Saying Goodbye to Oscar

On May 3, the Wildlife Center staff made the difficult decision to humanely euthanize Oscar the Eastern Hog-nosed Snake, one of the beloved ambassador snakes. Oscar has been a part of the Wildlife Center’s family since September 2015. During the past several months, Oscar's health has been declining; both of Oscar's eyes developed severe cataracts earlier this year, rendering her almost completely blind. More recently, Oscar began losing weight and had difficulty staying hydrated. Recent bloodwork performed in the Center's lab revealed abnormalities. Given the decline in Oscar's health, the staff decided the kindest thing to do was to humanely euthanize Oscar.

Oscar came to the Center when she was approximately one year old. She had formerly been kept as a pet in Richmond but was given to the Center because her caretaker could no longer care for her. Because Center staff did not know when or where Oscar was taken from the wild, she could not be released and made the transition to become an ambassador snake.

Oscar quickly became one of the Wildlife Center's most adored snakes. During her time at the Center, Oscar met more than 23,000 people through tours and programs and everyone she met -- even those afraid of snakes -- came away with a deeper appreciation for these often misunderstood animals. Kids loved to see Oscar's upturned nose and learn that hog-nosed snakes play dead (that's how she got her name -- her species' "acts of death" are Oscar-worthy!), and adults were equally amazed by her calm nature and beautiful pattern. Oscar far exceeded her role as an ambassador snake and left a lasting impression on everyone lucky enough to meet her.

Oscar was about 10 years old when she passed away. It can be difficult to tell exactly how a snake is feeling, but Center staff did everything they could to make her last days as comfortable as possible—extra meals, fluids, and plenty of rest while staff closely monitored her health. Oscar spent her last moments in the loving care of her Wildlife Center family.

Oscar the Eastern Hog-nosed Snake resting on a rock in the Center's garden

Rest in peace, Oscar. You made our world a better place, and you will be greatly missed.