Wednesday, February 11, 2009
T'anks For The Snake
Another picture of a neighbor's pile of crap--sorry.
Here's why this one is funny:
When an albino corn snake named Candy Corn wandered into our yard and joined the family back in March, we wondered just where in the heck she came from.
Here are the "facts" as I pieced them together at the time:
A) She was someone's pet.
There are no corn snakes in the wild here besides the Baird's Rat Snake which is mostly gray.
Albino corns are just one of many color "morphs" that are popular in the pet industry. Breeders work hard at producing a rainbow of interesting colors in this excellent pet species--just Google "corn snake breeder" to see them for yourself.
Personally, I like the standard color they are supposed to be but albinos like Candy are possibly the prettiest snake I have ever seen.
So she was definitely store-bought.
B) She lived nearby--within a street or two in our typical suburban subdivision.
I knew this because she was well-fed and uninjured.
A pet snake is usually rather poor at hunting, and they are also prone to getting into dustups with cats and dogs because they don't know to avoid them.
Candy was perfect, so she hadn't travel far and wasn't on her own for more than a few days. I could tell that she had last been fed between 10 and twenty days before finding her--hungry but not skinny.
C) Her home had kids--probably 'tween to teen.
Older kids are the most likely to want a pretty pet snake, and also the most likely to let them escape.
Rock and roll guys like me are also prime candidates, but with very few exceptions our neighborhood is populated with retired people.
Just a few families have kids, and only ONE on our street.
We're getting close, but no proof yet.
Until I saw the "20 gallon long" aquarium with screen top seen above, sitting in the trash pile of my prime suspects!
The exact type of tank and lid that the sales staff at PetCo™ would sell to novice snake owners along with a baby corn snake.
(Usually in-stock for $40 BTW--they're so cute!)
There was plastic foliage plus a wood hiding place that are also perfect matches for my owner profile inside the aquarium. Definitely a snake's tank, from a novice.
A family of reptile newbs would shop at PetCo, not knowing that the locally owned shops that specialize in exotic pets have better equipment and better advice.
Equipment and advice that might help you prevent your snake from escaping!
That screen top sort of clips on top of the aquarium, and would have been fine for a year or two.
But once Candy got around 3+ feet long she had more than enough length to apply some serious leverage against that flimsy thing. A 20 gallon long tank isn't very tall, so she was able to rise up and bust her way out.
I keep her in a 20 gallon "tall" with a solid oak screen top I made myself years ago that's held down with stout rubber bungees. Candy tries to get out sometimes when she's hungry but can't budge my hardware one bit.
Just seeing how big and strong she was made the tall aquarium my first choice despite the greater real estate a "long" has for slithering about and getting snakey.
"The missing snake never turned up after escaping in March--just admit that you kids screwed the pooch and lost it. We're throwing out the tank since it's just taking up space, and there's no way we're spending money on another snake since y'all can't take care of them properly".
I've listened to the mom of this family enough times to know that I pretty much channelled their discussion.
Omitted the "But MOMMMM"s because I don't like to quote children.
Makes them uppity.
So the tank is the key to unlocking this puzzle of where Candy came from.
In fact, I half-suspected that it would show up this week seeing as how the last trash day was too soon after the escape for them to give up on finding her.
I got very excited when I saw it, and after explaining my "solution" to Sylvia was glowing with pride at how I had Sherlock'd the fuck out of this mystery.
But then Candy's new mommy asked me a very intelligent question: "How did she get out of their house?"
Give me a minute...
3 kids, who leave doors open...?
Yeah, when feeding all those weiner dogs that bark and escape all the time.
Weiner dogs....and the mom is ALWAYS busy outside cleaning, landscaping, washing their trailer, moving the basketball goal, leaving the Suburban's doors open, chasing weiner dogs, and every other damn thing besides sitting on the couch watching Oprah like she should. (They don't have cable, BTW. Another story for another time)
Too busy to let the dogs in and out when the brats are at school....
Got it yet?
The snake escaped through their doggy-door!
And hauled ass tightly around the house heading for the front yard since it's a shorter and less vulnerable route out of a backyard full of smelly barking jackasses.
Then made a bee-line for the exact spot where she currently lives, discovered just 8 feet short of her goal.
Zzakk for the win!
Am I a jerk for not giving back the snake now that I've deduced it's original home?
If you can't keep your exotic pets safely and successfully, you don't deserve them.
And Candy made a bee-line for the one person in this 'hood who could best care for her, instead of cutting her head off with a shovel.
I feel like she made her own choice of caretaker.
Besides, the trash men picked up the tank this morning so she would have no place to live in their house.