When Jill Clapp met George back in 1995, she was a bit nervous. "I was pretty upset for a second," she says, recalling the first time George touched her hand. But before long, as he gently snaked his long, smooth body down hers and poked his head into her pocket, she was in love. "Well, as much as you can love a reptile."
Another woman in the pet store exclaimed, "He's a curious guy!" Clapp remembers. That's how she decided up on the name -- George, "as in Curious George."
The owner of that pet store, which has long since closed, told Clapp the corn snake had hatched in May of 1993. On May 28, Clapp and her class of preschoolers at St. Paul Child Development Center in Mountain View celebrated George's 20th birthday -- that's pretty old for a corn snake.
The children sang, gave him some presents -- including a new log for his terrarium -- and ate cupcakes with "little gummy snakes" on top.
Clapp says that over the years George has served as an educational pet in her classroom. She uses George to teach the children how snakes shed their skin; about how some animals, like George, hunt and kill their prey before eating it; and she has also helped many youngsters, and their parents, get over their fear of the slithering creatures.