Well, it was like this...
|Snake keeping -
or herpetology to give it its proper name - has been a
hobby of mine since I bought Shaggy, my first corn snake, a few years ago.
that I had seen snakes in zoos,
like most people; and I had, many years ago, briefly
handled non-venomous snakes that the gully-gully man (snake
charmer/magician) in Singapore used to let the children
hold for a minute or two, to have their picture taken. But other than
that, I had virtually no experience of snakes, never mind
knowing how to look after one.
So why on earth did I end
up with a snake for a pet? Well, several reasons really;
the first being that in the apartment where I live, dogs
and cats are not allowed. In any case, a dog would not be
a practicable thing for me, much as I love them. A cat
wouldn't do either, for much the same reason. Basically,
all I could keep would have to be something small that
either lives in a cage or tank. Which usually means
either small furry animals (eg rats, gerbils, hamsters
etc) or birds or fish.
I have kept
birds in the past (pretty little zebra finches) - but
they are noisy and tend to make a right mess, chucking seed and
feathers here and there. I've also kept tropical fish and
found that, whilst being an interesting hobby, it is a
continual drain on the pocket: there is always something
you need to buy for the tank! Rats etc, are OK, but, just
as you are building up a good relationship with one,
after about three years, they go and die of old age!!! So
I didn't really want any of those: so I got to thinking
about a snake - corn snakes generally live from 12 to 15 years, about as long
as a dog; so I started visiting a local specialist
reptile pet shop with more than cursory interest.
After two or
three visits the guy running the shop obviously realized
that I was interested in buying, because when I asked him
about prices of things, I was pleasantly surprised. I'd
always imagined that buying, setting up home and keeping
a snake would be an expensive business. But he told me I
could have a 'starter-kit' for £45.00. (Remember, this was 1995 - a starter kit
nowadays would be around £60.00). This included a
hatchling corn snake, a vivarium to keep him in, a
heating mat, a bag of wood chippings and a non tippable
water dish, ie one that a snake couldn't get his nose
under and tip over - snakes love getting under things! I had always imagined the
price to set up and buy a
snake would be well over £100.00.
thinking for a few days about what I was about to commit
myself to, I decided to buy one! I was shown how to feed
him, handle him and given instructions about how often to
feed and water him. Thereafter I have been given all the
advice I ever needed; the shop is even open on Sundays
and I have a phone number I can ring anytime. I have
taken my snake back there every so often, so that he may
be given a onceover by the guy in the shop. It's reassuring
to be told I'm doing things right - he's in the
peak of health (the snake, I mean - I don't know about the guy in the shop).