We have a menagerie of pets in our home. The majority of them are furry and have 4 legs. However, at the time my son completed 5th grade, he was involved in the Big Brothers program. As a reward for doing well for the school year, his big brother bought him a Ball Python.
Yes, he got my permission first.
Yes, I think it’s creepy. I also think it is fascinating. In fact, as long as I don’t have to touch it, I have no issues with it.
Unlike the rest of the animals in our home, the snake only requires feeding every 1 – 2 months. This past weekend happened to be one of those occasions. We ran down to the local pet supply store, picked up the appropriate sized food (so my son thought), and headed home.
When you feed a snake, it is important to provide it a quiet space away from its normal enclosure and leave it be. The feeding process can take some time, so my son gave Voltaire (yes, at the age of 10 he chose to name his snake Voltaire) his food, shut the enclosure, and walked away.
About a half hour later, 2 frantic teenagers came racing into the kitchen.
“I think Voltaire is dead!” they announce.
I must have had a puzzled look on my face, because my son looked at me and solemnly said, “I think he suffocated while trying to eat.” The poor kid was clearly distraught.
Remember the part where I said I was fine with the snake as long as I didn’t have to touch it? Recall, I also said you are supposed to leave snakes alone while they eat? Yeah… I was now faced with heading downstairs to touch an eating snake. *shudder*
I put on some thick leather gardening gloves and approached the snake. I confess, I was certain it was dead. I touched it anyway to see if it would move, and it did. I saw a faint movement of muscle. My son became cautiously optimistic.
“We need to take him to the vet! Now!” he exclaimed.
Take a snake to the vet?!? I quickly told my son to call the emergency vet number we kept on the fridge.
It was so impressive to hear him calmly explain the situation to the vet. He answered all of the vet’s questions thoroughly, and repeated the vet’s instructions back after receiving them. I was so proud of him for remaining calm in the crisis.
Per the vet’s instructions, we allowed the snake another hour to eat. Time passed, and the snake was able to consume it’s food successfully. As I write, Voltaire is curled up in a tight ball under his rock digesting, and all is well in the reptile realm.