helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
I've accepted that I'm the wrong owner for my boa constrictor Wednesday. I really like her - she's a beautiful snake. However, I believe she needs someone with carpentry skills and a lumberjack's build. This would not be me.

I didn't want to just take her to the pound and become one of those idiotic snake owners who threw their snake away because they were too dimwitted to realize how big she was going to get. In fact, I did realize exactly how big she would get (she's several feet shorter than she could have been). I just didn't realize how puny I was by comparison.

I put ads in several forums and called around to various vets and pet shops to see if there was anyone who was interested -- nothing. Then a few months ago I decided to call the people I bought her from. Oddly, I'd kept the little refrigerator magnet they gave me when I bought her. I usually don't keep those, but I kept this one for some reason. I figured that they obviously love boas, and might have friends who would be interested in keeping her and who were competent at handling large boas.

So... I called Silly Serpents. I left a message with them that she was available, and that I was looking for a new owner for her who would give her plenty of room and was strong enough to handle a big snake. I told them that if they or someone they knew could take her, to call me. I never heard back from them, so I thought maybe they'd moved or they weren't interested.

However, several months later (today) I got a call from the owner of Silly Serpents; he left a message asking if she was from a reptile show seven years ago. (Seven years ago?? has it really been that long?) I called him back and told him Wednesday was indeed from the reptile show seven years ago and that she was still available.

"That's the one I thought she was," he said. "I definitely want her back. I sold all of the babies from that hatching and ever since that time, I wished I'd kept them. Those were the most beautiful boas I'd ever seen. I have boa enclosures - she'll have plenty of room. I have experience and can definitely handle her -- I love big snakes". When he learned that her name was Wednesday (named after Wednesday Addams), he laughed and said that he liked that name -- but that for some reason he couldn't quite convince his wife to name their daughter Wednesday... The exchange convinced me that this was indeed the person who should have her.

I scheduled with him to come by on Saturday at 9:00 am - I'm giving up leaving for WV on Friday night (as is our habit of late) - so it must be a momentous occasion. I told him to come as early as possible since I want to get out of town as soon as possible...

I think this is the right thing. She'll get the slither room and owner she needs. Good times for the Wednesday.
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
I knocked the lid on Zim and Zotz's tank slightly to one side when I opened a drawer, and didn't notice it until later. By the time I noticed, Zim was long gone. Apparently Zim is the more adventurous one of the two (Zotz was contentedly sleeping under his coconut shell).

I waited quietly to see if I heard anything. I didn't. I asked Gamaliel to tell me where Zim was ("In Gamaliel's stomach" would have been my least favorite answer). Gamaliel was obviously aware of something unusual in the room, because his eyes were wide and dilated, and he was sniffing at things and acting like a lunatic (yes, I know, he always does that, but he was acting even weirder than he usually does).

He stalked all over the room, occasionally staring at a spot for a while with rapt attention. Whenever he did this, I'd check the area. At first, he didn't stay put for long, and would move on after a minute or so. Finally he settled on a point directly under the desk, and directed his gaze upward toward the back/inner side of the desk drawers. I looked under the desk, and up toward the back of the drawers, and saw ... absolutely nothing.

Gamaliel climbed on top of his litterbox with an insistent mew, and kept looking upward toward the back under there. This time he didn't move on - he had located what he was looking for. I let my hand follow his line of vision, until it came to rest on a little niche behind the drawer, under the desk -- and Zim. I quickly caught him before he could make his escape behind the drawers, and put him back in the tank. Thus was Invader Zim's plot foiled again.

I'd put off getting a tank with a better lid. I really do need to get one. Today. No more excuses.


Mar. 31st, 2007 02:19 pm
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
Gamaliel just ate Zotz's dinner. I'm not too happy about this.
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
I went to my bedroom to get something, and Gamaliel was sitting by the dresser, peering very intensely at a point between the dresser and the left speaker. This would not surprise me usually, because he peers intensely at everything. However, this time he persisted, and after a minute or so I heard rustling back there. I thought maybe he'd identified the location of a mouse. As quietly as possible, I removed some objects that were between me and the point from which the rustling was coming... I thought I could see a mouse poking its head out from behind the speaker, but it seemed too motionless. When I removed the clear plastic box that was partially blurring my view, I realized the 'mouse face' was just some discolorations on a stick that had fallen back there - it wasn't a mouse at all. So what was that rustling? I looked more carefully, and there, ready to go behind the furniture where I'd never see him again, was Zim. At first I thought that perhaps an egg I didn't know about had hatched somewhere in the house - weren't Zim and Zotz secure in their tank? As the reality that I could have lost him sank in, I scooped up Zim and inspected him for damage. Somehow, he avoided losing body parts to Gamaliel, and was entirely unscathed. I'm not sure how he avoided being hurt, since Gamaliel has always been very interested in the snake babies and has no qualms about pouncing on and playing with anything that moves. My next thought was, "if Zim escaped, maybe Zotz got out as well"... Fortunately, Zotz was happily asleep under his coconut shell. I checked to see why Zim had been able to escape - surely he couldn't lift 15 pounds of books. Then I realized that when I replaced the lid after giving them water and feeding Zotz yesterday, I hadn't completely closed the lid. There was a tiny opening about an 8th of an inch wide, which was all he needed... The weights on top of the tank didn't help, since the lid was on crooked to begin with.

Glad I found him. Glad they've become vertically adept - shows they're vigorous and healthy... Glad I'll be putting them in a bigger tank with real clamps from now on...
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
It's been almost two months since the hatching of corn snake babies #1 and #2. They're both healthy and active, and both have shed a couple of times, but they still hadn't eaten as of last night. So this morning, I took them to see the reptile vet. They were examined and pronounced very healthy with good muscle tone and jaw lines. Then they were wisked to the back room and tube-fed with baby snake mix. I'm to bring them back for two more no-charge appointments (at 8:30 in the morning on Wednesdays, joy), and hopefully by that time their little digestive tracts will have been jumpstarted and they'll eat on their own. Now that they've had at least one feeding and I have a way to ensure their survival until they condescend to start eating, I can begin to think of names for them...


Maybe Mida and Nyda or Shu and Shai. Ophida and Ouroboros. Tiamat and Telos. Heh and Hauhet. Nemesis and Nausicaa... Iphis and Ianthe. Nah. None of them sound right. Maybe Melian and Maia. Or Odyne and Ophelia. Or something.

I don't know. I found Iphis and Ianthe on a page full of mythological synopses (http://www.paleothea.com/Humans.html). Not sure if I like the names, but the myth was interesting:

"Iphis (eye'-fiss)
Iphis' daddy always wanted a boy. When Telethusa gave birth to a girl, she hid her privates and told her husband it was a boy, because she couldn't bear the thought of leaving her child to die on a mountain somewhere. But this isn't something that can be short term, and Iphis was raised as if she were a boy. She grows, and her father betroths her to Ianthe (above), and Iphis genuinely falls in love with her. But it's problematic that she's a girl, and she can't really accept the idea. Ianthe, meanwhile, has no idea that her fiance has the same chromosomes. Anyway, mama and Iphis pray a lot to Isis, who, at the last moment, makes the sex match the gender. This story is told in the Metamorphoses."

"Ianthe (ee-ahn'-thee) (th as in thin)
Ianthe married Iphis. This is normal, except that, for some reason, Iphis was a woman. But Iphis was changed into a man so that Ianthe could marry her/him. Ianthe was from Crete. I actually really love this story, it's my favorite from Ovid's Metamorphoses."
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
For anyone who, for some unknown reason, likes zombies:

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War

I was just advised by a fellow snake owner to try feeding my baby snakes mouse heads instead of mouse butts, since sometimes they like those better. The fact that they might want braiiinsss reminded me of World War Z. They have it on audio as well, in case someone is planning a long road trip...
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
As soon as we saw there were some new snakes in the tank, [livejournal.com profile] rialian ran to the store and bought some frozen pinkies and proceeded to thaw them.

They were way too big for the wrigglers, so I snipped off their back ends and gave the rest to Seraphim and Asherah for a snack. Then I offered the butts to the wrigglers. One of them struck at the proffered item, meaning "she's" already hungry. She never actually grabbed it, but it was fun to see such a tiny thing strike, as if she'd been doing it for years. I also observed her drinking water twice. The other one (I'll call him "him" for convenience) hasn't drunk any water or struck at the food, but "he" is larger (maybe he absorbed more nutrients from the egg, or maybe the other one has been out longer and is hungrier).

Anyway, I will update this if/when I get them to eat. Overfeeding is a danger when they're that tiny, because they'll just throw it up without absorbing any nutrients. Asherah the first starved to death because of that, because I was too dumb to even think of snipping off the butt for her. Asherah the second also had the same problem (regurgitating anything I gave her) until I finally thought of the butt-snipping procedure.

So ok, maybe everyone doesn't want to hear about mouse butts. Sorry...
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
When my corn snake Seraphim finally healed up from his injury several months ago, I put him back in the tank with Asherah. He was so happy to see her and followed her all over the cage. Before long, Asherah laid eggs. I didn't think much of it, since she's done that twice before with no results. This time, instead of taking all the steps recommended in reptile books for hatching snakes, I just left them alone. Seraphim and Asherah wrapped around the clutch nonstop, only coming out to eat. I checked under their hide rock a couple of times, and the eggs didn't seem to be spoiling, so I just left them alone. Then today I looked, and there were two little wrigglers. One looks just like Asherah, and the other looks just like Seraphim. Hoo boy. I didn't think they'd hatch. But that's what many eggs tend to do, come to think of it, so I suppose I should have expected it.
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
Several months ago (must be around 5 months?) my albino corn snake Seraphim sustained a mouth injury when one of my long hairs somehow got wrapped around his lower jaw. He then crawled under his hide rock and I didn't notice it until days later after the damage was done. At the time, [livejournal.com profile] rialian removed the hair, and later I took Seraphim to the vet where they treated him with antibiotics and force fed him. Thus began months wherein I had to help him eat and shed. I would offer him food but he would refuse it consistently, and didn't even give any indication that he was interested in it. I may as well have been offering him a shoelace. So ok, my redtail boa Wednesday would be happy to eat a shoelace if it was offered to her, but Seraphim is a relatively intelligent, native colubrid, so he can tell the difference. I was just about resigned to force feeding him for the rest of his life (which could last about 15 years). The prospect of force-feeding a snake for 15 years was rather discouraging. But as it turns out, I won't have to! He chose to eat by himself for the first time since the injury the day we returned from camping. That was a relief. He was beginning to be extremely miffed with me, and I'm sure that wouldn't have improved with time.
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
I took Seraphim to the vet today. I finally reached the end of where I was willing to just let it go. I had thought his mouth injury (caused by a hair getting wrapped around his lower jaw) would heal on its own and that he would start eating again shortly after we removed the hair, but he didn't. He still didn't eat this morning when I offered a pinky. Around 3 this afternoon, I finally decided to take him to the vet. A Google search on "Reptile Vets" "Rockville, Maryland" turned up this: http://www.metropets.org/YellowPages/Vets_Birds.php

I chose one relatively near to where I live, set up an appointment, told work I had a doctor's appointment, and set out to retrieve my snake and take him in. Seraphim got the royal treatment at the vet's office. First they prepared a warm bath for him to warm him up and performed a snakely physical on him. Other than being totally empty they said he didn't look too thin. Then all the techs came in and cooed over him - apparently he is an exceptionally nice-looking snake, according to snake appreciaters. Then they wanted to be photographed with him (someone had a digital camera).

They told me several things I could do to speed up the healing process - The main one was to keep him warmer. I had thought that because he's from a more temperate climate that cool temperatures would be ok for him - but apparently he will heal faster if he's kept warm. They also said he will need a black light to stimulate serotonin and make him feel more content. That's one I'd never heard before. I knew they needed moderate UV but a black light - wellp worth a try anyway. They said that bark substrate was not a very good idea because it could become impacted and recommended newspaper. I happen to have a paper shredder and a daily supply of junk mail. What could be cheaper... (Thanks again, junk-mail people!)

Doctor Hollifield, (fire-engine red, close-cropped dye job, a lot of piercings, and a sense of humor/attitude), examined Seraphim's mouth. The damage was worse than I thought - I had thought there was external scale damage and maybe some to the inside of his mouth, but apparently the hair cut all the way through the muscle. Luckily, because the cage has been very clean, it wasn't infected ... yet. To prevent infection, she recommended three shots of Baytrill and topical iodine. He had his first shot today and will have the second and third on Friday and Monday.

I asked the vet to feed him... )

So anyway, he's had a full meal (the real reason I took him to the vet)... He gets his second shot of Baytrill on Friday, and the third on Monday, each time at 9:00 am. Hopefully I can get them to give him some more food when he goes in.

I feel much better about his chances of survival now. For a day or so I was sort of getting resigned to losing him, but now there may be a chance. They said he looked healthy, and that reptiles take a long time to heal up. The doctor said that if it doesn't knit together enough she can apply some microscopic stitches to knit it together (they use a high- powered magnifying glass to do that). I'm hoping for the best.

Oh, and upon cursory inspection, the vet verified that Seraphim is in fact a boy. I thought so. So Asherah has to be female then, since there were eggs a couple of times. I always thought it was her, but never positive until now.. I am really relieved to find a vet that (ironically) treats both snakes and mice. An exotics vet that I like in my neighborhood is something I should have found long ago, considering the pets who live here.
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
I was just finishing up breakfast this morning when I smelled something funny. At first I thought the washing machine had caught fire, so I turned it off quickly. The smell got worse. Then I thought the stove was spewing gas - but I opened the oven and sniffed, and it was just the normal oven smell in there. Meanwhile the smell got worse. I began to contemplate calling 911. I ran to my room to grab my purse where my cell phone was (and to jump out the window with purse and Sithreal in hand if the house blew up), and then realized how fortunate it was that I made the decision to run to my room just then. Seraphim's heat lamp was smoking. No, there was nothing wrong with the wiring or the lamp itself. Something plastic had slipped under the heat lamp, so when I turned the lamp on, it began to melt, and finally to burn. I am so lucky that I didn't leave before noticing the smell. I picked up the smoking piece of charred blue plastic (whatever it was), and high-tailed it out of the house. I opened all the windows, called into work and told them I'd tried to light the house on fire so I'd be late, and put a fan in my room with both windows open. The animals looked like they were alright - just alarmed at seeing me run all over the place and act weird.

Finally when the smell was mostly gone (still bad in my room but elsewhere it's livable) I shut the windows and went outside to see what the hell that blue thing was. I looked at it more carefully and realized there was a floppy write protect tab on the side of it. The rest of it was unrecognizeable, much like an air crash victim whose only recognizeable remains are, like, a nose or something.

So anyway - I determined by the above experience that floppy disks do not smell good when they burn.

That, and I'll need a less powerful and better situated heat lamp. This can never happen again. Poor corn snake - I can't imagine what that must have been like for him.
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
Wednesday is having an "off" day today. She just tried to swallow her tail. Instead of striking the offered food, she struck herself, grabbed a piece of herself firmly with her teeth, and wrapped herself. She rolled around like that until [livejournal.com profile] rialian disengaged her (wearing elbow-length kevlar gloves). Then she finally grabbed her food after 3 more misses, which luckily did not involve her own tail.

Good grief. Why did I get a red-tail boa again?
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
Some who were over the other day know that my snakey Seraphim (is he a multiple personality as his name implies? That would be astounding since most snakes are hard-pressed to develop even one personality...) had developed some sort of jaw problem. He hadn't come out to eat for over two weeks (which for him is a few days too long) so I removed his hidey place and looked, and saw that his jaw was wide open and listing to one side, and looked like it was dislocated or broken. Luckily his last meal had been big, and winter is a slow eating season for most snakes, so I had some time. Thinking he may have gotten into some sort of a fight with his cagemate Asherah, I put him in a separate tank in a warm spot to see if he'd get better. He didn't. I offered him pinkies but he refused all food. I made an appointment with a vet, but was still hoping it would right itself. Today he was no better (I'd hoped it would pop back into place by now - it didn't). Later in the morning, [livejournal.com profile] rialian said he'd take a look at Seraphim. After about half an hour he came bounding up the stairs. I thought he was going to say, "Yep, it's broken allright. You'll definitely have to see the $800 specialist about this". Instead he said, "Well, the problem is solved!" Overjoyed, I asked what the problem was.

One of my hairs had somehow gotten wrapped around his lower jaw and had worked its way back to where he couldn't properly close his mouth! The line caused by the hair looked like a fracture, and the way it was wrapped around caused his mouth to list to one side. Once Rialian gently cut the hair and removed it, the mouth closed firmly and went right back into place. My hair?! Good grief. I never heard of anything like that. I'm really glad he's ok though. Today we were going to take him to the specialist if we could find one. Many thanks to [livejournal.com profile] rialian, The Famous Snake Doctor. Now to get Seraphim eating again. He has got to be hungry, since by the time I discovered this he had already been hiding for two weeks.
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
Rialian is back home after having a wonderful time at some friends' wedding! Congratulations go to [livejournal.com profile] amberite, [livejournal.com profile] heron61, and their significant other. He finally got to meet [livejournal.com profile] metaphorge and [livejournal.com profile] xanadumalion, both of whom he has wanted to meet for a long time. He also got to meet the designer of the game Nobilis, an RPG based in a skillfully crafted world with superb artwork.

But while he was gone, a bunch of weird stuff happened.

The first thing that happened was that my mom landed in the hospital. She has been having intermittent partial blackouts that she thought were strokes. I didn't even know this until Saturday when she told me. Usually they pass in a few seconds, but this weekend my brother called and said she'd had a partial blackout that seemed somewhat worse than the others. She didn't lose consciousness, and was able to function normally during the entire episode, but had no recollection of what happened during the episode. He said she was having trouble getting re-oriented afterward, and it took about a half an hour for her to be able to think clearly again. We took her to the emergency room where they conducted a CAT, MRI, and other tests - all negative so far. No sign of a stroke, no sign of alzheimer's or any of that. No brain damage, no sign of neurological problems of any kind. They did a cardiac test this morning and we're waiting for the results of that. I'm thinking it could be blood sugar. I hope they find out what it is and that it's something treatable.

Also while he was out, I did a really dumb thing and let Matilda (my ball python) see my hand which was holding the feeding tongs (the tongs were holding her dinner). She got distracted away from the dinner and toward my hand (oops). Already in "feeding" mode, she calculated a precise trajectory through the chink between the lid and tank where the feeding tongs were entering the tank, and struck. Next thing I knew, she had grabbed my middle finger with her needle-sharp teeth and proceeded to wrap my hand and attempt to swallow my finger (my finger tip looks like vampire victim). Hopefully she decided I tasted awful. I used suction on the finger and dowsed it in alcohol and antibiotics. It wasn't at all infected by this morning, so I think it'll be fine. However, it's very bad to allow something like that to happen - snakes aren't the sharpest pencils in the pack, and once they associate something with "food" it's difficult to convince them otherwise.

The next thing that happened (much less serious) was that our Siamese cat went into heat and was waiting to yell at [livejournal.com profile] rialian when he got back. We unfortunately can never have her fixed, because we determined that she's very allergic to innoculations which are required for neutering. We're also afraid to risk anasthetic because we're not sure which other chemicals she might be deadly allergic to. She was done with the preliminary presenting and well into "shriek week" by the time he came home. I usually make a special effort to remind him that, well, you know, his cat? She's in heat. (In case he missed it). His usual response to that is "Thank you, thank you very much. That's really ... helpful."

Anyway, I'm glad he's back...
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
About an hour after I fell asleep, there was this CRASH-CLATTER as things started falling off shelves. Of course we woke up abruptly and jumped up to look around. Nothing was moving in the room - but there was a small pile of things that had fallen to the floor. Ok, maybe they were just badly placed and fell down of their own accord. Back to sleep. CLONK. Something bulky fell off a shelf to the wood floor below. Still nothing. Back to sleep. CLACK! Again?? Jumping up, I muttered something about possibly having a poltergeist in the room... Then we saw my ball python Matilda gliding sedately across the floor near the closet... Last time I took her out of her tank, I forgot to put the lid clamps back on (go me).

I need to take her out and let her run around more ... I think she enjoyed herself immensely while cruising around my room and this morning she looked very content, basking on her rock.
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)

I really like this story. I don't know if it was the snake's intention to save them, but it did. What a snake...
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
Just now when I was getting ready to go to sleep, my snake Matilda (a ball python) started meowing. Very softly - nothing dramatic. But... meowing???

At first I dismissed the sound as digestive problems (and definitely not meowing, since it seemed to be coming from a snake). I looked more closely at Matilda, and there was no sign of distress -- she was just as inert as usual. But still I heard this meowing and scraping coming from her direction. Then it dawned on me. Matilda is in a tank on top of my dresser. Dressers have drawers. I opened the drawer, and out popped Spooky, purring furiously.

She hadn't been crying or anything. Just extremely soft meows that were so unobtrusive that it could have been a snake's stomach rumbling (do snake's stomachs rumble?) This is the same cat who got me to take her home from the pound by using the Voice on me, so I'm not sure why she didn't emit a full-fledged, unmistakable spooky-meow to get out.

I'm really glad I found her before she became distressed. Poor baby.


Oct. 29th, 2004 03:15 pm
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
Cassini finds evidence Titan (one of Saturn's moons) may be geologically alive.

Also, check http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn7043
There's also evidence of water vapor on another one of Saturn's moons:

Different subject (Huge Snakes):

And anyone who has the fool idea in their heads to get a Burmese python, read this first:

They're Just Too Big to keep as pets. Too Big. They can grow 25-30 feet, they weigh 3-400 pounds, and they can kill a person. So people ditch them in the everglades, just like they ditch all their trash in all wooded areas.

Baby Burmese pythons are sold at small pet shops all over. I'm not in favor of regulating this, either. People should regulate themselves. I'm tired of paying for other people's sheer stupidity with even more idiotic regulations. Evolve or die.
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
One of my corn snakes (Asherra) had been acting odd - she was cruising around the tank agitatedly, not eating, totally distracted. Not like her usual self at all (which is to lie inert under her rock cave and come out every 3 days or so to ask for dinner). She shed, so I thought that was the cause of her agitation, but the odd behavior persisted for a few days. Finally she ate, but when I came back to her feeding station to check her, I found a strange, white, oblong object beside her. My first thought was, "What is *that*". I'd never seen a corn snake egg before, and Asherra is not mature, so I wasn't expecting a corn snake egg.

After that, she immediately returned to normal behavior, crawled back under her rock, and became normal (inert), so I guess that was the problem. There was only one egg so far (not expecting any more, since she's not mature). But it was good sized and healthy looking - and she has been living in a tank with my other corn snake Seraphim. I put the egg in a container of moist vermiculite in a warm spot. In a week or so I'll know if the egg is alive...

Meanwhile, I think they'll each be getting their own tanks... I've heard that the second clutch often contains up to 16 or more eggs...

April 2010



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