I Married a Herpetophile

Or 2,000 Ways to Drive a Man Wild in Bed

I Married a Herpetophile

Preface

A herpetophile is someone who loves reptiles (like snakes, iguanas, geckos, etc). A person who marries someone is a person who loves that person. A person marrying a herpephile does not necessarily love reptiles, but it helps if she cannot run screaming from the room (or house) where a reptile is present, and with a herpephile, reptiles are likely to be present almost anywhere.

By the way, I really only know a couple of ways to drive a man wild in bed. I'll try to work them into the story somehow.

Chapter 1

A herpetophile can bring reptiles into the house at any time and put them anywhere. If you prefer not to have reptiles in certain rooms, inform your herpetophile early (and often). Iguanas lounging in the bathtub or a tank or two of boas in the bedroom can be unsettling. Set down rules early in your relationship. If your preference is no reptiles at all, rethink your relationship. Is he (or she) worth a little inconvenience, (or a big heart attack, which is likely when one comes across a reptile when one is not expecting a reptile)? Perhaps trading the herpephile in for someone who collects stamps would be a good idea. Stamps seldom escape their confines. Reptiles are bound to at some point.

My herpetophile brought home some alligator geckos, which we began to fondly refer to as the "little s—s." Geckos come in all shapes and sizes, but alligator geckos are little lizards (maybe two inches long) with suction cups on their feet, so they can walk on glass, walls, or basically anything. They travel at the speed of light, so as soon as the tank is opened to feed them, at least one of them flies out and is immediately lost. Our geckos happened to be living in our bedroom at the time. For several months, we never told my son (not a herpephile) that there was a little wall-walker loose in the apartment. We figured we'd either catch the little bugger, or it would die of starvation. Six months and a November move later, my herpephile finally caught the thing in our NEW bedroom. It had survived everything—even several cold hours in a moving van. We never knew what it drank (although I always have a glass of water on my bedside table at night... it didn't bear thinking of) let alone what it ate (which I also don't like to dwell on.)

Chapter 2—When do you find out he (or she) is a Herpetophile?

Herpetophiles are usually very proud of their hobby, and mention it early in a relationship, often within the first few minutes of the first meeting. They know they'd better bring it up right away, since many people run screaming at the first mention of a pet snake. I have relatives (I won't mention your name, Beth) who don't like to stand close to my husband at family picnics, just knowing he's probably been near a snake at some point in the recent past (like in his lifetime.) Most people either like or hate reptiles (snakes especially); few are like me, who can take them or leave them (as long as they're in tanks and I don't have to feed them). Herphiles know that and are pretty good about letting people know up front. You will seldom get tricked into falling accidentally in love with a herpephile. Unless he (or she) is an UNDISCOVERED herpephile, but that's another chapter.

DO NOT (and I cannot emphasize this too strongly) go into a relationship with a herpetophile thinking you can talk him (or her) out of having reptiles as pets later on. That never works with ANYTHING. Whatever irritating habits people have before marriage, they will have after marriage, only 24 hours a day, seven days a week—think about that. Human beings can only be on their best behavior for just so long, and then the real people come out. He (or she) may give up reptiles for a little while just to please you, but that can't last. Pretty soon it'll be petting a gecko here, admiring a corn snake there, and the next thing you know, there'll be a tank in the basement with a Colombian boa named Juan, and it won't end there.*

*You may be wondering why I keep putting in (or she). There ARE female herpetophiles; I know, I've met some. I just thought you'd like to know.*

*One way to drive a man wild in bed is to tickle him. Men like to say they're not ticklish, but they are. Sometimes you have to hunt really hard to find their ticklish spots, but that's part of the fun of driving them wild.*

*Be careful when you tickle a man in bed, especially if he's a lot bigger than you are. You can wind up on the floor halfway across the room, unless you hold him tightly by the hair as you tickle. Just a suggestion.

Chapter 3—Iguanas

If you don't mind them, iguanas make wonderful pets. They don't bark; they don't shed fur (although they do shed their skin, which can be messy and somewhat dangerous—I'll discuss that later); and they don't eat mice, which means that some of us who are too kind-hearted to feed the snakes can feed the iguanas. Be careful, though; it could become your permanent job. Iguanas start out as kind of cute little lizards with big eyes, but they do grow—and grow and grow and grow. They don't stop growing as long as they live, although they do slow down after a while. Our biggest iguana, Chuck, is about four feet long and lives in a cage that comes up to about my shoulders (but I'm only five feet long—tall.) So when your herpetophile brings home that first cute little iguana, just remember: it will get bigger.

About the shed skin: do be aware that reptiles carry salmonella, a potentially dangerous germ of some sort. It is present on the animal and in the shed skin. Always wash your hands after coming in contact with any reptile (as if I have to tell most people that.)

One of the advantages I was going to list about iguanas as pets is that they don't get fleas like dogs and cats and ferrets, but iguanas do get parasites called ticks, which come often from their wood chip bedding and show up as little black or red dots that move on the animals. There are sprays to get rid of them—the ticks, not the iguanas. The iguanas only go when the herpetophile goes.

Iguanas are not snuggly pets, unless you are the warmest thing in the environment. They do like to have their heads scratched, but that's the only positive interaction I've had with any of ours. Well, Houdini likes to have his dewlap rubbed, too. Pleasure registers with iguanas as closing their eyes and not moving to the other side of the cage. That is how you know they like it. It's not like they purr or anything.

exotic pets
Jo An Fox-Wright
Jo An Fox-Wright
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