04. July 2006 · Comments Off on New Adoption · Categories: Critters, General

Our backyard neighbor came running yesterday morning in an obvious agitated state, having seen “a giant white snake type creature” in their yard. Further investigation revealed that, indeed, there was a four foot white snake curled up in the hosta patch. Not pure white, actually, but with faint almost imperceptible light tan markings and pink eyes. Judging from the shape of its head and its demeanor, and some knowledge of the snakes indigenous to its area, it was not venomous. So, in the spirit of farm boys everywhere, I captured it. It appears to be an albino snow corn snake (elaphe guttata guttata). I don’t know the sex – apparently you have to “probe” (whatever that means), a snake to find that out but it has a pretty docile temperament so we decided to add it to our menagerie. So, off to the pet store to buy some frozen mice, another heat mat, and whatever other accoutrements are needed to keep a snake happy. We learned in short order that, while corn snakes raised in captivity are fine with frozen mice (microwaved to approximate body temperature – with a lemon garlic rub perhaps?), wild corn snakes prefer their meals served live – one per week. Given Real Wife’s affection for pet rats and other rodents, this will clearly be my responsibility. Although I have hunted game, and slaughtered cattle on our farm as a teenager, I do have some misgivings about sending a mouse to certain slow death. I have therefore promised Real Wife and Red Haired Girl that we would only select the ugliest of mice that are those totally lacking in moral values.

The thing that bothers me is how this snake survived in our area, given that we have a couple of owls who make a regular appearance. And with a gazillion kids all over the neighborhood, even a single sighting would have resulted in an urban legend of major proportion. I suppose he may be an escapee, although there has been nothing in the local paper or radio station, nor did a canvas of the neighborhood turn up any leads. The other possibility is that someone turned him loose.

So far he seems to be fitting in. We did have to place a piece of cardboard between his terrarium and that of the gecko, the latter getting pretty excited at the sight of the snake (apparently a natural predator). Pet Store Guy suggested not handling him for a week or so to let him get used to his surroundings. He seems very curious and active. For a hiding shelter I put an old bicycling helmet into service, which is pretty bizarre because when he hears us enter the room he pokes his head out of one of the ventilation slots – kind of a Medusa thing.

While at the pet store we also saw the cutest ferret…


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