My best friend’s hognose baby had abruptly gone from a sweet and inquisitive eager eater to a touchy, hissy boy who turned down all food. They were concerned… and then he went into blue, shed, and promptly devoured his next meal! Apparently he gets CRANKY before a shed!
I went to a Paint Your Own Ceramics place for my birthday and I painted a jar. “It’s for thawing mice,” I told my Mom. “I thaw the mice for my snake in my fridge but I don’t really wanna open the fridge and see a mouse just… lying there in the little baggie, you know? So this will be the Snake Food Jar.”
She was absolutely horrified. “You need a separate FRIDGE for that!! Why a jar? Is it like… gonna jump out?”
“No no, these are very dead pinkies. They’re frozen. I thaw them.”
I have such fun conversations now that I own a snake!
I have some funny stories about wild reptile encounters from my childhood, all of which involve one or both of my parents hilariously misidentifying snakes. I’ll try to go in chronological order.
The first one happened in Australia when I was about 7. I wish I could remember exactly where we were. I think it was somewhere in or near Kakadu National Park, based on the fact that we were driving in the 4WD camper vehicle we’d rented for that trip at the time this happened. Anyway, we were driving along some rugged dirt road in the middle of nowhere when we noticed a fairly large snake on the side of the road. My mom was driving, and she stopped the car and rolled down the window to take some pictures. The snake, who was a sort of drab, nondescript dark brownish colour, seemed rather curious about us, and started to slither towards our vehicle and lifting up its head and the front part of its body to check us out…at which point my dad completely lost it and started yelling, “Oh God, it’s a taipan, roll up the window, drive drive drive!!!” So my mom rolled up the window and sped away as fast as the dirt road would allow. Cut to several hours later that same day, we found ourselves at some sort of small visitor centre and had stopped to get some snacks. Out front, there was a man giving a presentation on native wildlife in the area…and he was holding a snake that was the spitting image of the one that had just sent us fleeing through the outback. I remember walking within earshot just in time to hear him say, “The olive python is a nonvenomous constrictor that is completely harmless to humans…” Needless to say, I’ve never let my dad live that one down.
The next one happened a few years later, in my hometown in southern California. I was probably about 12. I was hiking with my mom on one of our favourite backcountry trails. We were going down the trail on our way back to the car when we came across a small, beautiful little snake moving slowly across the trail. My mom asked me to pick it up so she could take some pictures of it. I told her I’d rather not pick it up since I didn’t know what species it was and wasn’t sure if it was venomous. She assured me that the only venomous species we had in the area were rattlesnakes, and since it clearly wasn’t a rattlesnake, it couldn’t possibly be venomous. I relented and picked it up. It was very docile and gentle, my mom took her pictures, and I released the snake and it continued on its way without incident. A few days later, our local newspaper had a front page article with full colour pictures about venomous and nonvenomous snakes in our local backcountry. And under the “VENOMOUS” heading, there were several species of rattlesnake…along with a picture of a snake that could have been the twin of the one I’d posed with for pictures just a few days earlier. It was a night snake. Now, in my mom’s defense, they’re rear-fanged and have very mild venom…BUT STILL. Now, any time my mom teases me about my snakes, I say, “Remember that time you made your only child pick up a venomous snake so you could take pictures of it? YOU started me down this path.”
I’ll stop there for now, mostly because I’m getting sick of typing on my phone and this post is already obscenely long, but I have a few other stories with similar themes.
Those are super funny. I’d love to read more of them sometime.
Ask and you shall receive!
The next story is also set in our local mountains in SoCal. I’d just finished a hike with my parents and we were driving back down the mountain to head home. I was probably 11 or 12 (I honestly can’t remember if this took place before or after the incident with the night snake). Suddenly my mom yelled “Snake! There’s a king snake on the side of the road!” So we pulled over and I jumped out and started running down the road looking for it. I was peering into all the bushes that lined the road when I finally spotted some movement and saw what my mom must have seen: a snake with dark and cream bands coiled up in some brush. I could only really see the side of its body. I walked up to the bush and stretched out my hand to grab it, but something made me pause. Something about it didn’t look quite right for a king snake. I took a step closer to get a better look…and then I heard it. The rattle. This was definitely not a king snake. I’ve never been so thankful for rattlesnakes’ early warning system as I was that day.
Next story took place when I was a little younger, maybe 9 or 10. I was in Death Valley with my dad while he was doing some field work (my dad is a geologist, which is why I spent my early childhood in Australia). My dad and a colleague of his were doing…I don’t know, taking samples or photographs or something, I wasn’t really paying attention because I was focused on catching lizards at the time. My dad came over and said that he’d seen a lizard run under a little slab of limestone he pointed out to me, so I went over to check it out. I flipped over the limestone and saw something skitter out from under it. I shot my hand out to grab it…and stopped a fraction of an inch away from the creature in question, because I’d realised just in time that I wasn’t a lizard. It was a decent-sized scorpion. I was actually pretty excited, because that was the first time I’d ever seen a scorpion in real life, but I had the good sense not to pick it up.
So that’s how my mom almost got me bitten by a rattlesnake and my dad almost got me stung by a scorpion. The moral to these stories is: make sure you’ve correctly identified what you’re reaching for before you grab it. And don’t trust your parents not to get you killed.
ok funny story but a short one. I dreamed about getting a ball python
(I wanted on at the time and still want one, but I have an entire family who hates snakes .)
and it was at a reptile expo, and I had never gone to a reptile expo yet and I imagined an almost mall of reptile breeders selling ppl reptiles, and I also bought a setup, and I was in
Kansas (I do not live in Kansas), and we then drove home and that’s the dream I know underwhelming.