I haven’t owned a snake since I was a kid in the early 90’s.
At the time, a neighborhood friend and I used to catch every snake we could. Garter Snakes, Eastern Milk Snakes, Queen Snakes, Black Rat Snakes, and Northern Ringneck Snakes. In our suburban neighborhood it was almost all Black Rat Snakes and Garter snakes. The Queen Snakes were always found in small creeks. I don’t see many of them anymore.
Once we had flipped over every rock in the neighborhood, we started going to a nearby farm that was owned by a family friend. We would come back with a pillowcase full of Garter Snakes and Black Rat Snakes. As a kid, it was always impressive to catch a 5’ Black Rat Snake. They were my favorite. Obviously we brought all the snakes back to my neighborhood and released them in the woods behind my house.
I eventually convinced my parents to let me purchase a Corn Snake. When I fed it a pinky mouse, I thought it was the most amazing thing ever. Eventually one Corn Snake turned into a collection of four Corn Snakes.
A couple years later I ended up selling all four of my snakes. As a sensitive kid, a few snake-related things happened that were absolutely devastating to me at the time.
I was given a clutch of Corn Snake eggs. I was beyond thrilled about this. They were setup in a big glass jar, resting on top of some plastic dixie cups. I was told to make sure the paper towels at the bottom stay wet. So every few days I would open up the jar and mist it all down with a sprayer. The eggs all went bad. I was absolutely devastated. About the same time one of my Corn Snakes escaped. As an elementary school kid, this was just all too much for me to process and handle. We are so fortunate now with the vast amount of information that is readily available on the internet.
So here I am now, with two young sons about the same age as I was when I first became interested in keeping snakes. I’m considering rekindling this childhood passion of mine.
As a side note to those with young kids who keep snakes… some kids are more sensitive than they let on. I’m guessing a lot of kids lose interest in snakes and reptiles after something traumatic happens related to their pets. Back in the early 90’s, I had a friend who purchased a D’Alberts Python from an ad in the back of a reptile magazine. He received the snake and short time later it died. This type of thing can be devastating to a kid. It’s always nice when an adult takes interest in their hobby and can be an encouragement during these times.