||Six years old|
||California Corn Snake|
||Edmonton, Alberta, Canada|
Bing is an orange California Corn Snake. Bing is a rescue animal and was three years old when I adopted him; severely stunted in growth, Bing was the size of a newly hatched snake at an age when he should have been quite large already. He serves as a cautionary tale for those who would purchase an animal, especially a reptile, on a whim. Bing's previous owner was a teenage boy who purchased him from a pet store without parental knowledge or consent. He kept Bing in a dark closet in a small box and rarely fed him, when he was discovered he was handed over to a snake breeder who in turn sold him to a family friend, another person who didn't really know how to properly care for a snake or understood how large they could get. Eventually Bing came to me and my family and under our care and with proper housing and feeding regiments, Bing has grown in four years to an impressive five feet long, however, this is still small for a corn snake as old as he is.
If I would share his story for any purpose it would be to remind people, especially younger ones, that animals are not accessories to accumulate for some sort of collection, or just to have them, they are life time commitments and should never under any circumstance be obtained on a whim. Reptiles grow quite large and need a lot of space as well as a proper diet. They can easily get sick and it requires specialized vets trained to treat snakes and lizards, they cannot be taken elsewhere as most vets do not understand how to treat non-mammals. Reptile vets are not cheap.
Corn Snakes are started on pinkies, which are frozen baby mice, and as they grow are graduated to mice, followed by rats. Theae are always frozen, you thaw and feed them, never live prey. Bing has finally reached a large enough size to devour baby rats. He lives in a twenty gallon aquarium that is decked out with a heating pad, a heat lamp, a mister, a large water bowl that he sometimes bathes in and a few caves with foliage to hide in.
A baby snake should not be kept in a large habitat and it should not be stuffed with too many things as a young snake will actually become lost, even in a glass box. The larger an animal grows, the bigger the home he or she must be kept in and since snakes like to climb as well as hide, they need dark places to nap in and things to stretch out on. A reptile's temperature is not like a mammal's, where a mammal can control body temperature by sweating if too hot or by moving to keep warm being warm blooded, a snake is cold blooded and must bask in heat to warm up and then sit in water to cool down in order to maintain a perfect body temperature.
Bing has taken to bathing in his water dish lately. He's all content here because he had a large dinner the previous evening. He is very healthy now and happy and now is assured to live a long life. But I like to use my snake as a warning. Do your research before getting a snake - or any other pet, please. Bing and I would appreciate it.
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