What are your favorite reptiles that you’ve gotten the opportunity to handle? Mine are not in order, the 7 foot adult centralian carpet python I held at an expo 6 months ago, which was SO much fun to handle, the subadult BCI that I held at the last reptile expo I went to, which was also a lot of fun, and the blue tree monitor I held once at a reptile zoo while I was working as a volunteer cleaning cages. That one was extra fun, because I got to clean up its poop after I held it
A 5ft albino burmese python I held when I worked in pet shop years ago.
Didn’t know it was a burmese python till I took it out of the pillow case.
I really enjoyed handling a big dumerils boa at a local expo. I would love to own one some day.
Yeah, I was thinking of getting a dumerils boa next year, but I instead decided on a common boa. Not sure if I’ll have space for both, but I might. Guess we’ll just have to wait and see!
I like common boas too! Really beautiful. For me, I feel like the dumerils is my ideal ‘large size’ snake.
Holding my 8 foot true red tail female “medusa” just makes my day. She is puppy dog tame and my favorite bci I own other than the baby male hypo blood I have.
I once held a devenomized king cobra, and it was so cool! The very definition of a curious, handleable (long!) snake.
As common as it sounds, one of my faves was a crestie! I once passed a seller at an expo, years ago, and he had a crested gecko he was holding. I was totally fascinated, but I knew there was zero chance I would be purchasing anything, so I was reluctant to approach and watched from afar. But the guy noticed me and motioned me over, and let me hold it even though I explained I couldn’t make any purchases. It made me so happy, it meant the world that that guy was so nice to me when he saw how desperately curious I was.
I also have always loved every chance I’ve had to hold a uromastyx. Once I was at an acquaintance’s house, and ended up holding her uro. It curled up on me and went to sleep, it was adorable!
Other faves would be when I held a BP that belonged to a professor, any time I get to love on tortoises, these super super tiny frogs I found as a kid when I lived in the USSR, the time I held a tarantula (I love them but I have a terrible fear of being bitten by them), and every time I’ve held any of my beloved pets. Nothing quite like gently holding a new hatchling after months of worry, hope, and anticipation.
A sad but sweet story
I had a leopard gecko named Myrtle- she was the second gecko in my collection. She was very dear to me, the first Albey Snow I bought from Albey. She was the matriarch of my little gecko clan, and I loved her dearly.
When she was 18 years old, she went into kidney failure and I knew it was time to give her the gift of a peaceful death. But this was back when there were no vaccines for COVID, during the worst part of the initial wave, so my reptile vet wasn’t allowing any clients inside the clinic (which I fully support).
I was heartbroken at the thought of not being there for her at the end, so the clinic and I came up with the plan where they would take her inside and give her an injection of heavy sedative. Immediately after the injection, they brought her back out to me, so I could be with her as she got sleepy.
My sister once gave me a leopard gecko necklace. It meant a lot to me, and I try to always wear it for gecko vet visits in the offchance that it would bring luck. I was wearing it the day I took Myrtle in.
I held her gently to my chest, and she sat calmly, gradually getting sleepy. I was crying but holding it back as best I could, as I didn’t want to distress her. I thought about all the years we’d had together and how grateful I was to have had her in my life. With her last conscious movements, she moved her front foot over and onto my leopard gecko necklace, and kept it there as her eyes closed for the last time.
After she was sedated to the point of anesthesia,
the staff came back out, took her inside, and euthanized her. They took ink prints of her feet for me, and I ordered a ‘clay paw’ to be returned with her ashes.
I get the names and paw prints of my pets tattooed on my leg, with a small portion of the cremains mixed with the tattoo ink. I don’t have Myrtle’s tattooed in yet (getting tattooed during a pandemic, when you are immune compromised, isn’t the best idea, in addition to me being kinda broke), but I will as soon as I can.
I have held several of my leopard geckos during sedation prior to euthanasia, and it‘s always very emotional for me, though I do not allow myself to break down until they have passed. But Myrtle is the only gecko that reached for my necklace in that way. I am agnostic, but spiritual- I highly doubt it was anything other than chance. All the same, it was deeply moving for me.
That’s so sad about your gecko I also got to hold uro at an expo once, but it was a wild caught one, so it wasn’t very personable. I probably would’ve been tail whipped if I didn’t put it down sooner.
I think my fav was a scaleless corn snake I got to hold at an exp, I’d never handled a scaleless snake at that point so it was pretty cool
Last year while herping we found the same Indigo snake 3 different times. About 7 foot long. In the area we found 3 others but this one was different. Always a little hard to get a hand on but once you did he was so chill.
@mblaney thank you for sharing that sweet story. it’s so heartbreaking, but I’ve got no doubt she lived such a long, wonderful life with you. I love the tattoo idea, and would love to see them!
I’ve got four, as they’re the reason I keep the reptiles I keep.
One was Rummer, a friends’ beardies who went everywhere with us.
Please ignore the summer hair.
Cleo, the first snake I ever held, after being petrified. She was still a baby when I first held her.
Ruby, the BCC. so sweet, by far one of the gentlest animal I’ve ever held.
My lumpy boy Kain. I knew him when he was still being nursed back to health. He came to me a year later, and the changes in him have been insane.
Also, I love holding hatchlings. These impossibly tiny, fragile things always blow my mind, especially when you can already see their little personalities.
Aww, thank you! Myrtle was definitely a character! She was also quite intelligent. I think I have a photo of some of the names/paws around here somewhere…
Here’s a completed section with my ferret Amaretto, my sugar gliders Gidget, Pixel, and Chip, and my cats Boris and Bulbin:
The writing is from a font I made from my handwriting. The black signifies that the mark contains cremains/is from an actual ink print. The red is for symbolic representations- no less important, but it felt right to have two different colors that I both love. So, for example, for Pixel, her name contains her cremains, but the paw print is a representation based on her species. But for Gidget, the paw print is a direct copy of her actual paw. Speaking of handling animals- let me tell you, handling sugar gliders is way different from any other animal I’ve encountered.
That just reminded me of when I baby-sat my friend’s boa, Nakash. She was an absolute angel of a snake, and I got to keep some of her sheds! She even ate in a fashion that seemed kinda polite.
I also had a great time holding an acquaintance’s Taiwanese beauty snake on several occasions, but for a funny reason- no matter how thoroughly I washed my hands and arms, no matter how fresh-from-the-wash my clothes were, she would, without fail, always slowly open her mouth and do her best to eat my forearm. She would just keep munching, making zero progress, until I put her down- and she never did it with anyone else, to my knowledge! (Needless to say, after a few times of being mistaken for a sausage, I stopped handling her, as we were worried I might be stressing her in some way.)
That reminds me of when I found a little garter snake back in vet school, while walking a patient. It was weirdly chill and a great moment in the middle of a hectic day.
I also used to love finding and briefly holding box turtles and ring-neck snakes when I was at a outdoor/nature camp as a kid.
Love your tattoo, that’s a really cute idea.
I love them! How awesome!
As someone who keeps or has kept in the past most of the things mentioned here, it’s really refreshing to see all the enthusiasm. You can become a bit numb to how awesome these animals are when you live with a hundred or so of them.
That’s a really good point. I enjoy handling my snakes, but I’ll never forget the excitement I had when I handled my first corn snake when I was about 10 years old. And I remember the snake trying to climb in my sleeves and up my shorts and I had no idea how to prevent that!
Same here. I’ll never forget when I touched my first snake. I was very young, at a natural history museum, and there was a woman there who was doing a presentation about snakes, and she had a very large albino Burmese python, and I petted it. Many years later, I got my first snake.
That is way I remind myself everyday how lucky I am to be able to work with the animals I love so much. Everyday is a blessing and so is every herp.
I can still remember the first boa I held. She was a 7-8 foot Albino boa at a Halloween expedition at a nature park called Beaver Lake in Upstate New York. I am about six years old if not younger. I was not scared by her at all. I couldn’t believe how gentle and how strong she was. I do want to say I was holding her myself for quite a while, completely taken back. I will never forget her and how it felt. That is probably why I want a retic, to get back to that completely covered in snake feeling lol. That is why I love boas ( actually starting to cry thinking about it ). So yes, every time I hold Willow or Kai I am thankful because I know when I decided I needed to have a boa of my own.
For me it was seeing California Mountain kings (lampropeltis zonata), and then later when we moved to Missouri, Rough Greens (opheodrys aestivus).
It’s just crazy the passion something like that can spark in us!
I’ve been there a few times! Not to far of a drive from where I live.