders, diamondback terrapins, soft-shelled turtles and the VIPs…Bubba and Shelly, the enormous alligator snapping turtles.

Interesting trivia:
• When threatened the Florida soft shelled turtle will blow heavily, lift up on her front feet and snap aggressively to fend off predators. She’ll even make short clumsy lounges to get them off her back!

• The alligator snapper is the largest fresh water turtle in North America. An omnivore, it feeds on both plants and fish. It hunts by lying motionless in the water with its mouth wide open using its worm-like tongue to lure in prey.

• Next to the water turtles exhibit enjoy watching Joe Turtle and Spike, African Spur-Thigh Tortoises, the largest land turtle in the world (Galapagos is an island tortoise)!

• Browse the magnificent indoor exhibits, filled with Lowcountry snakes (mostly captured by the Clamp brothers) like the cottonmouth moccasins, copperheads, king and coral snakes, as well as world’s famous giants: Burmese Python, Green Anaconda and King Cobra.

• Step back in time and see what kind of animals roamed the seas, marshes and land of the Carolinas: saber tooth tigers, giant cats, mammoth sharks and rats!

Family attractions around Edisto Island
• Enjoy the natural beauty of the untamed Botany Bay Plantation and Edisto Island. There are guided turtle walks, dolphin kayak tours and sunset boat cruises starting at $15 per person. Call (843)-869-2998 or email to book your tour.

• Visit the Edisto Island Museum to learn about the island’s tumultuous history, experience the rich Gullah culture and admire a large collection of artifacts, photographs and fossils ($4 for adults, $3 for seniors and free for children under 10).

  Edisto Chamber of Commerce
42 Station Court
P.O. Box 206
Edisto Island, SC 29438


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