Eagle Scout project gives 'Jake the Snake' a new home
Troop 107 Boy Scouts Ric Heiges (from left), Ryan Pickering and Isaiah Bednash help Ricky Pickering (behind the habitat) move Jake the Snake's new boa constrictor habitat from Bednash's home on Florida Strasse to Wiesbaden High School.

WIESBADEN, Germany - Wiesbaden High School's "Jake the Snake" has a new home thanks to Troop 107 Boy Scout Ricky Pickering, who built it to fulfill one of the requirements to become an Eagle Scout.

Jake - a female - is a seven-foot-long boa constrictor who eats two dead rats every two weeks and lives in the classroom of science teacher Chris Limes. She outgrew the large tank Limes had kept her in since she was a foot-long baby, and Limes asked the school's Booster Club for money to get her a new home.

Pickering's mother, Tammy Pickering, is a member of the club, and she suggested he take on the project. Ricky thought it was a good idea. Joe Bednash, another member of the club, offered his extensive experience as a builder to help out with the project.

"I just showed this guy a picture and he and the boys built it," Limes said June 14, the day Ricky Pickering and a few of his fellow Scouts rolled the home from the Bednashs' back yard to the high school.

Pickering said he is thankful for the help he received on the project from Bednash, and other Boy Scouts, including Ric Heiges, Will Heiges, Ryan Pickering and Isaiah Bednash, who helped him move the habitat from the Bednashs' back yard on Florida Strasse to the high school. Pickering also thanked Dave Eidem, a math teacher at the school, and personnel at the Self Help Store, for their help on the project as well.

Limes said he bought Jake in 2001 when she was a one-foot-long baby, and she used to be able to climb through the eye-hole of a cow skull he kept in her tank.

"She's a low-maintenance animal," Limes said. "You don't have to take her out for a walk. You feed her and you clean her cage once a week, and that's about all you have to do. She's cold blooded, so you don't have to feed her much. A comparable-sized warm blooded animal would eat about 80 percent more."

Limes said he received an estimate from a company, and a similar boa constrictor home would have cost about $3,000. Instead, with the only cost being materials, and many of them donated, the home costs well under a third of that amount to build.

The rank of Eagle Scout is the highest rank in Boy Scouting, and in order to complete the requirements, Scouts must complete a community service project. Pickering said he does not know when his Eagle Scout Court of Honor will be held because he still has a few other requirements to fulfill for the rank.

The project took more than 40 working hours to build, Pickering said.

Pickering said he has been a Boy Scout for six years, and before that he went through the Cub Scout ranks. He enjoys the camping and the camaraderie of his fellow Scouts the most. "Everyone in the Troop gets along," he said.

As for snakes, "I don't hate snakes," Pickering said, "but I'm not much into them."

Page last updated Tue July 2nd, 2013 at 00:00