Pet of the Day

November 9, 2001

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Zaida, the Pet of the Day
Name: Zaida
Age: Two years old
Gender: Female
Kind: Hog Island Boa
Home: Rochester, New York, USA
   Zaida's a beautiful snake with a great temperament. She's content to coil up and sleep on my hands or in my pocket for hours on end. She makes a great handling subject for those who are nervous about handling snakes because of how tame she is. She also has an appetite like no other.

    Zaida is my first snake, I've had her for a year now, she's two years old and 4 feet long. She's very independent like most snakes. But she seems to be more affectionate than many are and has never tried to bite. I open her cage at night, and I don't have to worry about her escaping. If she feels like leaving the cage, she crawls out and comes up to me sitting on the couch and she'll coil up in my lap and go to sleep.

    Snakes are responsive to humans' nervousness and as a result it makes the snakes more nervous. Zaida actually responds to this while being handled and seems to have an innate ability to calm people when they're angry, upset, or just nervous. When being handled by somebody new to snakes she will crawl more gently in their hands or she just stops and coils up in their hands. As a result, she has helped many people become more comfortable with snakes or overcome their fear of snakes.

    Hog Island boas are actually a good choice of snake for beginners or fairly new snake keepers. The reason is because they stay smaller than the other more common redtail boas found in pet stores and they generally have the same kind of calm temperament as most redtail boas and their care and environmental requirements aren't very hard to maintain and they're actually very hardy snakes.

    Hog Island boas are from an island off the coast of Honduras called "Cayos de los Cochinos" which means "Island of the Pigs/Hogs" and they're suspected to be extinct or very close to extinct on the island as a result of predation of wild dogs brought to the island by human hunters.

    Zaida, like many Hog Island boas, has the ability to change colors. During the daytime, she's a dark gray color. When late afternoon or evening comes around, she turns orange. At night she turns a very pink color. Then into late night or very early morning, she actually turns white!

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