Thursday, September 07, 2006

Advances in Herp Care
or, odd things that I happen to know

Big Arm Woman has a highly amusing post about taking her son to a reptile show. Money quote:
There are basically two kinds of people at reptile and exotic animal shows: middle-class soccer moms with little boys who love snakes and overly tattooed goth/biker types. This makes for an intriguing mixer situation.

On the nose. Back when I was the pet store manager, it was great fun to be part of a really intense discussion about salt water fish with the huge biker guy who ran a local strip club, an orthodontist who was a fanatic about live corals, and a skinny little thirteen-year-old boy who obviously spent all his allowance on fish. These were three of my best customers: they always came into the store just before closing on Wednesday nights to see what I would unpack from the new shipments of fish. They were also fast friends, though (I'm guessing) only inside the store. Love of certain kinds of animals, and fanaticism, breeds strange interactions and friendships.

I'm writing this post because BAW say that "Hublet still won't let me buy a corn snake," and I was in the same situation for a long, long with with my lovely spouse, who finally relented after two years of pleading by my daughter.

We got my daughter (who is almost exactly a year older than her son) a corn snake for her birthday this year from Kathy Love's Cornutopia. It came FedEx.

"Pipsy" is a sweet little animal and my daughter loves her. I think handling and taking care of a corn snake is great for a little kid, because the animal itself seems to generate a lot of focused attention and gentleness on the part of the kid. Corn snakes are always on the move, so the child has to keep passing the snake from hand to hand.

But another good reason to get a child a corn snake is that "herp care" is a lot easier than it was even back in the late 80s and early 90s.

For example, nobody feeds live mice anymore, so you don't have to deal with a) live mice, b) child liking the "food" more than the snake, c) the food injuring the snake (which happened a lot). Now you get "pinkies" or "fuzzies" frozen in little plastic packages at Petco. Just thaw them out in some warm water and you're set. And the snakes you buy now have never seen live food, so they eat with no problems.

Also, some smart person figured out that if you give the snake a second, "feeding cage" (a shoebox or a tupperware container) it won't get nippy when it's in its regular tank (which is what happened to OJ, my snake -- he was named long before 1994). The snake now wants to get picked up, because it might be being taken to the food, and it doesn't think your hand is the food.

So that's what I know about herp care. Maybe in a future post I will talk about the nitrogen cycle in fishtanks and why changing the water if it gets cloudy in the first few days is a very bad idea. Or I can go back to health bulletins and possibly medieval studies at some point. We'll see.

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