www.whyville.net Dec 27, 2009 Weekly Issue

Guest Writer

A Different Pet

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Most people I know have the traditional pets, a cat and/or a dog, and once in a while a bird or some fish. But I have a different kind of pet that not a lot of people would think of, and that not a lot of people really want. I have a pet snake.

I have always been fascinated by snakes, especially pythons and constrictors. This past summer I went to a reptile zoo in the Toronto area and that fascination grew. I have held several snakes before of several different sizes, but never had thought of getting one until that day. That day I held, once again, different kinds of snakes. But, I also realized that I would love to have one of my own!

Even though I am at the ripe age of 18 (haha!), my mom still was not pleased with the idea and was sticking to her side. It wasn't until I had researched for days and days that I finally convinced her that I would be able to handle a snake. That same day I convinced her, I went down to a local reptile store in my city and held some snakes, including the one that I own today.

It was settled, I was getting a snake. The only problem is that I am truly an animal lover of all kinds, and that I would have to feed my snake rats. It was a hard thing to get through but I prepared myself for it by watching several videos. I even spoke to some experts who told me that, if my snake was not picky, I could feed him pre-killed, frozen rats.

On August 1st, 2009, I brought home my baby! He was a year and a half old at the time I got him. He was about 2 and a half feet when I first brought him home. He's a ball python (pictures will be at the end of the article) and he's truly a sweetheart! Ball pythons are known to be picky eaters but fantastic starter snakes. They're called "ball" pythons because instead of being offensive and striking or biting whenever they feel threatened or scared, they curl into a ball. His name is Sylar, and yes, if you watch the show "Heroes" that's where I got it from! He loves being held and taken out of his cage.

Oh right, what do I keep him in!? Well, it's like a fish tank, but much wider and is called a terrarium. To keep him in, there are two locking mechanisms on the top where a screen door slides in and out. It's very effective, and no he hasn't escaped, nor will he ever! I have friends who constantly worry about that, but no need to. For the bottom, a lot of people use newspaper or paper towel so it's easier to clean, but I prefer a substrate that's from a cypress tree. He has a nice, fake rock hiding hut and a tree branch to climb on! He also has a water dish.

When I first brought him home, he was very active for a few hours. Considering we had no where else to put him while we prepared his water dish, I played with him a bit! He then, so cutely, fell asleep on my neck! A lot of people worry that a snake around the neck can kill them, but here's a nice tidbit: the tail is their strongest point on their body. With any snake of any size (except a rattle, careful!) you can pull them off around you from their tail.

A lot of my friends that come to visit him are afraid of snakes, but some get over their fears by holding him a little more every time. A lot of people also don't like snakes just because they have no limbs, and because of the way they move. But I think it's a very interesting thing to see a snake slither, and he also gives very nice neck massages!

I don't know many people who have pet snakes, but I wouldn't trade mine for the world. He's a sweetheart, he gives me kisses behind the ear, and he doesn't bite! He's the best pet in the world! Besides my kitten of course, haha, who will never meet . . .



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