A Day in the Life of a Snake Rescuer
Most people think snakes are slimy, slithering creatures that bite and kill people just because you got too close. I am definitely not one of them. I run a snake rescue out of my house, and love every scaly second of it. I've got all different types of snakes, and hold them all every day. They're not slimy or gross whatsoever. They're beautiful misunderstood beings that just have a bad rap. Not everyone will ever feel the way I do, but people shouldn't be afraid just because their reputation proceeds them. Spend time with one before you decide to hate them and be afraid of them; in some aspects they can even be better pets than cats or dogs. (I am a huge cat lover too, so trust me on that one.)
What I Do In My Day
Believe it or not, snakes are very easy to work into your schedule. Granted I'm a stay-at-home mom and I have a bit more free time than most people, even the busiest people can take a snake or two home and give them everything they need. My day starts off waking up and turning all of the snake lights on. We only have 8 snakes right now, but seeing as how our rescue is very quickly taking off, that will change shortly. After turning all of the lights on, I clean water dishes and fill them up, and check the temperature on both sides of the tanks, because snakes need a basking temperature that is higher than the ambient temperature. We have them in a special room that has its own temperature controls, so it's easier to keep the temp up to where it needs to be. Humidity is a little harder, especially when a snake is shedding and we don't have the best tanks for humidity, but misting the cage a few times a day helps out. After that, I do my normal housework, and pick up my 5 year old from school. (My husband takes the kids to school so I can sleep in, he's so sweet!!!) After feeding him and putting him down for a nap, it's back to housework, as well as taking care of my other animals. I've got a bit of a farm here, but now that our chickens are laying eggs, it makes it all worth it. :)
After I pick up my older two from school and get them started on homework, it's back to the snakes. I hold every snake for at least 20 minutes a day, every day. They need to get our of their cages and get some exercise, just like we do. Since we have 3 snakes in quarantine right now, I start with the healthy ones. Just make sure to wash your hands between each snake. If one does happen to have something, you can pass it along before even knowing that the first was contaminated. They all make great couch buddies, so if you're ever just sitting on the couch, having a snake sitting on your shoulder or wrapped around your arm just makes it even better. By the time I'm through holding the small 7, my husband is home, and he helps me get our our big boy, Zeus. He's a 7 foot Red Tail Boa, and the best cuddler we have. He even likes watching TV with us. Granted, he does take up the whole couch when he's stretched out, but usually he's wrapped around a leg or a waist a time or two, so it's no big deal. Just remember, any snake over 5 feet long, you shouldn't handle by yourself. They won't try anything, but it's just safer that way. Sometimes snakes don't know their own strength, and usually when they start to constrict a but, they're trying to hold up their own body weight (which can be pretty hefty depending on the breed). After all the snakes have been held, it's time to check water again, turn off lights, check temperatures, and start cooking dinner, as well as take out my Ferret. He's a cutie, but ferrets and snakes don't get along at all... Then it's time for the boys to shower and go to bed, and me to finally have time to myself to do whatever I like. Usually I'll read, play games, or watch some TV, but most of the time, it involves a snake hanging out with me.
Snakes make great pets for anyone. They're almost always allowed in apartments, they don't stink, you don't have to clean any litter boxes (just spot clean every few days depending on their feeding schedule), and they're easily portable to just about anywhere. I've even been allowed to take one or two of mine into Walmart. The hardest part for most people to get over is their diet. Luckily, you can get frozen mice and rats at most pet stores, and once thawed, very few snakes have any problems eating those. That way you don't have to feel responsible for the death of a helpless rodent. Other than that, snakes are perfect!
Some Things People Need To Know
If you decide to get a snake for a companion, there's a few things to remember.
- Snakes live a long time! Some snakes can reach a ripe old age in their 20's or even 30's. Be prepared to have the snake longer than you'll have your car.
- Depending on the breed of snake, some will grow to be massive. Burmese Pythons can grow to be up to 20+ feet and can weigh well over 200 lbs. If you don't have the room for it now, you won't have the room for it later. Stick with a smaller snake. Corn Snakes are beautiful, colorful, and usually only get about 5 feet long and no wider than a man's thumb. Adult mice is the biggest they'll eat.
- Heat and humidity is very important for snakes. If they're not kept at the proper temperature, they can get sick and even die. If the humidity isn't kept right, they won't shed properly, and could get infections and possibly even lose the end of their tail.
- Some breeds of snakes require permits to own and transport. Check your local laws for more information on that. But there's also a bill that is in Congress that will possibly ban the sale and transport of "injurious" snakes, including pythons and possibly even boas. Again, check local laws.
- If you decide you cannot care for your snake, do not let it go outside. There are plenty of people out there that would give your pet a great home, and if you can't find one of those, there's plenty of rescues. Some of them will even pay for shipping if it's too far away to drive. (Like me...)
- Brookside Snake Rescue
A link to my snake rescue facebook page. Just for your own information... :)
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