Snakes! The new family pet?

There are a few things in this world I could do without-

1. People who say they will call and don’t.

2. Children that scream in public.

3. Liver.

4. Spiders or any creepy crawlers with more than four legs.

5. People who are always late.

And snakes!

I am not an enthusiastic fan of snakes. Maybe it is how they curl up into a tiny ball hidden among the trees or bushes, waiting for unexpected prey. Or perhaps it’s the way they can unnaturally open their mouths to fit something three times its size. Regardless of the reason- snakes have never been on my radar as pets.

I am now the proud owner of two.

You might ask, why do I have two snakes if I am not a fan of them? In all honesty, I am not sure. A whirlwind of events led me to this point in my life, and I am not even sure where to start the story.

About a month ago, an idea was born in my home…an idea to start a business. I was hoping for a bookstore/bakery or a cute little storefront where I sold fancy cheese, crackers, and good local beer. Something to bid my time as I struggle to finish the last few chapters of my book and become a world-famous author. Other than those three things, I don’t have much to offer in the world of a small business owner. Honestly, I never wanted to have that much responsibility since leaving the Army. I would rather sit on the sidelines, invisible to everyone, happy in my imagination and coffee addiction.

My husband, on the other hand, has many passions. Brewing beers, motorcycles, fishing, saltwater fish tanks, hunting, gaming, hobby farms, boats, and restoration. The restoration portion has never worked out. I always find we spend more money than what he sells it for. Not one to deny happiness, I have always gone along with the new hobby. Understanding that within 6-7 months, everything we have bought will be sold for a discount, and then we will move on.

The oldest passion he always circles back to is for reptiles—snakes in particular.

Yes, snakes. Those lovely pint-size bundles of joy that love to bite, hiss, and throw a royal hissy fit if you walk by them too quickly.

It took me weeks to buy off on this new project. Weeks of nodding, trying to understand scientific words, and pretending to think a particular no-legged creature was ‘beautiful’. One night about a month ago, as I was trying to tie together a mythical Merlin to a librarian (chapter 22 in my book), I was asked if I would like to head to Portland, Oregon to a Reptile Show. Waving over my shoulder and agreeing to anything and everything if he would just stop talking enough for me to describe a coffee shop- I found myself driving 4.5 hours this weekend into another state to go ‘look at’ snakes.

Promise number 1- I won’t spend over $2,000.00.

Promise number 2- I won’t buy anything until after we walk the whole show.

Promise number 3- I will take you to the world’s biggest bookstore.

Broken promises!

3.5 hours into the show, we had already spent $3,200.00 on new snakes and enclosures within the first three booths. Not just any snakes. Not the pleasant snakes that people walk around with and you can hold. No! We got the two vicious Tree Boa Snakes that you can’t touch, look at, make sudden movements around, or be in a 50-yard radius. At one point, while we were shopping for the ‘perfect’ tree branches for them, I was asked to leave a booth because the female was attacking the container, I was carrying her in, and it was freaking out the kids. And yes, I was the one carrying them around because I have no idea about heat lamps, misters, tall snake cages, or anything that had to do with feeding. So, my job was to babysit.

Before you start feeling bad for me, I must admit that I bonded with the two snakes during that 45-minute period of stress. They weren’t mean; they were sick of being cooped up in a plastic container with no way to stretch out. These snakes are over four feet tall, and they were cramped. The female is actually gorgeous when you take the time to watch her, and the male is interested in everything.

And while I do not believe we are besties by any stretch of the imagination, I did start to like them a little. Enough so that I blasted the heat on the way back so they could be comfortable on the drive. And then I made my husband buy them the best fake plants money could buy, so they felt more comfortable in their hiding spots.

My youngest even got in on the new family pet- naming them both for us and then proceeding to run when it was time to move them into their new homes.

So, now I am the proud owner of two Tree Boas and two dogs. And I am sure you are asking — How does having two Tree Boas help with a small business? Honestly, I am not sure. Something about breeding and recessive genes will pull a clown Tree Boa. Or would its prominent genes give them dark coloring and light eyes? I don’t know; I just know I now have two pet snakes and no money to start a small business.

I hope this book I am writing sells…

Fascinating Facts

  • They have good eyesight, which enables them to hunt during the day, and large infrared receptors, which enables them to sense heat and hunt at night.
  • Amazon tree boas, also known as garden tree boas, are an aggressive species that will bite when approached.
  • They are ambush hunters and will hang from a branch in an “S” shape and strike at prey.

Physical Characteristics

Males and females are similar in size and markings. The average length is between 47 – 59 inches. They come in a wide variety of colors and patterns.

Habitat/Diet

Amazon tree boas are found in the Amazon region of South America, including Columbia east of Andes, southern Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, Bolivia, Trinidad & Tobago, and Costa Rica. They live in forests with high humidity as well as savannas or dry forests. They prefer to stay in trees, but also have been observed on the forest floor. They feed on birds, bats, frogs, rodents, lizards and marsupials.

Social Behavior

Males will shed their skin and engage in “tail writhing” as part of their courtship behavior. The gestation period is 6 – 8 months, after which the female will give birth to live young. There is no parental involvement after birth and young will reach sexual maturity at 3 years.

2 thoughts on “Snakes! The new family pet?

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  1. Dear no name snakes: welcome. I am your person should you ever decide that you want to return to your natural habitat. I beg your pardon in advance as I will not be the one to hold, feed or snuggle you. I will store amazon boxes, tape and stamps should you have the urge to return to the amazon. I hope I will get the zip code right and you land in the amazon and not at an amazon.

  2. My dad had a pair of ball pythons for years. One morning I went to get dressed for school and was surprised to find one of them curled up in my sock drawer after the cage had been left open the night before. Lol

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