Things I Love, Part 1

The first time I held a snake, I was in second grade. One of my classmates brought in his pet corn snake for show and tell, and afterwards anyone who wanted to hold it could. I remember how soft the little body was, and how it felt like there was nothing but muscle under the skin.

I’ve been afraid of slugs, snails, cockroaches, possums (briefly), and having moths fly into my face, but I’ve never been afraid of snakes. I feel bad for people who are afraid of them, like I feel bad for kids who haven’t learned to like vegetables yet. Sometimes, over the weekend, I’ll take the hour long trip across the bay to the Berkeley Vivarium. It’s a warm, weird little shack of a place filled to the brim with lizards, spiders, amphibians, and of course– snakes. My favorite part of the store is the back left corner where they keep the Burmese and Reticulated Pythons (the Chameleons are charming too, I’ll get to them another time).

Although the Burmese Python is one of the five largest snakes in the world, it is a surprisingly good pet (for experienced snake owners!). They are slow, gentle animals. I love the way their skin folds up when they curl up in a pile. I love their big, broad faces. They make me feel safe, they are so quiet. I don’t believe they think about too much at all.

At the California Academy of Sciences, there lives an Albino Reticulated Python named Lemon Drop. Reticulated Pythons look similar to Burmese Pythons (they are also quite large), but they’re not nearly as easy to handle. Still, every time I visit, I stop by the gift shop to see Lemon Drop and hang with him for a while. It must be very strange living in a gift shop. People say stupid things about him all the time. I feel weirdly offended when I hear someone call him an ‘anaconda’ or ‘boa constrictor’. The kids get it though, they get Lemon Drop.

Snakes are very, very delicate animals. If you can get your pet snake to eat frozen food, it is highly encouraged. Even a little mouse could potentially scratch its predator’s face or eyes and do permanent damage. Snakes have so much more to be afraid of than us.

When a snake is pregnant, its eggs fill up nearly its entire body, lying along the length of its spine.

Snakes see with their tongues. Watch a snake’s tongue flicker up and down. It is very silly looking.

Snakes are really cute when they yawn.

That’s pretty much what I have to say about snakes.

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