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Photo: Kentucky Department Fish And Wildlife

Less than two weeks remain to see a rare, two-headed copperhead snake before the Salato Wildlife Education Center in Frankfort closes for the winter.

The unique, month-old copperhead is on display from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. every Tuesday through Saturday. Time to view the snake is limited, however, as the Salato Center closes for the season after Nov. 21. Salato will reopen March 1, 2019.

The Salato Center closes seasonally each year to allow the staff to maintain and update exhibits and facilities. This helps ensure a quality experience for the 50,000 visitors who come to the center each year.

During this year’s closure, center staff plan to expand the existing indoor snake exhibit, among other projects. Work to clear hiking trails blocked by fallen trees is planned during this time. Staff closed trails through Davison Woods in the fall, due to the number of trees felled by a severe storm.

Fans of the Salato Center can see what’s going on behind the scenes during the winter closure by following the Salato Facebook or Salato Twitter page.

The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources operates the Salato Center to educate and inform the public about wildlife and conservation. The center is located off U.S. 60 in Frankfort, approximately 1½ miles west of the U.S. 127 intersection. A bronze deer statue marks the entrance of the main Kentucky Fish and Wildlife campus.

Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Salato is closed on Sunday, Monday and state holidays.

Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for youth 5 to 18. Children 4 and under are admitted free. The center also offers annual memberships for individuals and families.

In honor of Veteran’s Day, all veterans and active military personnel with valid identification will be admitted free on Saturday, Nov. 10.

The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources encourages youngsters – and the young at heart – to put on their costumes and join the Salato Wildlife Education Center staff in Frankfort for the best trick-or-treat experience in town on Saturday, Oct. 27.

Salato’s annual Halloween Walk with the Animals event features child-friendly activities including a hay bale maze, “Creatures of the Night” exhibit, face painting and – of course – plenty of candy. Kids will receive a “passport” which they can get stamped at more than a dozen candy stations scattered throughout the grounds. Salato staff and volunteers will be on hand to answer questions and the center’s indoor and outdoor exhibits will be open for viewing. The event will also feature food and beverage vendors.

The center will open at noon (Eastern) for the event, which runs until 4 p.m. Event admission is $5 per person (ages 2 and up). Annual membership holders and infants too young to participate receive free admission.

The Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Foundation sponsors Halloween Walk with the Animals. Proceeds from the event benefit the Salato center.

Walk with the Animals not only allows families to enjoy the traditions of Halloween, but it provides a great opportunity for visitors to see and learn more about Kentucky’s native wildlife. “Halloween Walk with the Animals is a fun community event that we look forward to hosting each year,” said Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Foundation Director Rachel Crume. “This event provides a unique venue, as well as a fun and safe environment in which families can enjoy the holiday.”

The Salato Center is operated by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. The center is off U.S. 60, approximately 1½ miles west of the U.S. 127 intersection. Look for the bronze deer statue at the entrance of the main Kentucky Fish and Wildlife campus.

Normal hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Salato is closed on Sunday, Monday and state holidays. The center will close for the winter after Nov. 21, then reopen in the spring of 2019.

Except for select events, admission is $5 for adults and $3 for youth 5 to 18. Children younger than 5 are admitted free. The center also offers annual memberships for individuals and families.

A two-headed copperhead snake born in the wild less than one month ago is now in the care of the Salato Wildlife Education Center and will be available for limited public viewing at the facility in Frankfort.

A Leslie County couple donated the rare snake for educational purposes after discovering it in their yard this month.

“I may encounter a two-headed snake in the wild every two or three years but a two-headed copperhead is a first for me,” said Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources State Herpetologist John MacGregor, a leading expert on snakes in Kentucky. “It is a really interesting animal to have on display and a unique opportunity for the public.”

The copperhead is one of four species of venomous snakes found in Kentucky. The others are the cottonmouth, timber rattlesnake and pygmy rattlesnake. Of those, the copperhead and timber rattlesnake are the most common in Kentucky.

A two-headed copperhead snake is extremely rare and its life expectancy in the wild typically is short because of physical limitations caused by the mutation.

“One big question is if the throat connects to the rest of the intestinal tract,” MacGregor said. “That is sometimes a problem with two-headed animals; neither head is completely formed, and there is no way they can swallow anything. Sometimes one head works and the other head does not. With this snake, both tongues work, so there is a pretty good chance that both are functional.”

The snake’s well-being is a top priority for the Salato Center’s staff.

As long as it appears to be in good health, the snake will be available for public viewing 10 a.m. to noon and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. starting Friday, Oct. 19.

Public viewing times are subject to change and do not include the Salato Center’s annual Halloween Walk with the Animals event scheduled Saturday, Oct. 27. Viewing times on the day of that event have not been determined.

“Salato is thrilled to host this unique animal,” said Heather “Teach” Teachey, Salato Center director. “We hope the snake will thrive under our care and be an educational ambassador of a native Kentucky species.”

The Salato Center is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Saturday. It is closed on Sunday, Monday and state holidays. Admission is charged for visitors ages 5 and older. Visitors can confirm if the snake is available for viewing on the day of their visit by calling 1-800-858-1549.

The Salato Center, operated by Kentucky Fish and Wildlife, is off U.S. 60, approximately 1½ miles west of the U.S. 127 intersection. Look for the bronze deer statue at the entrance of the main Kentucky Fish and Wildlife campus.

The Salato Center will be closed for the winter after Nov. 21.

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