I have loved reptiles since I could remember. Instead of wanting to watch cartoons when I was 2, I wanted to watch Animal Planet and everything on it. My role model growing up was Steve Irwin, and seeing him with snakes especially would fascinate me. I would go fishing a lot with my dad, and whenever we would go to Florida I would catch anoles. The only snakes I ever seen when I was there were cotton mouths, and I knew not to bother them even as a child. I even managed to catch a couple geckos at night. I would also get bait fish and summon hordes of birds, and made friends with a few different herons/egrets. One even remembered my bucket whenever I would visit each year for a few years and would steal fish when I turned my back.
My mother finally caved when I was 13 and let me get a snake even though she is terrified of them because she loves seeing my eyes light up when interacting with them. Another reason she said yes is because my cousin broke the neck of a baby Chinese water dragon I had gotten when we weren’t in the room. I haven’t seen said cousin since she rushed out of the house after having done that. I had the baby lizard die in my hands and I think seeing me that sad is really why my mom gave in to my begging. So, technically my first reptile was a Chinese water dragon, but not even for a whole week.
I have always had good connections with animals too. I remember when we went to a pet store and they had a big Savannah monitor there. Apparently he hated everyone and constantly tried attacking people through his cage, but when he seen me he was calm and curious. It might have been because I was never a hyper child and I have always been small and good at keeping calm. I have even befriended llamas when I first met them, of which is hard to do since llamas are generally filled with anger. I have an appreciation for all animals and the animals that people hate the most are generally those that I like the most, so snakes were always something I enjoyed. I even volunteered at the Indianapolis Zoo when I was in highschool. It is a program that around a thousand kids signed up for, but only 100 get selected based on interviews. So I was lucky to get a spot.