|| Seven months old |
|| Texas Rat Snake|
|| England, UK|
I don't really know where my interest in reptiles had come from, suppose it could have been from my father's side, he had owned snakes, though I can't really remember that long ago. The thought of owning a reptile had never really struck me until several years earlier when I was 16 and at college.. one of the tutors was giving away a free corn snake.
I had rushed home that night, asking my parents to let me get a reptile ... a snake specifically. They agreed, despite neither of them actually liking snakes, but they wouldn't get the one that the tutor was getting rid off.. they wanted me to get a young one, as young as we could get. We had gone to a pet shop to meet some corn snakes, but the, I would say "unknowledgable" staff member attending us told us corn snakes were 'vicious' and not good beginner snakes. When, in fact, I know they are one of the most common pet snakes, especially for beginners.
We were introduced to some other species, Royal/Ball pythons etc. but none of these interested me, I liked them, they just didn't take my interest. So I resorted to the Internet and began looking into a variety of snakes, reading on their care, temperament etc. and quickly came across Texas rat snakes, leucistic ones with pink eyes to be specific. I fell in love. They were a decent sized animal, not too small but not too big, and generally looked gorgeous.
Unfortunately, no matter how hard I looked, I could not locate any Texas rat snakes for sale anywhere near me ... not leucistic, wild type or other morphs. So I moved on. Taking an interest into Super Dwarf Reticulated Pythons (SD Retics) I began researching them. They were not a beginner snake, but I researched into them and got ahold of their general care, which wasn't too hard at all. I then went online, on a reptile group, to find people who have experience with the species. I was insulted by them, laughed at and even told that I would "abandon" said snake. Safe to say they all put me off a species that I loved and would have taken great care and consideration of.
Then, not long after, just at the right moment, a reptile shop local to me got a baby Texas rat snake in, leucistic, too! I got excited, and we were due to go to the shop at the weekend to give in my work experience forms so I could volunteer their one day a week for my college course, which would give me the perfect time to meet the little Texas.
We went there, I gave my work experience form and one of the staff members very kindly took us to meet the baby Texas rat snake, telling us about them, their care and facts about them while he held the snake infront of us, before giving it to me. I held the snake willingly, letting it slither across my arm and hands. She was docile, tame, active, beautiful ... and instantly caught my heart.
We left the shop without her, going back to the car to talk about possibly bringing her home. With a little persuasion we drove home to sort the house out. I cleared space in my room for her starter tank, the gerbils moved into my brother's room and we made space in the freezer for the food that came with her. Then later in the afternoon we drove back to the shop to collect her. They put her in a little plastic box with some tissue and packed a bigger box with her starter tank, water bowl, hide and substrate, and of course her month's worth of food, we then left and took her home.
Choosing a name was the next step. I had decided to name her Delta, after one of the velociraptors that feature in one of my favorite films 'Jurassic World.'
It didn't take long for her to settle in, and even less for her to outgrow the tank that came with her, a 4-foot vivarium was ordered. A pain to put together, I put together once and then had to be taken apart again due to getting the runners the wrong way round, then found out I had underestimated how much shavings were need to fill the bottom, so she was left in the tank for the rest of the night and majority of the day till we managed to get her some substrate and I kitted out her new home.
She instantly got lost in it. The size was too great and through the days it just stressed her out. When I was allowed to get another snake, this time a 'teenage' boa constrictor, who, keeping with my movie character name theme, I named Joker. I had managed to locate a cheap, secondhand 3+foot vivarium online which was bought and then brought home. I kitted it out for Delta, filling it up with a thick layer of shavings so that she could burrow, hides, bamboo bits for climbing and a new, bigger water bowl.
Within just a few days of her being in the smaller vivarium she calmed immensely. She was no longer nervous, flighty and much more active and happy. Of course we plan to move her back into the 4-foot once she grows a bit more.
Now at just over 2 feet long she is still my baby. She has long outgrown the pockets she loved to hide in, and has shown her knack for climbing, though her swimming could be worked on!
I don't think I could have ever asked for a better snake. I love her to pieces and look forward to the many years I have with her, watching as she changes as she grows. I'm truly happy I had stumbled across her on that website that day, I'm unsure I'd even have a snake at all at the moment if she hadn't come along when she did.
Talk about Delta in Pet Talk!