Field Museum hires new curator for reptiles, amphibians

The Field Museum held a creepy show-and-tell Friday, perfect for the Halloween season.

What may seem frightening to many, is fascinating to Sara Ruane.

"I've always liked snakes ever since I was a little kid, I used to love going out and touching things and putting them in jars," explained Sara Ruane, PhD, new Assistant Curator of Herpetology at the Field Museum.

She turned that childhood interest into a career, traveling the world to study how snakes evolve and their roles in diverse ecosystems. 

That means catching lots and lots of snakes.

"[It's] a real adrenaline rush because all these things are happening in seconds in your mind, like ah, it's a snake, what is it, I know what it is, grab it real fast," said Ruane.


Dr. Ruane is showing off the museum's behind-the-scenes specimens that are perfect for Halloween.

Her favorite is the spider tailed viper, a snake with a spider looking tail that lures birds to dinner. 

It sat in the museum for 40 years before scientists realized it didn't just have a wonky tail. This was a never before discovered species.

Ruane said she hopes she can move our fear of snakes to appreciation.

"When I tell them about snakes or show them something like that spider tail viper, I hope that it makes them feel a little bit more appreciative of just how unique they are amongst animals," said Ruane.

And, she says, there are endless cool stories to make us give these slithering creatures another look.