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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Slithering pet pythons named Fish? HUH?

When I received an email from You Gotta Read asking me to guest blog, I was delighted. Then I thought, “Well what I am going to write? It has to be something exciting, something new, something fresh…”
Then, from across the room, my pet python started to slither around his vivarium. So I thought: “Yes. I’ll tell the readers about my pet snake.”
The snake is a ball python called Fish. Don’t ask why – I have no idea. He doesn’t really belong to us, per se. My partner and I are “borrowing” him while his owner, my partner’s little brother, is going through university, where the dorms don’t allow pets.
Ball pythons originated in Africa and are non-venomous. Their skin is very dark brown or black with gold, lighter brown or green blotches. They normally grow up to around 5 feet. Fish is currently 4 and a half feet long – scarily, that’s almost as tall as me if he were stretched out!
They’re called ball pythons because they curl into a ball most of the time. Like, for anything. If Fish is tired, hungry, annoyed or stressed, he’ll ball up. The only time he stretches out is when he’s looking for food or he’s curious about something happening outside (usually me writing).
We feed him defrosted mice. This sounds awful, but the weird thing is that the mice stink when they are frozen but don’t smell at all when they’re defrosted. Surely it should be the other way around?!
When Fish first moved in with us, he didn’t eat for months. The handbook we got warned us about this. When given unfamiliar food, the snake doesn’t eat out of fear, or possibly spite, according to the reptile experts. I was pretty worried but after the third month, he finally took the soggy little mouse I offered. Maybe it was just the mice you get in Cardiff are inferior to the mice that he got living in Kent. Who knows?
Lots of people I know fear Fish. Even though he is not that long (by most standards) and isn’t really that wide (he couldn’t swallow even one of an adult’s fingers if he wanted to), my friends imagine that he is a beast akin to an anaconda, which can grow to thirty-three feet. My boss often jokes that I’ll wake up to find Fish in the bed with an Alex (my partner) shaped lump inside him. I just wish she’d come see the snake for herself! Knowing my luck if she did Fish would do something extraordinary out of spite.
What else can I tell you? Yes. The one time Fish did escape, from his old home in Kent, he hid under the couch for a few days. That’s all. He didn’t attack once. He’s the tamest snake I’ve ever met.
Although I can’t say I’ve met many….
I hope you’ve enjoyed the brief introduction to my pet snake. Sadly, he’s the only pet I’ll probably ever have, as I have a horrendous fur allergy (being in a room with a small Yorkshire terrier for five minutes had me streaming for almost a whole day), but he’s easy to care for and he doesn’t mind being handled.
What’s not to love?
I guess I should also add that, for snake-fearers, none of my books feature snakes. At least, not yet.

If you found this piece interesting, or even if you hated it, feel free to get in touch. You can visit me and find out about my current and future releases at www.jasmineaherne.com
Thanks for reading!


Ann Whitaker said...

Snakes can make interesting pets, so I've been told. I'm allergic to everything myself, but thankfully, not dogs. I do think you should work your snake into a novel. I see all kinds of potential for symbolism. :-)

Isabel Roman said...

I love reading snake information or watching it on Discovery or National Geographic. I have no idea why, I'm fairly certain I'd run screaming should I ever meet a snake not behind glass, but alas.

A snake as a secondary character sounds great, very uique!

MarthaE said...

Interesting pet - thanks for sharing! Glad you can have some pet since you are allergic to fur. Do you think you will get one of your own when the owner comes back from college?
I just recently reviewed (at YGR) a book called Scales of Love and the heroine's pet was a boa! It was a fun read. So it might be interesting for you to include a snake in your books!