My boy has been driving me crazy about becoming a snake owner. There have been at least a hundred million conversations daily for the past few weeks. Sadly, he says there are few snakes that meet my criteria. I don’t want a snake that needs to eat rodents. I’m not afraid of snakes. I’m not especially afraid of mice…as long as they are living and running happily away from me. But, I really don’t like dead mice. Really. I am the one who will toss a perfectly good mouse trap if it has done it’s job as the thought of having to open my eyes and remove the poor critter just makes me sick. So the thought of maybe possibly seeing a snake devour a mouse, living or dead, is just terrifying. Noah has a friend who caught a rough green snake in her yard. Rough green snakes are insectivores (although some people are able to feed them guppies). The rough green nake would fit my criteria. No mice would be harmed and I would not have to keep frozen dead mice in my fridge (YUCK!). Anyhoo, this friend was going to give the rough green snake to Noah on his last day of school, but her mom (who apparently is far more sane than I am) released it to the wild. So, Noah had still been working out the snake issues. Had.
Over the weekend, we had occasion to be in the barn to find Noah’s minnow trap to catch a few more critters for the bay aquarium. Noah went up in the loft with my mother and quickly located the trap. Suddenly, I heard my boy let out a hair-raising scream. The primal call was followed by dead silence. And then my mom. “Noah, what’s wrong?” Nothing. Silence. Downstairs, I started to panic. “Noah, what’s wrong?” I heard my mom call again. More silence. As I opened the door to the staiway, my mom started to giggle. And then she laughed hard. Really hard. By the time I was halfway up the stairs I could see tears streaming down her face. So here’s what happened: Noah had picked up the trap nonchalantly and had opened it up without paying it any mind. He failed to notice that the trap had an occupant. A black snake, ready to taste freedom for the first time in who kows how long, had shot out across the snake expert’s hands and given him what you might call a good scare.
Afterwards, Noah lamented the fact that he had not been quick enough to catch this snake. I reminded him that that a black snake would not fit my criteria. He began to wonder if this whole snake thing was just too much. He had tried looking for snakes all over the yard despite warnings that he might find a copperhead which apart from being deadly, would also not fit my criteria. It became clear that he might have to order a snake. Maybe a checkered garter snake. He began looking into shipping policies from places like Florida Herpe and Blackwater Reptiles. That’s when he happened to spy a chameleon…
So, let’s take inventory on the critter situation at my house:
Ariel and Henry (two loving dogs, one 9 and one 2 who cause complete chaos in the house. Henry once caused me to wear a bowl of chili as a hat).
Blue and Alice Cooper Cat (two cats, both former strays. One is good like Ariel and the other takes after Henry and shreds roll after roll of toilet paper)
Abbey (the loud Conure, who has a eardrum busting yell and few words..mostly “No Henry, Henry, No”
Beardie (the bearded dragon we’ve had for years who is hands-down the easiest member of the pet family)
Yoshi (a gift from the science teacher–an old recued iguana who may or may not bite). I didn’t get this piece of info until it was time for pick-up. When I arrived at school, I had to call my mom to bring the truck. He is a big iguana with a cage that doesn’t fit the car. It took the science teacher, the school principal, school nurse, and the three of us to move him. Afterward the the science teacher gave my boy a high five and said “We are the happiest people in the world right now. You, because you have an iguana, Me, because I don’t.” Yoshi escaped within two minutes of homecoming, but was successfully captured within the hour. That apparently makes us experts at iguana capture.
Koi. We have 6 koi babies and a new koi pond.
Goldfish. Noah has about 15 goldfish in his bedroom that he plucked out of the farm pond.
An eel. I sent Noah into the corner store for drinks one day. He came out with a live eel swimming in a bag of water. To the eel aquarium, he also added some bay fish and whelk (also a gift from the science teacher). Over the weekend a few small crabs and an oyster moved in.
And at the farm, we have three sheep, two pygmy goats and some chickens.
I love watching Noah become the zoologist. It’s amazing. We’re going to have a chameleon soon, and I am looking for a yurt. I’ll be a stay-outside mom.