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I had posted a status on Google+ about getting food for my oldest daughter's pet and Skaggy the Poet recommended I blog about it because he found it to be interesting.  Now, in my house, we have a 50 gallon fish tank and two dogs.  But the all-star pet lives in a 70 gallon tank in the room next to my daughter's.  Her name is Samantha, we call her Sammi.  You can imagine a 9 and 4 year old girls playing fetch with the dogs and staring at fish all day, but they fight over who gets to hold Sammi and who gets to feed her.  Their favorite thing is to have Sammi sit across their shoulders while they watch tv and cuddle with her.  What is Sammi, you may ask?  Sammi is a 4 foot long Ball-Python.

Ok, I know, I must be a horrible father to have my kids own a snake and how can I let them have the snake near their necks because its dangerous.  But, to the contrary, Sammi is probably one of the best pets (besides the dogs) these girls are ever going to have.

When I was in my early 20's I owned a Ball-Python, his name was Raptus.  I really like snakes, and I took good care of him.  I was out of state for a few weeks and asked a friend of mine to take care of him.  He told me he had a lot of experience with snakes, so I was confident that Raptus would be in good hands.  This friend decided to feed Raptus in his tank, and with a live mouse.  First off, Raptus had been trained to eat frozen mice because it is safer since live mice can injure a snake, and secondly; you never feed a snake in its tank.  You should have a separate feeding area so the snake doesn't associate the opening of its tank to feeding.  Then your hand becomes automatic food.  The mouse bit Raptus multiple times and he got sick.  Raptus was dead when I got home.

My wife is not overly fond of snakes, but being the unselfish wife/mother she is we woke up Christmas morning in 2008 and found a snake in a tank sitting in the living room.  My daughters, at hearing Daddy had a snake when he was younger, kept asking for one.  I would tell them, "We can't.  Mommy doesn't like them and we need to respect that. When you get older, maybe you can get one of your own, but not right now."  We were so surprised that we had one, and even more so to me, it had my oldest daughter's name on the gift tag.  Admittedly, I was a little bummed out, but was happy we had a snake.  My wife said she wanted to get over her "aversion" to snakes and this was something the girls and I wanted.  My oldest named her Samantha because she said it with a hiss for the "S".  

Sammi will not bite, not matter how much I have tried to nicely provoke her to.  She is well trained to be handled and has been show and tell, and soon will be a fixture with my daughter at the local 4H club.  My only regret is that the previous owner fed her live mice, so she won't eat frozen ones.  

I did not want stereo-types to dictate my daughters' lives.  Even in the 21st Century they still dictate how boys and girls should act and what they should like.  I want my daughters to make their own choices based on their decisions, not society's.  So, I am proud that my girls tell their friends that snakes aren't slimy or icky.  That feeding her live mice is ok because it's like us eating a hamburger because it was once a cow.  I hope these life lessons now will translate into not taking no for an answer when they get told they don't qualify for a position at work, or they can't invent something because it has never been done.  I want my girls to tackle the world with open eyes, huge imaginations, and enough self confidence to see their dreams realized.


09/06/2011 03:59

Coming from a traditional cat and hamster pet household I don't know how I would cope if my daughter asked for an exotic pet. Research I suppose !


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