Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Warning - This Post May Have An "ICK" Factor for Some

When you have pet snakes, there is some nastiness involved in their care.

Bobo - our Ball Python

Wiggles - our Mexican King Snake

At our last "girls' night" at our house, it happened to be snake feeding night which led to a lot of discussion about pet snake care. Lisa was just mesmerized by it all, so this post is for her - especially certain parts of it.

Our snakes our cool to watch. They are a great science tool for our kids and the daycare kids and they're just a neat and unusual pet.
They do take some special care. They live in a tank and every so often - about once a week - that tank is gonna need cleaned. Because it STANKS! And I mean STANKS! When a snake poos, it is not a pleasant smell and the minute I walk down the stairs after Bobo has done it, well, there is no hiding the fact that it has become snake tank cleaning day.
Sorry - this picture is for Lisa....
Snake poo is amazingly large. That's the waste from a whole rat! I swear he poops more at a time than some of the 2 year olds around here! But enough poop... There is more nastiness!

Snakes shed their skin... And it doesn't always go well. It's not always found in the long, snake-looking lengths you see in the wild or in display in a museum. When it's a little too dry in his tank, the skin comes off in little nasty bits that are also a pain to clean up!

So, on snake tank cleaning day after a poo and a bad shed, it's just a load of fun to get all the nastiness out of the tank. That and the snake, being an ignorant wild animal, will often have laid in the stanky poo he just dropped, which means not only does the tank stank but so does the snake. The first thing we have to do is go give him a little shower under a faucet to wash the stankiness off of him! Then when he's all clean and dry, I'll wrap him around me like a boa (get it?? A boa? He's not a boa, he's a ball python, but get it?) And I'll get all the nastiness out of the tank, remove the carpet and wipe everything down with this awesome de-stank-defying cleaner!

Then the clean carpet goes in along with all of Bobo's goodies and he's a happy boy again!

Not only do snakes need some extensive cleaning of their tanks done, but they think they need to eat, too! Now, they do only eat about once a week, but people - they eat rodents. Luckily these rodents are already dead and they're frozen in neat little plastic baggies, but once a week we do need to thaw out a mouse (also called a fuzzy!) for Wiggles and a rat for Bobo.

We pop them into cups of hot water (don't worry - these are designated rodent thawing cups and are not used for any other purpose, even after they're washed each time! You WILL NOT be served a beverage at my house in a rodent thawing cup!) and let them thaw out and get warm (that way the snakes might think they're still alive because snakes are ignorant wild animals...) Bobo's rat has to be thawed inside a baggie because he's a little persnickety and will not eat a wet rat - spoiled snake...

When the rodents are warm, we grab them by the tail with a pair of pliars. Here's an important note - do not hold the pliars too tightly because it is possible to pinch the tail clean off a thawed mouse!!! Then, we dangle the warm rodent in front of the snake and wait for the strike! Mmmmm, mmmm good!

They love it! It is amazing to see how much Bobo's mouth has to stretch to fit a big ol' rat in his mouth! The kids get very excited when they get to watch the snake eat.

And just think.... We get to do it all over again in just another week!

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