Over the summer, we suffered the loss of one of our beloved pets. Snakey McNinja had really lived up to her name, and had somehow escaped from her tank, only to be maimed and killed by our cat, Tribble. Mike found her on the carpet by her tank in the morning. It was already far too late, and the damage was far too extensive even if we had found her earlier. Fortunately the kids weren’t home, so they were spared the sight of it.
It was extremely sad, but Tribble was just doing what cats do (I didn’t really blame her, but we definitely weren’t on speaking terms for a few weeks, heh). The empty tank sat for weeks while summer rolled on. We discussed maybe getting a lizard, but summer is already a crazy time for us, so nothing else was done until fall.
One afternoon a few weeks ago I was browsing Kijiji, which I do fairly regularly, looking for deals on furniture (we just got some AWESOME shelves for the living room to hold the tanks and all of our leather-working stuff, for a great deal. Thanks Kijiji!). On a whim, I looked through the pet section (sometimes people are giving away supplies or some unique animals come up for sale) and I came across an ad for baby ball pythons.
Mike has never been wild about the idea of having different types of snakes, but I e-mailed the breeder anyway (yes, a breeder, more on that in a moment). He still had the “normal” colored male that I was interested in, and did I want him? After plenty of eyerolling from Mike and lots of “Oh come on, we can’t just have an empty tank!” from me, we agreed to take him.
Nicodemus, as he has come to be known, was only a new hatchling, so the breeder wanted to wait until the snake had eaten a couple of times before sending him home (snakes sometimes go on hunger strikes when you disrupt them, so if he went off his food when we got him home, he needed some meals in his belly or he could die of starvation). After over two weeks of waiting, I got to pick him up last night.
Adam, of Alberta Pythons, was awesome! He was all too happy to show me the rest of his collection (I got to hold one of these guys, and also saw one of these) and talk snakes with me while I was there. I got to see inside of his incubator, where there were still a handful of large eggs waiting to hatch. It was really fantastic.
We got Nicodemus boxed up, Adam said not to hesitate to e-mail him if we had any problems, and off I went.
When we got home, Mike held him for the above photo, and I think he’s sold now. He’s already talking about maybe trying our hand at breeding snakes someday, and all the different colors we could get. We still love Noodle (and corn snakes in general) but it’s exciting to try something different. Nicodemus won’t be old enough to make snake babies for 3-5 years, so there won’t be a hatchery going any time soon.
*A note about breeders:
Normally Mike and I do not purchase animals from breeders. I am decidedly AGAINST supporting an industry that floods an already over-populated market with pets, when thousands are destroyed monthly for lack of good homes. Our dog, our cat, and even Noodle were all rescues. There are so many great animals (even purebreds) already waiting to be adopted, it just doesn’t make sense to pay a ridiculous amount of money for a puppy. All of the dogs I’ve adopted have happened to be purebred, so there really is no excuse. You can find almost any kind of cat for FREE on Kijiji at any given time as well. There are pages and pages of cats, everything from Maine Coon to “Mixed Breed”.
That said, fortunately there isn’t a huge problem with the over-breeding of snakes (mainly because they can only lay one clutch per year, it’s WAY more involved to breed them, and you need incubators and other special equipment, unlike dogs and cats) but it IS important to only purchase captive bred snakes because supporting importers who capture wild snakes and mess with the natural population is bad for everyone. I did check Kijiji and the local animal rescues for snakes before deciding to purchase Nicodemus, but there usually aren’t any surrendered snakes. I also wouldn’t buy reptiles from a pet store, because of how the animals they sell are acquired and treated (not just in store, but the whole process to get them to the store). If you’re looking for a specialty animal, like a ball python, it’s best to support good and ethical local breeders, and visiting their breeding facility should be an excellent indicator of how they care about their animals.