Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Have I Mentioned Recently that my Husband is a Saint?

Because he is.  The man is a complete saint.

I was on Facebook one day, and through a variety of connections I learned of a 20-year-old diamond/ carpet python mix in need of a home.

I asked Brent.  He said yes.

We now have a 5-to-6-foot-long geriatric diamond/ carpet python residing in our dining room...

... you know, as one does.

Meet Beatrice:

She's a lovely girl, and in incredibly good shape especially considering her advanced age according to DocRock, our herp vet.  She's also got an excellent feeding response, so here's hoping she does well for the remainder of her years :)

Friday, August 21, 2015


Well, both Bella and Sarah have finally shuffled off their mortal coils, so we are now ratless.  I don't see us changing that at any time in the future, to be frank.  The rats were lots of fun and I'm really glad we had them, make no mistake!  But for such easy creatures to keep, they certainly are time consuming.  The rat-poo shoveling alone took more hours out of my life over this past 2.5 years... oish.

I will say that if I ever lose my mind and end up with more rats (because I am a slow, slow learner), one thing I will do is regardless of which genders the rats are is get them fixed -- spayed for girls, neutered for boys.  We lost Oops faster than I thought we would, but watching Bella and Sarah navigating their mammary tumors was difficult.  When female rats are spayed at a young enough age, the incidence of mammary tumors is drastically reduced.  I don't think I could in good conscience have pet rats again without committing to a spay/ neuter program.

In other news, Sam the Sulcata is doing quite well and even has his own Facebook page, because I am a complete and utter dork.  Here is a comparison picture of Hatchling Sam vs. 1-month-old Sam:

 Next, Sam performing the primal Yawp!

Sam, in a vain attempt to hide beneath a spring of flat-leaf parsley:

And finally, my latest-and-greatest favorite picture, Sam sulking because his salad has zero romaine lettuce:

The little guy has really grown since we first brought him home, and has more than doubled in weight.  He's now more than 100 grams and shows zero signs of stopping.  I've already drawn up the footprint and plans for a much, much larger indoor home for him (2 feet x 6+ feet) that should serve until he's large enough to live outside full-time; we're starting construction on that beast as soon as we get the boys settled in for the school year.

So, no more rats, but we are definitely enjoying an abundance of tortoise!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Hah! This will take care of it...

The Sarah Rat and Bella are still trucking around, even with their ever-growing tumors.  But at 30 months they're not long for this world, so our season of pet-death will continue until the last rat shuffles off its mortal coil.

However!  I have solved a future iteration of this problem with our latest addition to the zoo.  Meet Sam:

Sam is a hatchling Sulcata tortoise, and he is darling.   Actually, "he" could very well be a "she" because it's difficult to sex tortoises accurately at this young an age, but for now we're just going to default to the masculine pronoun... in part because almost every other critter in my house is male so why should my luck change now?  That said, if Sam becomes Samantha, my Bewitched-obsessed self will not be overly distressed.

In spite of his current petite flower status, Sam will eventually grow to be over 100 lbs., with a shell length of up to 32 inches.  For now, though, he's completely dwarfed by his salad:

So much cuteness, I die!

Regarding how this fixes the pet death situation?  Well in this case, barring any health issues, Sam should outlive both Brent and me.  He has a life expectancy of over 70 years -- some sources say over 100 years -- so I think it's safe to say he's going to outlive us both.  We'll have to make provisions for him in our will; the Gum Zombie has volunteered to take him on once we're gone.  That said, the child is twelve so if things change we'll make alternate arrangements for this little fellow.

Who won't be very little at all by that point.

It's nice to have one pet I probably won't have to say goodbye to :)

Friday, May 1, 2015

Another One Bites the Dust

RIP, Oopsie Bear - 4/27/2015.

Sorry for the spate of utterly non-snake related posts, thus rendering the title of this blog beyond inaccurate as it is most definitely not all about the herps.  On the plus side, though, this means all the snakes are doing well.

Sarah and Slither, the Kenyan sand boas, are eating and growing as they should.  Actually they're a little chunky.  But still very cute.

Lucy and Scales, our cinnamon ball pythons, continue to thrive.  Scales is on an eating run right now, as opposed to his eating strike of about a year ago.  He's much smaller than he would be had he not gone through that.  I may start feeding him more often to see if that puts a little more size on him, although he doesn't actually need it.  Lucy is luxuriating in her greater size, and is a delight.

Leonard is utterly, gorgeously Leonard.  My favorite thing to do is get him out of his enclosure and let him sit around my shoulders.  It's a bit difficult to do since the dogs are quite interested in him, and at everyone's current sizes I'm afraid my precious snake would be in more danger from my dogs than the reverse.  That won't always hold true, but for now I'm really working to make sure my sweet scaly boy is safe from his furry, yappy housemates.

And Sheldon remains Evil, which is not coincidentally his former name.  Actually he's not awful, and some days he's fine with coming out of his enclosure.  Other days I think he's wishing for hands just so he could flip me off...

We're down to just two rats:  Bella, and the Sarah Rat.  They're right at 28 months old, and both have mammary tumors.  I've talked with my vet about options, surgery vs. palliative care, and at this point we're at the latter option.  If they were just a year old or even a healthy eighteen months old I probably would opt to have the tumors removed, but at this age it is major surgery with no guarantee they'd even survive it, or that they would survive the recovery.  They're just two very old ladies, getting ricketier as the days pass, bless their little hearts.  So I'm watching their tumors and their movement carefully, and should the need arise we will take them to the vet for one final trip.

I'll be sad when all our little rats have died, but in a way it will be a relief.  I've had enough pet death in the past six months, thank you very much.  I don't want to have to bury anything else I love for a few more years.

Monday, April 6, 2015

So long, farewell...

I last posted in October of 2014, and figured it was all good to go.  In all fairness, it should have been.

Sadly, my Emily got sick mid-November of 2014 and after a week's hospitalization, we had to make the very difficult (yet agonizingly easy) call to have her put down.  She had an extremely aggressive cancer and in spite of our efforts, there was nothing we could do.

I miss her.  She went from this, at only 8 years old,

to this:
And finally, to this:
I'm heartbroken.  But when we brought her home, both our boys (Daniel and Bob) stood guard over her statue for hours.  They miss her, as do we all.


Once we thought we were safe, Nicole (rat, age 25 months) had a stroke.

We thought she was on her way out, but she kept going.

so I took her to the vet and all seemed promising!

But $58.00 and two days later she left us.  Drat.


I wasn't planning on getting another animal, but my mother was looking for a puppy two years after her beloved chihuahua Dora passed away.  She wanted me to come with her to look at a possibility with her.  I did.  The puppy wasn't for her.  But...

She was for us.  Her name is Lily :)  Lily is a chiweenie (God help us, I know -- I can't believe we have a chiweenie either) and she is darling.


So here we are, now 2 cats and 3 dogs rather than the reverse. We're doing pretty well, all things considered.  Of course, our three remaining rats aren't going to make it too much longer.  Bella has a mammary tumor along with a likely case of liver cancer; Oops is getting scary-thin for no apparent  reason, and The Sarah Rat is staring into space without any impetus so... yeah, it's bad on the rodent end.

But they're our babies.  We'll do the best we can.  Prayers welcome, y'all.  The scaly critters are blooming, so on the plus side there is that :)

Take care.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Gratuitous Boa Shot

Because my friends are awesome, one of them took this picture of Leonard when I took him to dance class with me this week:

I love how his little head is just peeping out from under my hair :)

I'm a total slacker with Halloween costumes, but my teacher has wanted to meet one of my scalier critters and we agreed Halloween would work marvelously for that.  So here I am, in all my non-costumed glory, snake in tow:

Snakes count as costuming, right?  Right?


Heh... regardless, have a happy Halloween, y'all :)

Monday, October 20, 2014

An Addition!

Well, what do we have here...

Yes, folks, that gleeful sound you hear all the way from Central Florida would be me, and the lovely creature rather ingloriously displayed on the throw blanket is Sheldon, our relatively recently acquired two-year-old male Dumeril's boa.

I am beyond psyched.

We weren't planning on a new snake any time soon (not until the pet rats passed away, at least -- bless their stinky little hearts, they are darling but they are not low maintenance); however, my exotics vet called me one day last month to tell me that her family situation had changed about a bit and she was downsizing her reptile collection.  She knew I wanted a Dumeril's boa at some point, so would I be interested in her male?

Of course, my gut-level response was YES!!!  followed by feeling pretty awesome that my exotics vet thinks enough of my reptile keeping to be okay with me taking over one of her darlings.  Reality fortunately set in pretty quickly and I naturally said I would be thrilled but I did need to talk to my husband to see if we could realistically take him in.

Thankfully, that dear man said yes.

Sheldon is settling in pretty nicely.  He ate after we'd had him just a week and has been pounding back his food with great regularity ever since.  He's the most cage-aggressive of all my snakes (none of the rest of them appear to be at all cage-aggressive, to be honest), but once he's clear of his enclosure he's an absolute doll and with regular handling is taming down rather nicely.  One thing my vet regrets is that she wasn't able to handle him as much as she'd have liked, so he's a bit wild for a Dum.

Rumor has it they tend to be a bit moody anyway, so if that's the case he's spot-on.  But he's just awesome and I'm obviously thrilled about to death.

Leonard is also doing amazingly well.  He continues to grow and become more and more peachy with every shed.  He is absolutely gorgeous.

That's my beautiful boy lazing around on my arm.  In spite of finally having my Dumeril's, I have to admit that Leonard remains my favorite.

The ball pythons continue to do well, and eliminate waste with near-distressing regularity.  The sand boas also thrive, especially Slither (aka The Most Beloved Snake Extant) who I'm actually toying with putting on a bit of a diet considering he's now resembling more of an oversized sausage than a snake.

I am fairly convinced the pet rats are going to live forever.  They're nearly two years old and aren't showing any signs of aging or slowing down.  You'd think they'd be keeling over left and right, considering how swiftly so many of the ratties on the mailing list I'm on tend to pass away, but my rats?  Healthiest critters on the planet.

I'm going to be scooping rat poo for the rest of my life.  I can feel it.

At any rate, there we are all updated!  I'm sorry it's been so long -- I've been so busy caring for the critters I've kind of run out of time to write about them.  I'll attempt do to better :)

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Moving On Up!

Leonard is growing and his home needs to grow with him.  Honestly, if I didn't already have this 36" x 18" tank sitting around (freebie from a coworker) I'd have sprung for his permanent enclosure already, but at this time of the year I feel WAY more like hoarding money than flinging it about, so this larger tank is the way for us to go.

He started here, back in June:

And I'd say we've rather expanded things with his new enclosure:

To give a better idea of the scale of the tank, he's using the same water bowl.  His hide sizes have moved from small to medium, and the wood in the back of the tank is partly the same piece of dried grapevine, but held in place with two heavier newer pieces of wood.

I've also tossed some cutesie little artificial plants in the back, just to fill out the tank a bit more so he isn't overwhelmed.  Here's a closer shot of Leonard enjoying his new space:

I love my ball pythons and sand boas for the more secretive snakes that they are (and they're all a joy to hold), but Leonard's curiosity and greater interactivity are so much fun.  I am thrilled we have him :)

There's Mommy's pretty boy.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Updates :)

Wow, I've been slacking haven't I?

I guess in a way that's good.  All is well with the beasties.  I weighed Lucy today and she's now over 1000 grams, which means she's pretty much 10x the size she was when I got her a little over a year ago.  Sarah is well over 200 grams, Slither finally cleared 60 grams (took that boy long enough, after a several-week feeding strike... sheesh!), Scales is 900+ grams, and Leonard weighed in at 264 grams just four days ago.

I've been getting the 40 gallon breeder tank ready for Leonard to move into this week.  It was a freebie from a friend -- her son's tortoise died -- so in light of the fact that I don't know what bugaboos that poor baby had, I fully disinfected it (with a bleach solution), rinsed it beyond thoroughly, wiped it down, and am now airing it out until next weekend when we'll move the little dude into his new digs.

Speaking of Leonard, I have a couple of newer pictures of him.  He has GROWN!  And he also is rather peachy in color, which is just lovely.  He's got a darker phase:

and a lighter phase:

Same snake, same lighting, same time of day.  It's weird, but cool :)

I'll get up some new pictures once his new enclosure is all put together.  It's not his final enclosure by any means, but it should hold him for another year or so.  After that, we're looking at moving him into a 4' x 2' enclosure in the master bedroom.  He's a great little snake and he's going to be a great big snake who's going to need room to stretch out from time to time; since the master bedroom doesn't allow any furry pets inside, it's the best place around, plus the extra door between Leonard's enclosure and the fuzzballs gives us an added measure of security.

We shall have no "Oopsies".  Yuck.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Sheds and Whatnot

Because life is so exciting I figure I'd share that both Leonard and Slither managed to shed within the past couple of weeks, and both did so with an absolute minimum of muss and fuss.  Yay, snakes!

Leonard gave me fits a few weeks ago.  I fed him and while he was yawning to realign his jaws, I saw what looked like black smears on both the top and bottom interior of his mouth.  So, because I am a panicky boa constrictor owner, I dragged his still-tiny snakey self in to see DocRock the next available appointment.

And let me state now, if you haven't already figured it out, but I am an idiot.  The "smear" I saw on the bottom of his mouth was his tongue, and the one on the top?

A freaking shadow. Yes, boys and girls, I am a complete genius.  But $21.00 later at least I'm not panicked.

I've also upped Leonard, at DocRock's behest, to 2 ROAASes* every other week, with a single ROAAS on the weeks in between.  It seems the little critter is growing.  I'll weigh him tonight and edit this entry with the results.

Weight edit (I'm a little late -- it's Monday, 8/26 now):  115 grams! 

Yes, I used Paint on the background. My skills are minimal.
Otherwise, all is well in the world of the slithery.  Have a good one :)

*Rodents Of An Appropriate Size -- yes, I'm still trying to ignore the facts about what I feed my damned pets :P

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Vet Report :)

Well, Leonard (I've bumped the spelling to the English variant because remembering the "H" was messing with my head) is doing pretty well.  He's eaten for me every week except last, which he refused, but he ate again this Saturday so it appears all is well in his scaly little world.

I took him in to our exotics vet this past Monday for a general checkup in case I'd missed anything (like the micro ophthalmia affecting his right eye, for instance, that I didn't notice until I'd had him home for about a week); also because at that time he had yet to produce any waste for me, plus there was the whole meal-skipping incident.  Happily, when I went to pack him up for his vet visit, he'd managed to "perform" so I scooped that up and into a ziploc bag because DocRock is a fiend for fecals.  Might as well knock that out in one trip.

The vet report is good :)  The kink in Leonard's tail is minimal and isn't impeding his ability to pass waste (as evidenced by the giant 18g movement he managed*), she saw no sign of mites, his little right eye, although rendering him virtually blind on that side, isn't going to bother him, and he's absolutely lovely color-wise.

Also, the fecal came back clean so I don't have to worm him.  Thank goodness, because prying open a snake's mouth to dose it with ivermectin isn't on my short list (or even long list) of Things I Want to Ever, EVER Do Again..  We had to do it with the ball pythons and it was decidedly less than fun, so I'm thrilled I won't be experiencing a repeat.  There's a reason for my frozen/ thawed snake food obsession, and it extends beyond the nice little compartmentalization I work to maintain in light of The Rats That Ate My Free Time.

Oh, and the food refusal was likely because he may be going into shed -- he's looking a bit dull at the moment -- or it's possible his delighted new owner held him a bit too much the week prior *hanging head*.  So I'm putting myself on a handling schedule to make sure he gets the contact his eventual size (6', prayerfully not 7) requires, while not disrupting his thermoregulation to the point where he's unimpressed by food.

Anyway, we're good to go!  He ate yesterday, so I can't hold him until Tuesday lest I disrupt his digestion.  Since I'd prefer not to clean up a regurg, I'm going to go with that.

*I know it was 18g because I weighed him prior to The Event and he'd hit 102g, but afterward he dropped to 84g.  Impressive!

Saturday, June 15, 2013


When acquiring a new snake or reptile in general, the smart and responsible thing to do is to have all equipment set up for your new household addition well in advance of the actual animal's arrival.  I did this with our ball pythons.  I got their enclosures ready, ran the thermostat so I could watch temps and humidity (I'm an obsessive beast with a laser thermometer), and by the time we brought the little guys home a couple weeks after we'd purchased them I knew their setups were running smoothly.  I was able to put them in their little bins with barely a second thought.  The system ran itself.

I didn't do that with our boa.  Consistency is apparently not my strong suit.

We weren't really planning on another snake quite yet.  I knew I wanted either a boa constrictor or a Dumerils boa, and although I adore how Dumerils look (they are gorgeous!) I had some concerns about their reported issues converting to frozen/thawed food.  I also thought it would be kind of mean to expect them to take f/t while simultaneously being tormented by the scent of our rather lively pet rats a few rooms down.

So I was resigned to sticking with just our sand boas and ball pythons for a couple more years at least, or at most adding a hognose snake and perhaps a corn snake or king snake... or milk snake (they're all still on the list!).  But when I ran across our new addition I just couldn't resist.

See the little guy in there?  No?  Your eyesight hasn't failed, this is how we usually see his tank too.  He's actually camped out in the little black "hide" box on the right-hand side, and to all intents and purposes he seems fine, but it's making me nuts.  I haven't gotten his temperatures and humidity to suit me yet (although I've got a thermostat for his light that should help out some because having it off more should leave additional humidity in the cage and I'm tweaking as I go) so the fact that he's still not really making much of an appearance has me rather concerned that it's something I've caused... which isn't entirely out of the question.

He's just so young, hasn't eaten for me yet -- his breeder assures me he took frozen from the get-go, and like an idiot I tried to feed him last Thursday (I know better -- I know not to feed for at least 7 days after acquisition and should have waited for Sunday or even next Thursday but I listened to Choreboy who's busy anthropomorphizing the hell out of our reptiles and saying the boa needs to "feel" as if he's part of the family *facepalm*)... he was having none of it.

So, yeah.  Stressed, that'd be me.  Possibly the snake, too.  Prayerfully not.

I'm hopeful that the improvements I'm making to his environment (and him finishing his shed, whenever that blessed day arrives) will have him feeling much more himself... and much more hungry.

I'll keep y'all posted.

*Yes, I'm still managing to keep everything neatly compartmentalized.  Pet rats live in the Gum Zombie's room and are adorable little snuggly, smelly fuzzballs.  Snake food enters the house already in a frozen state, and I'm having continued success in mostly convincing myself the snakes' dinners are just mutant chickens.  If we end up with a snake that requires live food I totally get that it happens in the wild, but I'm too much of a mushpot to deal.  So if I can't convince it otherwise I'm going to have to bust my butt to find it a new home, which will suck... but not as much as being an idiot and starving my snake would.

Edited to add:  Okay, if it's not a rat it appears I'm not too much of a mushpot.  He's eaten, and that's all I'm saying on the matter.  Now to convince him that f/t offerings are, indeed food.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Look What Followed Me Home from Repticon!

Introducing my very own baby boa :)  He's a little boy (very little... only for now), has eaten 2x according to his breeder, and has a little kink in his tail.  He's absolutely perfect for us.

Name to be forthcoming.  I'm leaning toward George...

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

And Once Again All is Well

As per the title, all is now right with the world.

To address the issue of least concern, Sarah's shed was taken care of.  I gave her a week to get it off herself, but when that failed I put her in a pillowcase with a damp washcloth, and placed the entire assembly half on and half off her UTH inside her enclosure.  30 minutes later it had softened beautifully and the Gum Zombie and I were able to peel it off her head in one piece, including eyecaps.

Next up, Scales ate last week.  He not only ate, but it only took offering him his meal twice (as opposed to the boy's more standard 4-5 time requirement).  Hooray for cinny boy!

And finally, there's Slither, the most beloved snake extant.  We got him mouse pinks this week as opposed to the ASFs he so clearly loathed.  I was just positive he'd leap on the mouse.

I was so wrong. Once again, he moved away from rather than toward his food.  But I did notice he didn't display as much of an aversion to it, so after offering a bit failed I instead closed him in his feeding container (a Gladware tub with lid and ventilation in the sides and top) and placed that on top of the substrate inside his enclosure.  I then threw one of the Gum Zombie's jackets on top of the tank and left for 30 minutes.

When Choreboy and I returned, presto!  No more pink and a distinct bulge in Slither's little midsection.

Whew.  Maybe he just needs privacy, or maybe he needed a little time to realize this is the food he likes.  Regardless, it's such a relief.  I hope he'll take his food the normal way this week, but if not at least I've got a backup method.

Oh, on a final note, I caught Lucy in the act of shedding on Saturday!  I'd gone in to do the weekly scrub-down of the ball python bins, and saw her using her warm hide to help pull off her shed.  She didn't really like the fact that I came into the room, though, so I left MY bedroom in the metaphorical hands of my snake and came back a little later.  It was a perfect shed, and she's gorgeous.

It all works out.  Eventually :)

Friday, March 29, 2013

Picky Eaters

Last night, my twerpy male snakes gave me fits.  Slither wouldn't eat, period.  Didn't sniff his pink, just ran away from it to the point where Choreboy and I threw up our hands, put him back into his substrate, and gave the remains of the day to an already-well-fed Sarah.

Then there was Scales.  Scales decided to scalp his dinner, after which he utterly ignored it.  Choreboy tried and tried to reinterest the boy, but no dice.  THAT particular bit of food got wasted :(  Ugh.

Finally, adding insult to injury, Sarah's shed didn't go well this time.  Instead of a beautiful clean shed, she repeated her first shed with us where from the neck down she was perfection, but her head retained its skin.  ARRRRGH!!!!  So now I've got to figure out if we're going to try to assist her in finishing that off, or if we should just leave it be until the next time she goes into blue.  Our vet said the latter was fine, but the herper friends I've spoken to prefer the former.

My brain hurts.  I just wish my stupid snakes would eat.  And shed.  Sigh.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Whatever Works

It's almost bedtime for me, but I couldn't go down without sharing the feeding time story for the night.

I was on my own with the snakes this evening since the Gum Zombie was tied up with homework.  I started by giving our pet rats a tiny piece of cheese and a wedge of apple each.  I tell myself this makes up for the fact that I'm thawing out their frozen brethren a few doors down.

Anyway, once I assured myself our rats were fully distracted, I got the snakes' food ready.  Sarah has moved up to ASF fuzzies and had absolutely no problem sucking down two of those and a tiny mouse pink on top of that.  Slither had two pinks as opposed to his former three (hence Sarah's ingesting of a third rodent for the evening), but one of them was admittedly much larger than the other.

Lucy pounded her dinner in good order. Then there's Scales.

Most of the time he's a very good eater, but this week he got a bit picky.  I'm sure it didn't help that he was grabbing ahold of his food in the middle rather than at one end or another.  I tried repositioning it when he'd let go; I even removed his food entirely and blew my blowdryer on it on high to make sure it was nice and warm for him!

No dice.

Finally I said the heck with it, put the top back on his enclosure, and got in the shower with Katy Perry blasting in the background.

When I was finished I checked Scales again.  Dinner was gone.  All I can figure is we now have one snake who needs a little privacy and Katy Perry in order for him to consent to dine  Like the title says, hey, whatever works.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Best Told In Pictures (okay, one picture)

Because I'm too lazy to type this again, here's the latest:

But regarding the shedding being done, I've gotta say I'm relieved.  Now both boys are back to their usual, pleasant selves.  Whew!

Saturday, February 23, 2013


All four snakes went to the vet last week, and all four got clean bills of health.  Both ball pythons weighed in around 250 grams, which was impressive considering their last weights were more like 200 grams.  Sarah-the-Sand-Boa weighed a whopping FIFTY grams, and Slither tilted the scale at a respectable 35 grams.

Not bad for any of them.  My current mission, as assigned by my exotics vet, is to bring in fecal samples from all four snakes.  Unless the sand boas are uncharacteristically cooperative it's more likely she'll just get two samples:  one each from Lucy and Scales.

For news of the shedding, both Sarah and Lucy shed a couple of weeks ago.  Scales and Slither are both mid-shed-cycle, with Slither once again being in the Longest. Shed. Cycle. EVER.  Scales is giving him a run for his money though.  We'll see which one manages to get over it first.  Meanwhile, both are acting like hormonal teens, i.e., moody and secretive.  Slither has completely buried himself in his substrate and Scales has his back to the opening of his hide on the rare occasion he'll even let himself be seen.  Fortunately they'll get over it when they're done with the sheds.

Unlike my teenager :P

Oh, and I have to admit that Sarah, aka HellSnake, has actually calmed way down!  She's much less thrashy (except around her shed cycle, and then who can blame her?) and is in general pretty pleasant to carry around and play with which is a far cry from her formerly nippy neonate self.  Today I took her up to the reptile shop to try and pick some new food for her since she's downing pinks like they're Jelly Bellys.  Seriously, she sucked down four this past Thursday (Slither wasn't hungry and Sarah is an accommodating garbage disposal) and was even looking for a fifth!  So it's definitely time to move her up a bit.  We're going to try her out on some f/t ASF fuzzies and see how she likes those.

As for Lucy?  She's lovely, and tonight when I took her out she just felt huge.  She's getting some heft on her, which is rather nice.  Just keep pounding those rodents, girl.


Oh yes, rats!  I'm sure everyone will be thrilled to know that Oops survived his neuter and is healing nicely.  He's finished with his anti inflammatories and just has one more week of antibiotics.  Then next weekend he gets to move back in with the girls, none of whom managed to get pregnant during their mutual exposure.  Hooray!

Hopefully there will be much rejoicing. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Heart Day!

Sarah, who's freshly shed and fed in this picture, says Happy Valentine's Day :)

On the other end of the weird pet spectrum, Oops (our accidental male rat), goes in today to be fixed.  Bless his heart, he's a sweet boy.

(Poor baby -- we're not telling him today's Valentine's day, so shhhh!!!!)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Rats, in Both the Literal and Exclamatory Sense

We picked up The Sarah Rat's little friend last night.  More like little "friends" because my friendly local rat supplier (also my snake breeder) knows a softy when she sees one coming -- like recognizes like -- and a softy I am, be it for tiny cute scaly things or tiny cute fuzzy things.

Yes, it's a wonder I can feed tiny cute fuzzies to tiny cute scalies.  Lots of cognitive dissonance going on here.  Anyway...

So I'd emailed L and told her we'd be coming by to pick up a little friend for Sarah; she emailed me back saying she'd go through and find a nice, sweet female rat to be Sarah's cagemate.  When we came in to pick her up, there were three.

We took them all home.

Since there's been such a huge new pet invasion in our house, one purpose of adding one additional rat to our household (one!) was to give the Elder his very own tiny rodent.  He's not into the scalier residents of the house, but he does like the furry ones and has been fascinated with Sarah.  So he looked through the new rats and picked the largest of the group, a fawn-colored red-eyed dumbo rat with a white blaze down from the forehead to the nose.  Then he went back to work on collecting ALL the Pokemanz in the world (someone has to do it) and the Gum Zombie and I stared at our new babies.

As I watched all the rats interacting and adjusting to both Sarah (and Sarah to them) and to their new surroundings, I started to get worried.  Something was "off" about the Elder's rat.  I picked it up and flipped it over...

So now we have The Sarah Rat, Isobella, Nicole, and Oops.

I've got a call in to the vet to see if we can get Oops neutered.  Here's hoping the girls are too young to get knocked up.  Even I have my limits -- I do NOT need fifty rats.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Reptile Birthday Party

The Gum Zombie's birthday party was this past weekend, and everyone had a marvelous time!  The poor child was born exactly a week before Christmas (that was the one year I had all my shopping done before Thanksgiving), so we tend to do his bigger "friends" birthday party after everyone's back from the holidays.  And since there is massive reptile love going on with the child, well, what better to have at your party than numerous reptiles?

We saw a bearded dragon, two leopard geckos, a gargoyle gecko, two ball pythons (normal and albino) a baby hognose, a two-year-old male Dumeril's Boa (I covet that snake -- in my head I've named him Gilgamesh but I just don't have the housing for him at the moment), and then, this lovely girl:
Angelica is a red-tailed boa (BCI) and is decidedly not petite.  She weighs around 50 lbs and is quite the handful!

Now imagine the reaction I got to this picture on my Facebook page.  It was awesome.  Heh.

Otherwise, everyone is doing well.  Lucy and Scales are eating and growing, bless 'em, and Sarah and Slither continue to do the same. I also have the added burden of the mental gymnastics caused by having a pet rat.  Yes, what was once strictly food is now a welcome resident and is decidedly NOT food.  ARRRGHHH!!!

Adding insult to injury, we're picking up another one tonight because Sarah-the-Rat (the Gum Zombie loves her and we agreed we could have a warm-blooded Sarah in addition to a cold-blooded Sarah) needs company.  Apparently, rats are social creatures and require the company of at least one additional rat so they don't get terribly depressed.  Thus far Sarah seems fine by her lonesome, but she's a sweet little girl and I don't want to put her to the test.  So we're getting another too-young-to-be-pregnant (please God, no babies!) female rat to be her cagemate.

And that is IT.  I swear.

That is, until I get together the stuff I need for my Dumeril's enclosure...

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Just a Quickie

Here's a recent picture of Lucy and Yours Truly.  Please pardon the blurriness -- Little Miss Snakiness was NOT cooperating and kept moving around.  But she sure is cute :)

Saturday, December 22, 2012


Why yes, yes I do weigh my snakes.  I'm completely Type A, I know.

Anyway, this afternoon seemed like as good a time as any; since Sarah finished her shed (and she ate while in blue!), I figured I'd weigh her first.  When we got her she weighed a whopping 16 grams to Slither's 14, so today's weigh in showed Sarah at 36 grams and Slither at 23.  They both definitely put on weight since their last weigh-in.

I'd never weighed Lucy and Scales, and I don't know what they should weigh, nor do I have their exact hatch dates, but they both look great.  They've each shed completely, are eating a f/t rat fuzzy once a week, and they're defecating.  Lucy weighed in at 192 grams, and Scales threw a whopping 212 grams on the scale!  Granted, he's got major sausage butt so I'm betting he'll drop some once he "goes"again.

Speaking of Type A Snake Issues, each of the snakes has a chart.  Slither and Sarah's charts are on a piece of notebook paper in the Gum Zombies room.  We log their weights weekly, barring shed issues, and also record their feeding and sheds.  Scales and Lucy's charts are on an Excel spreadsheet on my computer.  I log their feeds, defecations/ urate passings, sheds, and now also their weights, all by date.

So far, so good.  Everyone's eating, digesting, eliminating, shedding, and gaining weight.  And outside of Sarah, aka The Snake from Hell*, they're all pretty friendly to boot.  I can't really ask for much more :)

*Actually, she's not at all awful and once I've got her out of her tank handled for a couple of minutes she calms down beautifully.  She's just a bit thrashy, especially when freshly shed.  But she's also the only snake we have that's bitten me (didn't even break the skin, hehehe), so she comes by her moniker honestly.

Thursday, December 20, 2012


We have been in shed-central for the past few weeks.  First it was Slither, the Gum Zombie's anery Kenyan sand boa, who went through what I think must have been the longest shed cycle extant but came out of it beautifully shiny and perfect.  Then Lucy (our female cinnamon ball python) went into blue, took a bath, and shed out about a week ago.  Next, Lucy's cohort Scales, a male of the same morph, went blue and surprised us with a minimally fussy shed in one beautiful piece.  Finally, there's Sarah.

Sarah is my female Kenyan sand boa, and if there was ever a snake with the intellectual capacity to hate anything, it's her... and that's saying something considering sand boas in general are a rather primitive species of snake.  She's a little pistol, and there's nothing that makes her more miserable than a shed.  Normally Sarah lurks below her substrate.  When she goes blue, though, all bets are off.  She's on top of it, laying there as if she's near death.  She stares fixedly at the walls of her vivarium, refuses to enter her humid hide (Slither spent the majority of his shed sitting in a tiny tub filled with damp sphagnum moss), won't eat, and is in general a mass of misery until she's done shedding.

I swear, she's got the reptilian version of PMS.

Adding insult to injury, last time Sarah shed it was an incomplete job.  Her skin came off from her neck down, but she had a "cap" of shed stuck on the top of her head and over one eye.  Yipes.  So that resulted in two days worth of forcing her to hang out in a humid hide for an hour each day until the shed softened enough to be carefully pulled off with a pair of tweezers.

And no, she didn't care for that either.

So here we are again with her, at Shed #2.  Plus it's Feeding Time at the Zoo tonight, and as I mentioned previously Sarah doesn't like to eat while she's in blue so unless she somehow managed to shed today, she'll be an awfully hungry snake come December 27th.

As a side note, the Gum Zombie has kept both Slither and Scales' shed skins, enshrining them as if they were holy relics.  My snakes' shed skins, however, he immediately claimed to donate to his science teacher.  The hope is that this time Sarah will shed in one fell swoop and I can start my own skin shrine.

Ahem.  Or not.  I'm pretty sure his science teacher will have another opening...

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Feeding Time at the Zoo

Note:  If this entry is disjointed, I'm blaming the raging cold I managed to develop and am fighting right now.  Also, we went to Repticon Saturday and, miraculously, managed to come back with no new snakes!  My self-control is beyond comprehension.  Okay, it might have been somewhat enhanced by Brent's repeated chant of  "Baby, we don't need any more snakes right now" :P

Thursday nights at our house are officially Feeding Time at the Zoo.  I'm doing well with it now (a snake's gotta eat, yanno?) but the first time we fed the sand boas... well, let's just say it wasn't my most shining moment.

One reason I'd never had snakes before is because of the whole feeding issue.  I'd heard of snakes eating frozen/ thawed rodents and that seemed more palatable to me, but still I didn't get around to snake ownership until my younger son went on his We Must Acquire a Snake lobbying streak.  And even then, we were totally doing frozen/ thawed.

Thankfully, the sand boas eventually cooperated with us.  What I hadn't counted on was how much even frozen rodents could skeeve me out!  I swear, I was jumping and shrieking as I tried to fish the little things out of the baggie.  It was insane -- I mean, I'm an adult, right?

You couldn't have proven it that evening.

Finally we got those little suckers thawed (I just kept repeating "Small, poo-filled chickens" to myself) and went in to feed the snakes.

They were having none of it.

What?  I'd been told this would work like magic!  So I tried to pick up Sarah's pinkie again with the 12" long tweezers and kept dropping it because my hands were shaking so badly.  Yup, so skeeved out I could barely hold on to one, tiny defrosted rodent with a pair of tongs.


Fortunately Brent was there and he worked on getting everyone to eat.  Meanwhile, I bravely fled the room when Sarah's mouse kind of... uh... exploded.  It didn't seem to bother her.  And Slither took for-freaking-ever to eat but eventually he, too, downed his pinkie.

I'm happy to say the next weekend I did much better.  I fished the pinkies out of their bag with neither a heebie or a jeebie and got everything thawed without so much as a whimper.  Sarah ate marvelously, and Slither continued his trend of being a bit of a picky eater.

Now since we've added Scales and Lucy to the mix, I have a new level of "heebie" and "jeebie" to deal with.  Thus far they're eating frozen/thawed (both ate last week, hooray!), but their food is fuzzier than the sand boas' and it's harder to trick myself into seeing it as a chicken.  Hopefully I'll get over it, and fast.

Well, I'm off.  Once again it's Feeding Time at the Zoo and I have rodents to warm.  Wish me luck.