I Married a Herpetophile (Pt. 2)
Or 2,000 Ways to Drive a Man Wild in Bed
Chapter 4—Snakes as Pets
Snakes, like iguanas, make good pets if you don't have an urge to run screaming from the room if you see one. They are very quiet and stay in their tanks as long as you have a really heavy book or rock on top of the cover (I don't take chances).
Snakes are not slimy, and they're only cold if their tank isn't warm enough. They feel a little like the tires on your car, so if you have an urge to pet your tires, a snake is the pet for you. Snakes come in all sizes and colors, so you can decorate your home with complementing snakes, if you want to. At the moment, my herpetophile has four snakes, although one is really my daughter's (but she's in Arizona, and her snake is in New York—mom always gets to keep stuff). We have one ball python named Naag, one bull snake named Ferdinand, one albino corn snake named Guinevere, and one albino king snake named Rex (I choose the names. I feel I have a talent for it, and it gives me pleasure. My herpetophile humors me). They live in tanks in the basement, and I talk to them once in a while. Not long conversations; just an occasional, "Hello, how are you doing?" They don't answer, but I like to be friendly.
Our snakes eat mice. Many people do not think that is very nice, but the snakes don't care what anyone thinks, and they like to eat mice, so they do. I don't mind; I don't particularly like mice, and most of our snakes kill the mice before they eat them by squeezing them to death. I don't like to watch that part, but I don't mind watching the snakes stretch their jaws to work the mice down. By the end when just the tail is left sticking out the the snakes' mouths, it looks like spaghetti, or like the snakes are smoking an after-dinner cigarette. Then they yawn really big to put their jaws back in place, but it looks like they've just had the best meal of their lives and are very tired. That yawn is very appealing.
My daughter (the one with the ball python that is still in New York) is tender-hearted and even though she wanted to feed her snake, she didn't really want to kill a mouse to do it. She solved the problem by asking at the pet store for the ugliest mouse they had. She felt she wouldn't get attached to an ugly mouse.
Mice also come in the frozen variety; they can be defrosted and fed to snakes. We call them mouse-cicles, complete with the stick (tail.) You have to be very careful to thaw the mouse fully before feeding it to the snake, because a frost-bitten tummy would be bad for your pet. You must not thaw the mouse in a microwave, however; mice explode when cooked from the inside out. It's amazing how much information I have gleaned from being around a herpetophile.
Snakes sleep a lot and are not real party animals even when they are awake. About the most fun they are is when they eat. It is really an interesting phenomenon: imagine eating something bigger than your head without silverware. Or even using your hands.
Snakes also need water to soak in, so they can shed their skins, which do not grow when they do. I know a lot of women who would like to get new skin every so often without using expensive creams or the services of a plastic surgeon. Snakes get free face lifts all the time.
Some herpetophile take their snakes with them places, draped around their necks or wrapped around their arms. My herpetophile doesn't, because he thinks snakes don't enjoy that sort of thing. I don't know. I do know many OTHER people don't like snakes unexpectedly draped around anyone (that's for you, Beth). Snakes in the wild live pretty quiet lives and seem to prefer to avoid people, so I suspect a lot of pet snakes feel the same way. At snake shows, we always see people walking around with snakes draped and wrapped, especially really BIG snakes, snakes so big the people wearing them are sort of bent over with the effort of carrying the snakes. It must be a herpetophile thing.*
*Do not EVER go to a snake show if you are afraid of snakes. Just a warning. Also do not go to a snake show if you are afraid of lizards, spiders, bats, frogs, or anything else that slithers, crawls, flies, or moves. ANYTHING can show up at a snake show.*
*You can also drive a man wild in bed by whispering in his ear or watching dirty movies with him. For a herpetophile, watching Wild Discovery works well, especially the parts where they show mating—of ANYTHING. And they almost always do.
Chapter 5—Pet Stores
DO NOT allow our herpetophile to go into pet stores alone. DO NOT accompany your herpetophile into pet stores. DO NOT go into pet stores. Tr to find a state that does not have pet stores and move there immediately. It's your only hope.
If your herpetophile wanders into a pet store someday without you and then comes home with a box or a bag, DO NOT open it. You can ask questions, especially if your herpetophile looks sheepish (although a sheep would be the least of your worries.) Ask friendly, casual questions, like, "Okay, what is it this time?" or "Will I be feeding it or will you?" (I only feed the vegetarians, so that's a good question for me to ask, as if I'm just curious about how many pounds of vegetables I'll need to buy this week.) I used to ask, "How many legs does it have?" but my herpetophile said that was cheating (and, besides, now we have a four-legged Savannah monitor that eats mice, so it wasn't a good question that time.)
Pet stores are dangerous for more than just reptiles, although even I bought a cute little iguana one time. Herpetophile are not always limited in their tastes; mine brought home a cat once (to add to the three I already had, two of my own and one left by that same daughter in Arizona). And when I fell in love with a ferret, my herpetophile called the pet store the next day and ordered two—one for each of us. I named them Theodora and Alvira. (My daughter has one, too, named Simon. HE is in Arizona.).
Pet stores are not the only places herpetophile can find reptiles to bring home, of course. There are those snakes shows, and private, word-of-mouth sales, and swap sheets, magazines, and newspaper ads. Face it: there is no way to keep a herpetophile from acquiring reptiles. Love your herpetophile, love his (or her) pets. Learn to appreciate color, texture, dewlaps—whatever you can. Scales aren't the worse thing in the world. Now SPIDERS...