An Accidental Pet
I have always loved animals – any animals! As far as I am concerned all pets enhance your life but that doesn’t mean that they don’t cause you a problem or two. Things can get particularly tricky when you have an issue of the reptilian variety.
A Fascination with Snakes
Many years ago I had become increasingly fascinated by snakes and so decided to welcome a couple into my home. The small garter snakes that I acquired were easy to care for and I found them to be completely amazing. I decided that I would like to invest in a more exotic species and settled on two Columbian rainbow boas.
These small constrictors required only a modest vivarium and proved easy to feed with mice. My snakes prospered and that would have been the end of the story if my local reptile specialist hadn’t run out of mice. I needed food for the snakes and so was forced to visit another pet shop to find it.
I wandered into a small establishment which advertised itself as a reptile specialist. Whilst waiting for the assistant to fetch me the mice I needed from the fridge, my attention was grabbed by a large boa constrictor in very small vivarium. It seemed to me that the snake did not have an appropriate home. When I quizzed the shop assistant I discovered that the poor reptile had been cooped up in that box for several months because nobody wanted to take her on.
Oh dear! Without really thinking about it I bought the snake and left the shop with a 7ft boa constrictor in a sack. It was only when I reached my car that I started wondering what on earth I was going to do with it!
A New Reptile Home
I immediately ordered an enormous vivarium which took up most of my spare bedroom. Cleo the constrictor seemed very happy with her new home. I wasn’t so happy about having a fridge full of dead rats to feed her, but hey!
I then discovered that large boa constrictors cause all sorts of unexpected problems.
Boas are skilled escapologists and can extricate themselves from their vivarium through the smallest of escape routes. These include the holes left by the air vents that my snake quickly learnt to pull out. I was forced to have the vivarium adapted to prevent any further episodes as Cleo also developed a knack of swinging on the handle of the room’s door. This could have resulted in her opening the door and roaming around the house which happened to feature my four cats. My moggies would surely have become Cleo’s dinner if I didn’t do something!
Several of my friends stopped visiting because they were terrified of the snake whilst others virtually moved in because they couldn’t get enough of her. My next door neighbour was phobic about snakes and appeared to be close to having a nervous breakdown!
Then I was planning my next holiday and encountered another stumbling block. What the hell do you do with a huge snake when you go away? Cats can go into a cattery and dogs into a kennel. You might even be lucky enough to have a friend who can look after your pets. But it seemed inappropriate to ask anyone to feed dead rats to Cleo and clean out her vivarium in my absence!
Luckily I found a place that boarded reptiles but it was a three-hour round trip to drop off and collect Cleo. It was also quite expensive!
Ultimately I was forced to acknowledge that I had bitten off more than I could chew with my clever constrictor. She was a placid snake who posed no threat to people but she terrified so many of my friends and family that I had to take the difficult decision to let her go to a new home. A local collector was very keen to have her and so I am sure that she ended up in the right place and that certainly wasn’t my spare bedroom!