A new member of the family

It's not what you think. It's not a baby, or even a puppy. It's a snake. Reptile owners. That's us. We got the snake from a family in the ward who claimed they were done because the kids were tired of it, although it was quite obvious when they dropped off the snake that it was the father, not the kids, who was tired of it. The little sister, a girl about 8 years old, (who named the reptile "Hershey", of all things) kept saying things like, "C'mon boy, let go. It's ok, you'll be all right." When her older brother pointed out that the snake can't hear her because snakes don't have ears, she said, in that 'I'm-a-determined-child-that-can-not-be-swayed' voice, "He can hear ME. He listens to ME, because he loves me," then stalked off in an offended manner. She did name the snake after a candy bar, after all. DH has rechristined the animal "Fluffy". So now we have two pets--a bird named Lola and a snake named Fluffy. We are also very much in the process of getting a dog. We are taking a little bit longer on this one, because a cute furry face and a hasty decision lead to near disaster last time, and we want a better situation this time. But suddenly, I think, "Uh-oh. We are rapidly turning out to be one of those families." You know the kind. They have an animal in every room. Their children catch random specimens and keep them in shoeboxes in the bathroom. Their grocery bill is twice as high because half of it is food for their animals. There is random animal hair, or feathers, or whatever everywhere, and everything stinks. The mother is usually a nice enough, amiable person, but people talk about her behind her back, saying things like, "Better keep on eye on that one. After all, she does have a pet snake!" I actually think snakes are pretty cool, and I've always liked handling them. (Ok, admittedly I've only handled snakes like a half a dozen times in my life, probably every time was before I turned 6, but hey, I always remember liking it!) This particular pet is pretty low maintenance--it just sits there most of the time. No hair, poops just after it feeds, only has to be fed every couple of months, and that's it. Easy. Still, it's a snake. The symbol of the devil. The symbol of Salazaar Slytherin. People don't like them, and I'm wondering if I am endangering my already tenuous status as a normal mother by getting my child a pet snake. Maybe I should rethink this. On the other hand, I realize that while my status as a mom goes down among my peers, my son's among his will totally skyrocket with this new addition. I mean, seriously, what little boy doesn't like snakes? I can hear the kids now, "Wow, Jacob, you have a snake? COOL!" Then they go running up to their mothers and say, "Mom, Jacob has a snake, can I have one, please please please?" Oh, yeah. Those moms are just gonna love that. Let's just admit it. I'm doomed.


Blogger fMhLisa said...

cool, you have a snake!

10/13/2005 01:53:00 AM  
Blogger annegb said...

What kind of snake? The kind that could swallow a puppy?

We had pets up the ying-yang when our kids were little. We had the drama of the missing gerbil and the guinea pig's giving birth, assisted by our neighbor, the vet. And giving birth, and giving birth.

Now we have three dogs and one cat. They are aging at about our rate, so by the time we are completely old, they will be gone and it will work out.

I think kids need pets.

10/13/2005 08:34:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our new puppy lives at our daughter's with her sister.. these 2 puppies are mixed boston terrier and pekinguese. they are buff color, short hair, and the cutest puppies in the world, everyone loves them. they are crate trained and toilet trained mostly. cost 300 each.. the 3 little grandchildren in the family won't keep their hands off these 2, now 10 months old so puppies are very sweet with children. get a puppy.

10/13/2005 10:51:00 AM  
Blogger Heather O. said...

The snake is a 4 ft long ball python. It does eat live animals, but I don't think it could swallow a puppy. Besides, it moves way too slow for that.


We would probably get an adult dog before we get a puppy. Puppies and toddlers don't always mix very well.

10/13/2005 11:53:00 AM  
Anonymous Emily said...

Our neighbor was "dog sitting" a chiuaua and her toddler picked it up sat on it etc. and the dog was unaffected. I found myself thinking cool...maybe that kind of dog would be good... but then I thought of Legally Blonde and the dog in the purse thing and decided against it.

10/13/2005 12:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Nate Oman said...

A chiuaua is not a dog. Heather once expressed interest in considering the possiblity of getting a chiuaua, and I informed her in no uncertain terms that our marriage would come to an end if she braught a chiuaua home.

Snakes I like

10/13/2005 01:42:00 PM  
Blogger the special one said...

okay about feeding your snake. my brother has had a ball python for several years. While he was on his mission and first married my parents had it. My dad found that if he took a frozen chicken leg and thawed it out and then warmed it in hot water that "Fred" would eat it just as well as live mice. My dad liked this choice better becasue they were easier to come by than live mice, some pet stores here wouldn't sell mice to my mom when they found out she was going to feed them to a snake. Oh yeah, my brother said that the best way to feed them is to put the snake in a pillow case and drop the food into the pillow case, so they don't associate your hand coming in the cage with being fed. But my dad wasn't up to touching Fred so he used tonges to put the chicken leg in the cage. Either way good luck. My parents kept Fred in his cage in the laudry room, and even though he is back with my brother and his wife, I still shudder everytime I go in my parents laundry room.
Oh and yes some of the other moms might think you are crazy, but your son's friends are going to think that you're the coolest mom ever.

10/13/2005 03:12:00 PM  
Blogger pate said...

Oh and yes some of the other moms might think you are crazy, but your son's friends are going to think that you're the coolest mom ever.

This is a grand understatement. *I* think you're one of the coolest moms ever. My mom wouldn't let me have a snake, so my friends and I would catch them and keep them outside. I was allowed to have an iguana though, so don't feel too bad for me.

Now I'm pretty boring. A cat, and dog, and a fish comprise the non-human resident population at home ... I'm trying to talk my wife into letting us get some geckos or maybe a spider monkey, but that doesn't seem to be going over very well.

10/13/2005 03:48:00 PM  
Blogger The Wiz said...

I have always had a hard time understanding why people get pets that don't really interact with humans.

Fish, for example. Why? I guess because they are pretty to look at.

Snakes sort of interact, if you make them, I guess, but they would rather not. What's the appeal? I really don't know. Just to say 'Hey, look at my cool snake?' Is that it? I'm not saying it's bad or anything, I'm just really wondering. And lizards. They just sit there, and you have to feed them crickets that have the potential to escape and chirp all over the house. Why lizards are good pets I truly don't get.

I like dogs. But that's just me.

10/13/2005 06:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Beanie said...

We have a 9 mo old American Eskimo Dog. We got him when he was 3 mo. old. He is WONDERFUL with children of all ages, nieces, nephews, neighbour kids, etc. (Us-no kids yet) He has a great temperment, and has been socialized really well. He is now fully grown and is about 25-30 lbs.

When we decided that we wanted a dog, we decided to go to dog shows. It was a great idea! They usually are free (parking may cost about 3-5 bucks). All of the dogs are super well behaved, and clean, and everyone there who is showing dogs LOVES to talk about the dog/s they have, so you can get alot of questions answered, and do alot of research on different kind of dogs. It's one thing to read about different kinds of dogs, but its totallly different to meet dogs, see personalities, pet them, ask about temperments, etc. of dogs. Dog shows are also neat to go to as a family. Info on shows in your area... www.infodog.com then go to show information, then you can search by state. To see alot of dogs, find an "all breed" show. Usually shows are all weekend, all day so we would go to saturday shows and stay most of the day, so we could see alot of different breeds. We met our breeder at a dog show.
At first we had no clue of what kind of dog we wanted...after about 3 dog shows we had it narrowed down to 2 (we also did tons of research at home via the internet and read lots of books) and then at the 4th we decided on an Eskie (american eskimo dog). The AKC web site is also a usefull tool. www.akc.org

We did decide to go with a purebred dog, it is an investment but they will be part of the family for 10, 15, maybe even 20 years. And us being first time dog owners, we wanted to know what we were getting in a dog, possible health problems, temperment, etc. Usually if you get a dog from a pet store (puppy-mill) or if it is a mix of some kind you don't always know. Kinda long post...sorry, but maybe someone will find it useful!

10/13/2005 10:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Heather H said...

You are amazing. I keep thinking it would be nice to have a cat or a dog for my kids. But, honestly I feel that cleaning up after 2 small children is enough for me. mAybe when the kids are better at cleaning up after them selves. I keep telling my Dh we need a dog named "Milhouse" and a cat named 'Edgar"

More power to ya sister!

10/13/2005 11:09:00 PM  
Blogger Heather O. said...


Thanks for the chicken leg tip. I'll have to research that one a little bit. That's MUCH better than feeding it 6-7 live mice at a time! We haven't had to feed it yet, so I'm not sure what to expect.

Pate and fmhLisa-
I'm glad that you think it's cool. You are definitely in the minority. Jacob wanted to bring the snake (now re-christened "Bo-Bo". He did NOT like the name "fluffy", to school. The teachers said the kids would be too scared, and decided against it. I doubt it's the kids who are uncomfortable with it!

I like the snake, but I'm drawing the line at letting the snake sleep in our beds. Both DH and Jacob have expressed an interest in letting the snake sleep with them. Craziness, I tell you!

10/14/2005 09:58:00 AM  
Anonymous Emily said...

So if a chiuaua is not a dog, does it belong to the rodent family?

Also, Wiz, many could say that Cats could be lumped into the category of non interactive pets.

10/14/2005 12:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Mark IV said...

Heather, don't sweat the symbol of the devil stuff. Remember, the symbol of Christ that Moses raised up for the children of Israel to look upon was also a serpent.

10/14/2005 02:33:00 PM  
Blogger Heather O. said...


Excellent point about cats. They also only interact when you make them, and certainly don't have a man's best human interests at heart.


10/14/2005 04:29:00 PM  
Blogger The Wiz said...

Yeah, cats totally suck, and an argument could definitely be made that they do not interact. But...people THINK they interact. They THINK they cozy up to them and purr and just generally be nice. It's only after they get them that they realize that cats are officially the sign of the devil.

10/14/2005 05:48:00 PM  
Blogger Us said...

I think that people who have snakes as pets are cool! I am not cool, since I am to chicken to own a snake. But I will pretend to be cool.
Our family had lots of pets growing up, even a duck that would ride on your shoulder. Pets are great if you have the time and space that they deserve. And snakes take up less time and space, so you go!
P.S. beanie, you gave yourself away and I know your alter ego! Loves ya!

10/15/2005 02:57:00 PM  
Blogger mindy said...

Please consider gradually switching over to pre-killed food. It's both more humane and safer for your snake. Check out this site for some good info: http://www.anapsid.org/prekill.html
I currently own four rats, and they are great little animals. Live-feeding really isn't humane. Plus, I think it can contribute to a callousness towards life in children if they repeatedly watch a snake kill other animals. I understand that everything needs to eat, but I think it is our responsibility as parents to do things in the most humane way possible and be sure our kids grow up compassionate and concerned about all the animals.

10/17/2005 11:29:00 AM  
Blogger mindy said...

Here's a good "How-to" article, as well: http://exoticpets.about.com/od/snakes/f/snakefeeding.htm

10/17/2005 11:32:00 AM  
Anonymous Heather O said...


Thanks for your comments. I also read that it's better to give a captive snake pre-killed food, both for the mice/rats, as well as the snake. Apparantly a cornered mouse or rat can seriously injure a snake, and you're right--it might totally wig my kid out to see a snake eating a live mouse. I'm not exactly sure how to do it, though, because the people we got the snake from fed it live mice. I think the gradual approach could work, though. I don't know. I still have a lot to learn!

10/17/2005 05:11:00 PM  

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