Ordinarily I prefer pets with a greater emotional range than our latest, but I can’t pretend I don’t find her interesting. Travis, who is a self-taught but very knowledgeable amateur herpetologist, dashed my hopes for emotional communion with our new pet early on. Whoever is holding her is a warm tree. Everything else is: 1) Food, or 2) Something that thinks she’s food.

Still, she is an animal, and one very unlike me, and therefore of interest. I watched her eat last weekend, and was only mildly repulsed, so I’m sure next time will be even better. We bought her a box of “Arctic Mice” which, despite the cleverly innocuous label, are actually frozen, pink, hairless baby mice that might, under other circumstances, fall into the “so ugly they’re cute” category. Our new roommate gets one frozen pink thing per week, defrosted in a cup of warm water. There is some dispute as to whether she is visually impaired or just extremely stupid (even by snake standards), because we dangled the Arctic mouse next to her head for several minutes before she noticed it and, in a flash, dislocated her jaw and stuffed the head into her mouth like Henry VIII on a turkey leg.

She slowly swallowed the mouse until only the tail was left. She lay that way for awhile, the long pink tail hanging lewdly out of her bulging mouth. Once the tail disappeared, I expected her to lie around lazily for awhile, encumbered by the conspicuous lump in her middle. But nah, she had things to do, and resumed patrolling her tank, flicking her forked tongue to see if there might be anything else in the offing.

And then she took a nap in her water dish.



2 thoughts on “Our new roommate

  1. If emotional communion (of some kind) is not possible with a snake, then why do they hang out together? 🙂 I’ve seen – what is it, pods? armies? herds? – of snakes that are pretty blatantly hanging out together. And not only that, but curled up on top of each other like a basket of puppies – albeit, colder, slicker, less – ahhhh – inspiring puppies.

    I say keep trying. We have no idea what that little snake is capable of. You might be a non-food-bearing (man! I am heavy-on-the-hyphens-today.), bipedal tree to her, but you might be her favorite kind of tree.

  2. Crocodilians do that too. Picture coming!

    She and I are still getting used to each other. Apparently when you’re nervous or uncertain, you start to quiver imperceptibly and your temperature rises. Thus you become a hot tree swaying in the wind, which doesn’t feel quite as good to the snake.

    I am apparently still a hot and unstable tree, although Travis (as you can see from the picture) is a sturdy oak, on accounta his many years handling reptiles.

    I’m working on it though.

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