Pet of the Day

October 13, 2007

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Samantha, the Pet of the Day
Name: Samantha
Age: Seven years old
Gender: Female
Kind: Red-tailed Boa
Home: Sinnemahoning, Pennsylvania, USA
   I would like you to meet my very special friend, my pet red-tailed boa. Her name is Samantha and she is seven years old about two pounds and about four feet long. Some people say she should be bigger, others say she is okay. The point is, she's happy and healthy. She lives in a big regular-size cage or tank that is suited just for her. She loves people and is very people-oriented. She has a very bright red tail and very clear dark and light markings too. Her tail is so cool because the white, red, black brown, colors really stand out very brightly like fresh wet paint. Some of her markings look faded as if they have been brushed to look smudged or someone had taking paint remover and erased half of the markings and that's one of things that make her cool. Her underbelly is all whitish cream and very bright - in fact her hole body looks shiny at all times even when shedding, as if some one buffed her to make her all glossy and pretty. She does have a tendency to have the rainbow effect when she is shedding or she sparkles, some people say.

    The other reason is because I use her for education at my parents' bait and take shop, to educate adults as well as the children. I also preach with her in a way. Not like people in those snake churches. But it's a great why to get someone to pay attention to you and focus on you and what you are saying, because they are either afraid or enlightened by her and they are watching her yet find that they have been able to concentrate on what I'm saying. A lot of people that Samantha and I have meet are very scared to death and run away screaming, but this is the unique part. I have had many of people shaking and scared even screaming while they dared to hold Samantha and she does not react - she just lays there all calm. Like she is thinking "I know you are afraid of me but it's okay, because I know you won't or aren't going to hurt me and you know I'm not going to hurt you." Every year they hold a snake hunt where we live In Sinnimahoning PA, and Samantha and I always go there. Sometimes we run in to old friends meet new ones, and see people we have not seen in a long time. We educate some adults and kids, bring a little peace to those who are afraid of snakes when they are near or hold them.

    I had gotten Samantha from my dad's work buddy named Hippy who raises them. In fact she was my 2001 graduation present and dad wasn't supposed to know about it yet. I didn't know that he found out. So here I was, my mother and I, thinking of how to hide the snake and what were we going to do when it got bigger and how to hid the mice in the freezer. Well, my dad was on location working for Halliburton and his buddy came up to him and told my dad "Hey, your daughter's snake is ready." Well, that brought a shock to my dad because he's scared to death of snakes.

    She was not a baby when I got her she was almost a year old. But my dad - which we didn't know - played with the baby snakes that Hippy's boa had, and was already thinking of getting one. Then Hippy had to explain that he had mistaken me for my dad, because at one time my dad and I used the same computer. I replied back because my dad's chat was always on at that time so they could contact him for work, or need information on how to correct a problem or whatnot because he's an engineer. Well, I told Hippy sorry I was't Dad, he was still out on location. Hippie said, "I know. I saw him before I left. I thought he was back at the apartment with the guys and he got on line." Well, I remembered that Dad had said Hippy had snakes, and I told him I wanted one, and some day when he was off work and Dad was at work to run me down one, and asked how much it would be. He said nothing, he had one he would give me.

    I think it was his son's, who liked it but had no time for it, or to take care of it and in fact had he had her feeding on live mice which actually chewed her tail up so it looks a little deformed because she was raised on dead mice. But she wasn't used to being handled too much. Red tails are a very docile snake and she needed a home and I was willing to take her. Hippy was not supposed to tell my dad but he figured he had better in case he said "No," then the snake would be homeless. Well, anyway, my graduation party was the day I received her, along with a bird named Baby. My dad handed me a box, and I thought it was a hamster or something and it was a bird, so I played with it a few minutes and then put it in the cage with our other bird, Nipper. Nice bird, just not nice to hold and Baby of course was gentle. So my dad handed me a brown lunch bag, and I thought it was either food for the bird, may be a burger or jewelry, but I opened it and just about died! It was a snake! My snake! Dad explained that Hippy let him in on it to make sure it was okay, because the other babies weren't ready to leave yet and this one needed a home.

    Dad said she wasn't used to handling, so to take it easy, she won't bite but she may squirm a lot to get down, and if I scared her or held her too long squirming, to put her down because then she might bite. At first I looked at her and was scared to death, because she was so brightly marked and my mind was like "bright-colored snake danger danger poison" like our snakes here, her marking kind reminded me of theirs. I was shaking and so nervous and like Harry Potter when he first talked to the snake, he was scared but then got calm. She crawled right out of the bag up my arm and around my neck. Even though she was small, I was so afraid she was gonna choke me. But she massaged my neck. At first and it was creepy, but then she settled and went to sleep. That's when I realized that she was not scared of my fear, like most animals are and will attack, she was calm and okay with it as if she knew I was scared, yet realized that she didn't need to attack because I was not going to hurt her because she was not hurting me.

    I go swimming with her and usually scare some people out of that creek but she doesn't leave my side - she stays right there with me, and swims along side me or when I'm wading she swims circles around me. If we go outside she stays in the grass by me in fact id I don't want to go swimming she swims in our koi pond alongside the fish. She don't really like to be put down in the house, because our dogs are not afraid of her, but they have a habit of not watching were they step and they want to play with her and she don't really know how to play like they do. So in the house she wants to hide. She likes to climb my mother's small trees or bushes, in fact half the time I let her climb them I can leave her there go mow the yard eat supper take a bath and go back out side way after dark with a flash light and she's still there, which then I have to carefully pry her off the tree. I've heard of hugging a tree but she goes way too far with it. I also wrap her around my hair scrunchies and lots of people think it's a really cool scrunchy till she moves. I've also put her around my cowgirl hat and everyone is like "I love your snake skin. Hey, that's cool how you have the skin filled and not flat ..." and then she moves and so do they! I don't know if boas or pythons can hypnotize you like old wives' tales say or like the snake in Jungle Book, but she has me hypnotized and I don't mind it a bit.

    I also chose her name Samantha because I wanted something simple yet beautiful and mysterious. A name for a girl snake that wouldn't scare you when I said it like Fang or Poison, but would relax you. I also wanted a name that had some kind fire to it, because of her red tail which remained me of a redhead and I know a couple people that are named Samantha that are redheads. They're lovable beautiful, fiery and they have the womanly mystic or mystery to them and Samantha the snake kind rolled off the tounge. And my snake seemed to like that name and she knows it, too because when I talk to her, I say her name and she pays attention. If I'm on the computer and she tries to climb off my shoulder and on to the curtains, I say "Samantha get back here" or if she squeezes a little too much, I say "Samantha, relax." She has never squeezed me really hard to hurt me, I just say that when she tightens up more than normal. I have had her on my shoulder and around my neck while singing and listening to music and dancing, and if I yell at my parents to ask them something or reply she doean't tighten. In fact, if I sing or dance or go for a walk I have to actually support her because she won't hold on herself - she's lazy. If I don't help support her because she's so relaxed, she would fall - she has done it once or twice.

    I guess hope you like the picture of her. She loves the camera and is very photogenic. I haven't weighed or measured her in a long while. I usually do it twice a year spring and right before fall, because she eats rapidly part of the spring and all summer long and usually getting toward the late fall and winter she slows down, even though her temperature is perfect in her cage. I guess at a certain time, even in the wild when they live in nice weather all year around, they have a winter dormancy period.

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