Acquired: Wild caught / rehabilitation animal
Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Posted Jul 14, 2015
When I was 14 I went to live with my birth mother in Florida. Along with three siblings, I inherited a snake. My mother had four snakes at that time. 1 Red Tail Common Boa (my mother’s snake, and the largest of the bunch at 7 ft), and 3 Rainbow Boa's (all roughly 5 ft). My sister's wasted no time pulling out their snakes to show me, and I was fascinated with the idea of snakes as pets.
The last snake to be pulled out was Eerie, and my mother had to do it because, although it was my sister's snake, he was not very friendly with her. I was determined for him to like me, so I poured on the charm. Eerie and I become fast friends, and within a week my sister had given him to me.
My mother showed me how to care for his tank and how to feed him. We had these 3 large yellow popcorn makers on the porch, the kind you used to find at the fairgrounds, that my mother was using to breed rats. We never had to buy snake food because we bred our own and sold the surplus back to the pet store.
I had to learn how to feed Eerie. His feeding schedule was every 2-3 weeks. My mother showed me how to kill them right before feeding them so they did not injury the snakes. Rocket (the largest snake) had a 2 inch scar on her scales from eating a particularly feisty rat when she was younger. Ever since then my mother insisted on killing them first. I was not entirely comfortable with this part but it just so happened that my younger sisters were accustomed to doing it so I had put on a brave face. It was not pleasant but I did it. I was more afraid of looking like a wimp than killing the rat. Plus I wanted to make my snake happy.
Eerie was a great pet. He was gentle, sweet and curious. I have no idea how he got his name. They say he earned it - but he liked me for some reason. If I had named him I would have called him sugar lips or kissy-face or something like that. He would wrap his lower body around my forearm and hover in front of my mouth; his little forked tongue darting in and in out. I felt like he was giving me kisses. Sometimes he would do the same thing in my ear. He loved to rest his head on my lips and chin when I lay back on the couch.
He was so good with me when I took him out that my mother let me bring him with us when went to places like Daytona Beach or Lake Eola. Food shopping with him was always fun. He had a habit of wrapping up in my bra and shirt, and then popping his head out to say hello when I stood still.
Is it strange to say that I would pet my snake? I think not. His scales were smooth and I knew to only rub downwards. He was also very ticklish (I like to think so anyway). I would trace my finger down the center of his belly and his muscles would have this neat response, like he was trying to avoid the sensation. He never got agitated though. In fact with me he was always mellow. When someone else would hold him he would move around really fast, and make them nervous. Yet with me he always got comfortable and hung out. He liked my face so he spent a lot of time rubbing his head and upper body all over it.
When I was 15 I got special permission and brought him to school for a show and tell assignment in my speech and debate class. Eerie and I were featured in the school paper that month. I was known as 'The Snake Girl' for a while. I was happy to see the favorable response from so many other kids my age.
When I was 16 my mother said she to sell all of the snakes. I was really bummed out, but at 16 I had a million things to occupy my mind and keep me from getting depressed. Today, losing a pet would be a much bigger problem. I lost my dog to cancer 4 years ago and i have still not recuperated. I refuse to get another dog. So we have a cat. But that is a story for another post.
Overall I would say that Eerie was a really great pet for me at that age. I would love to have a snake now, but my husband is adamant that we stick with dogs and cats. Two of my three kids are not really into the idea either. I understand this to be the most common reaction to snakes in the house so I forgive them, but I know in my heart that snakes can be amazing pets, just like our furry friends.