As I’m trying to climb over this wall that’s keeping me from writing posts I got this prompt and it reminded me of when I had a snake as a pet.
Yeah, yeah, I can feel the looks I’m getting. I got a lot of those back then. In fact, I got a whole spectrum of reactions about the snake back then. I don’t blame people for their negative reactions at all. I get it. But when a 20-something year old woman is holding a non-venomous snake (boa constrictor) that is completely calm (both the snake and me) do you really think it’s going to leap onto you and kill you? Plus at the time he wasn’t much bigger around than my finger. Now I know there are phobics and I respected that. Still do, which is why there’s not a feature photo at the top. But with people who were initially just uninformed, I would try to explain and educate them so they wouldn’t be afraid. A lot of times it worked and they would relax and even pet him. More times than I can count, it was the first time they’d ever touched a snake. Which was really cool. So many people thought that snakes were slimy. They’re not, and the scales are so smooth that they almost feel like skin. People were really surprised when they touched him.
The reactions could be really surprising. I had a friend that was a 7th degree black belt in Karate and was a master who taught classes on it. I’ve never seen anyone take off so fast as when I brought the snake out of the bag. He was a good 100 feet away by the time I’d gotten the snake out. It was hilarious actually. Kids were the best, by far. 98% of them weren’t scared at all and were eager to touch him. I’d always let them start at the back if they were nervous. But even if they were, it didn’t take long for them to realize it was safe.
As I said, I was in my mid 20’s at the time. I’d take him all over the place with me. Sometimes he’d stay in my front jacket pocket, sometimes just wrapped around my wrist, sometimes in a Crown Royal whiskey bag. (Crown Royal whiskey comes in these gorgeous purple and gold sort of fleece bags with a drawstring at the top. It was perfect for him.) He went to the library, local restaraunts, clubs, the club that I worked at as a cashier (on my days off), friends’ houses and parties. If I didn’t bring him, people would ask where he was and why didn’t I bring him. He was never aggressive and loved to be stroked under his neck. Red Tail Boas are pretty common as pets. They aren’t very active animals and they don’t move particularly quickly so it was easy to take him places. He’d stay in one spot for a really long time, and was perfectly comfortable in a Crown Royal bag.
As he got bigger, I couldn’t take him with me anymore. While he was still fairly small, like 2 feet long, he got lost in my brother’s apartment. Bro was holding him on his lap and forgot about him and when he looked down, he was gone. We looked everywhere for him. He was lost for 6 months. My guess is that he went into the frame of the couch, then over to the TV, which was a tube type and had the back off of it. It would’ve been warm there. I’ll note here that constrictors can go weeks and months without eating, depending on their size. But 6 months for a snake his size is really long. Plus he hadn’t had any water. He was in bad shape when he showed up. Super dehydrated and weak. I took him to a specialist vet who gave him a shot and told me to feed him calcium and baby food meat with some water in a syringe. Seems like I had to do that every 5-7 days. It worked because he survived. It stunted him though because he was always undersized for his age. I kept him for a few more years until he got to be about 8 foot long, then I sold him to a guy who had better facilities for a snake his size.