By Heather O.
Truer words were never spoken. The little nose, the tiny whiskers, the little, beady red eyes that bulged when Bobo the python squeezed it to death. The mouse we fed to our snake tonight was indeed, so soft and cute. Jacob pronounced it so as he fled from the room in tears.
Yes, we fed our snake tonight, for the first time since we acquired the reptile, oh, about a month ago. Ball pythons don’t eat very often, are opportunistic feeders in the wild, and tend to get obese in captivity (only in America are our pet snakes too fat, too!), so I wasn’t sure exactly how to proceed. The people who had the snake before us said he ate about once every two months, but sometimes more if he seemed to be on the prowl. Well, he seemed prowly, so we gave him a mouse. He disposed of it with suprising and sickening speed. I was actually quite impressed.
Jacob was not.
I prepped him pretty well when we bought the mouse, telling him that it wasn’t going to be our pet, that it was really Bobo’s food. He’s told everybody and anybody who will listen that our snake “eats live mice”.Still, he insisted on checking out the rodent in the carrying cardboard box, which was labeled “Handle me with Love”. He also was really eager to watch Bobo eat the mouse, so I didn’t let him play with it, or touch it, or even name it, because I knew he would freak out if Bobo ate “Puffy”, or something like that.
He freaked out anyway. That mouse was, after all, so soft and cute.
So now we have a dilemma. Do we keep the snake? Do I use this opportunity to teach my child about nature, the great circle of life, and try to break his obvious bias for furry animals? Or do we just get rid of the creature and feel relieved while wallowing in our own irresponsibility as a pet owner? I feel strongly about taking responsibility for the animals one chooses to bring into one’s home. I mean, it’s like kids, right–don’t have ‘em if you’re not going to raise them! Still, I guess my child’s mental stability does come first. It won’t do to be a good pet owner if my own child has nightmares about getting eaten by a python, now, would it?
As squeamish as I am about the whole thing, it was pretty cool to watch the snake hunt. It was like the Discovery Channel, right there in the comfort of our own home.
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