Pet of the Day

December 12, 1999

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Stubby, the Pet of the Day
Name: Stubby
Age: Unknown
Gender: Female
Kind: Ball Python (Python regius)
Home: Florida, USA
   Stubby is a very lucky and determined snake. My reptile club has an adoption program that works with the Humane Society, this is how I came to have her placed in my home in September of 1999.

    When I received the phone call about Stubby, no one was certain of the species or how extensive her health problems were. I drove to the director of the Humane Society's house to pick her up. I was certainly not expecting to see such an abused animal. Stubby had virtually no front upper lip left, possibly from rubbing her nose inside of the enclosure she was in to escape. She had a 1/2 inch of exposed vertebra on the end of her tail, where a rat had eaten away at her. On her body, she had two layers of unshed skin, as well as two layers of unshed eye caps. There were various minor wounds and old scars in various places on her body. She wheezed with every breath, an indication of the severe respiratory she had savaging her body. She was also severely dehydrated.

    With all of these problems, the lack of sight, the unhealthy conditions, many snakes would have been somewhat aggressive. Stubby seemed to be very content around the neck of the director, and was very docile. I was not certain that she would make it, in fact I was not very optimistic at all, but I told the director that I would try. I also told her not to be surprised if I had to bring her back to be put down.

    So Stubby came home with me. She was put in a quarantine tank, with proper heating and lighting. She was given a water bowl large enough to soak in if she wanted to. When she immediately took a long drink from the bowl, I felt encouraged. She was also given a large hide box. She put up with the shedding sessions where she was oiled down with olive oil to soften her skin, with the doctoring sessions for her nose and tail wounds and the force feeding sessions to get her energy back up without a single hiss. We had several breakthroughs in the next couple of months. The day she shed her eye caps, the day her exposed vertebra fell off, leaving a clean, healthy stump (hence her name), and the day that she ate on her own. And here we are, three months later, and I have a very healthy, very docile snake. I can not believe the improvement she has shown. I am quite proud of this very lovely, very mellow snake, and I just wanted for everyone to see her.

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