Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Biting the hand that feeds you.

For any of you who do not know about this, Jared has 2 corn snakes for pets. He bought them with his own money right after we moved to our new house. We had decided to get rid of all our cats, and a snake seemed like a lower maintenance animal. Of course we started with one snake, but soon that was not enough. I personally belong to the Harrison Ford school of "I hate snakes". In fact to say that I hate them is putting it mildly. I have loathed, feared and pretty much detested the slithering things from the time I was a small child. Most of my brothers and sisters loved catching Gardner snakes when we were children. Any sight of any snake sends me looking for higher ground, whether it be a table, tree, or the person standing next to me. When I see a snake, I need to be as high off the ground and far away from it as possible. This would account for my reluctance to getting a snake in the first place. But of course I am a softie and finally was persuaded that I would never have to actually touch the snake and that it would stay locked in its cage most of the time. This has been a happy arrangement for the past year and a half.

Jared has done a pretty good job of being in charge of all the snake care, ie feeding, holding, watering, and changing the paper shavings in the cage. For those of you fortunate enough to be in the dark about such things, snakes like to eat mice. And for those of us who need to feed our snakes they come in a handy frozen form. (Even snakes can eat frozen TV dinners.) Participating in the buying of frozen mice has been an experience I could do without. We first bought some with the snake from a pet store. To begin with you feed baby snakes, baby mice called "pinkies". The first time we bought some "pinkies" they came in a clear plastic baggie, that then had to be kept in my freezer next to the popsicles and ice cream. After those ran out, we went to PetSmart. After waiting for quite a while for someone to help us, one of the workers told us to just go over to the freezer and get the mice our selves. They have a freezer much like you would see at 7-11. In this freezer was a plastic storage bin containing several drawers. Each drawer had several white plastic bags with various sizes of mice and rats in them. I could not see how the bags were labeled, and so I began checking inside of the bags looking for the "pinkies". I opened several bags with disgusting rodents, but when I got to a bag containing a rat the size of a guinea pig, I had to draw the line. I went back to the worker and told him he would have to find the "pinkies" for me, as I did not want to visions of rats marching through my dreams for next few weeks. I do like the fact that that bags of mice from PetSmart are not clear, and so you can get the hamburger out of the freezer with out a close encounter with a small, frozen, pink mouse. Our snakes have now grown bigger and they have moved up from eating "pinkies" to "fuzzies". These are as appealing to look at, as you would imagine from the name of them.

OK, sorry for so much background information. This brings us to last Monday morning. For the past week, Jared has been complaining each night that he forgot to feed his snakes, and could I please remind him during the daytime, when he could do something about it. So on Monday morning I reminded him to feed his snakes. Marion was home and told Jared to take the snakes out of the freezer, let them defrost, and then Marion would do the feeding. Jared took the mice out to defrost. Marion had gotten up and gone to seminary to help our Bishop that morning, and decided to lay back down in Jared's room. When the timer went off, I took the mice up to the snake cage. I put a mouse in the bottom of two brown lunch sacks. I then made Marion reach up from where he was lying and lift each of the snakes into the bags. This all seemed to be going really well. Next I was adjusting the bags a bit so I could close the lid. As I tried to tip one of the bags on it side, I suddenly felt a small prick on my thumb. What happened next is a bit of a blur, but it involved lots of screaming and me flinging my hand in the air with the snake attached to my thumb. At some point the snake decided to let go of me and it landed on the floor on the other side of the room. I am now dancing around and yelling at Marion to get up and catch the snake. He is telling me that snakes do not bite, but I have two tiny red spots of blood on my thumb to prove otherwise. I run from the room still screaming and Marion tries to get up and get the snake. By now it is no where to be seen. I am less than thrilled by this, as my neighbor lost one of her kids corn snakes in her house for about 3 months. I think about begining to pack and go to a hotel for the next few months until the snake resurfaces because I know that I will not be able to live in my house if that snake is not locked safely in its cage. Diana is now wondering what all the screaming is about. Marion and I try to lift up all of the things on the floor of Jared's room, but do not find that snake anywhere. We finally narrow it down to being under the desk in the corner of Jared's room. In order to lift the desk, Marion had to move several things, including a fish tank on top of the desk. Finally he is able to lift the desk, and I look under it and spot the snake. Marion then moves the desk and picks up the escapee. Now he needs to put everything back together. He makes me hold the snake while he does this. Once again, I am not impressed, but it is better than having it get loose again. He is slowly adjusting everything, which includes cords to the several different things in Jared's room. I tell him that he needs to hurry before I pass out. Finally the snake is returned and I go off in search of some sort of sedation that can return my heart rate to normal. I was feeling a bit sleepy before this, but I have to admit to be much more awake after it was all said and done.


peacekeeper said...

I love you...i apologize but i just laughed. not at you being bit but at your dialogue. i look forward to seeing you guys on sunday. definetly keep that thing locked up while we are there. i prefer them behind glass as well.
see you soon.

Lisa said...

Wow - I'll have to have Susan read this as a lesson on what happens when you don't feed your snakes. How ironic that it bit you and not Jared. Don't these reptiles have any sense of justice?

Susan said...

well snakes can't see that well, so, especially when they are really hungry, they can't really tell the difference between your thumb and a pinkie mouse. so far I haven't had problems with biting, or forgetting to feed the snake. and when I feed it I just feed her in a plastic box because from what I've read there's nothing wrong with that. reggie hasn't seemed to have a problem with that, so I think it's OK. and also, aunt patty, I guess you wouldn't be thinking about the snake at this point, but when a snake bites you, you can give them serious mouth problems by pulling your hand back suddenly like that. you can rip out their teeth which isn't good. and it also can do more damage to your skin, too, so the best thing to do when a snake bites you is to cool it for a second and the snake should realize that you are not his breakfast and let go. :) I read this in a book I got from the pet store. so far reggie hasn't tried to bite me, and I use tweezers to feed the pinkies to her so she doesn't accidentally bite me.

Pat said...

Thank you for your words of advice. However, I do not plan on ever being biten by a snake again, so I will not be neeeding to know that I should just chill when they bite me. I am sorry for any harm I may have done to the poor little snake. I do realize that it was not intentional on the snakes part.