Acquired: Pet store
Posted Mar 22, 2016
I've always loved the striking dark red and gold stripes of corn snakes and was really excited to learn that they are also some of the friendliest and easiest snakes to raise, especially for beginners. I ended up getting Rupert when he was still really young and teeny. A pet store near my house had bred some of their snakes. Because I raised him from a young age eating defrosted pinkies (young mice), he never required me moving to feeding him live prey. Some snakes are really picky about this and won't eat prey that hasn't just been killed. I felt a little lame defrosting his mice for him in plastic bags that I would dunk and leave floating in hot water until they were warm and squishy. But it also made things really easy--I would buy multiple pinkies at a time and keep them in the freezer. While dealing with feeding snakes mice is always something people seem squeamish about, it really is amazing to watch this relatively small snake unhinge their jaw and stretch their body to the shape of their food source. Also, since you usually wait a week or so between feedings, it's not something you have to attend to daily. Everything about snakes is fascinating, including the way it looks when they drink water (it's funny, believe me) and how they shed their skin. One thing to know--it's a good sign that your snake is healthy if they shed the whole thing at once, instead if it flaking off or being broken in any way. That's a sign something's wrong. One way to make sure your snake is getting plenty of vitamins is to buy a vitamin powder that you can roll the mice in. You also want to make sure that you have the right wattage light and provide a good heat source, so that the snakes can properly digest (since they're cold-blooded). While it takes a bit of commitment getting a good terrarium together for your snake--having a good set up in the beginning pays off I think in terms of the health and happiness of your snake. Anyway, long story short, Rupert was around for many years, throughout my time in graduate school. He was gentle when held and would wrap around my knuckles, between my fingers. Excellent pet for those who like snakes!