Acquired: Rescue / shelter organization
By Daphne Petty
Brandon, Florida, United States
Posted Jan 02, 2019
Oh Slim Jim.... our first snake. The animal that started it all.
Before we moved to Florida my dad had the bright idea of opening a pet shop when we got there, so we spent a few weeks going around checking them out, and seeing if we were cut out for one. But then.... We saw Slim. He was a rescue who had recently come into the pet store we were visiting and we feel in love. And as soon as my dad had one snake, the idea of having more came into his mind and suddenly instead of a pet store, we had an exotic reptile breeding business.
Slim Jim was skinny and it took a long time to get him to bulk up a little, and he never did get very plump. It took us a while to realize that he preferred, frozen and then thawed rats to eat. Though most of our other boas preferred live rats.
Slim Jim hadn't always been treated kindly but he was so gentle. I was 9 years old when we got him and he was gentle enough that I was able to handle him without any fear. Not all of the boas we had over the years shared the same temperament though. One of our boas, Jezebel, was easily the most evil snake we ever owned. So, getting a snake is kinda like getting a cat, sometimes you get a get one and sometimes you get a jerk. A lot of their personality kinks can be worked out through patience and handling though.
Even though boas are generally well mannered they are extremely strong. Once they're full grown they're several foot long and pure muscle. While we rarely had problems there was once or twice where my brother was handling one of our boas and it wrapped around him and started to squeeze, he always got out of the hold and the snake wasn't squeezing hard enough to harm but it was still an unfortunate experience. I don't believe this should be a deterrent but I do think it needs to be taken into account when a family chooses what type of snake to bring into their family. Children should never handle an adult boa without supervision.
Boas do need a slightly large enclosure, a water bowl, hopefully something to climb on and a heat source but their enclosures are easily to clean and easy to put together. Sometimes I think people get snakes thinking they can treat them like fish. Put them in a tank, and then throw food at them and just stare at them, but they need attention and handling. So if you're up to pay attention to a non cuddly animal, then I say give them a chance!