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Topic: Newbie

Hey, I'm Tamara and I am from the Fort Smith area. I have four kids and one husband. I also have two bearded dragons, a ball python, a red-eared slider, and a dwarf toad, all of which basically own me, not the other way around. I have loved reptiles since I was 5 years old when I picked up a kingsnake to show my mother and told her that God made the snakes, too. Of course, it bit me right after, but who can blame it? Even though I proceed with more caution now, I still enjoy all aspects of herpetology. I am looking forward to being a part of this site and I hope to learn a few things.

2 (edited by caro 2018-01-10 12:09 pm)

Re: Newbie

Hi & welcome Tamara...nice to meet you.  I've kept countless snakes for, well 3 decades+, also rescued a beardie some years ago, & have kept a few other misc. lizards including geckoes.  I find this site to be rather quiet, but I do check in regularly, just in case.  I've used the same "argument" incidentally: that if God made all the rest, then he sure made snakes too & we should appreciate them as part of the bigger picture, ie. the web of life that's interconnected.  I guess I've always stood up for the "underdogs"...snakes get such a bad rap, I couldn't help wanting to know the truth.  Over the years I've been a rescuer too (& worked with rattlesnakes in the CA desert for some 20 years) before moving to AR some years ago.  I no longer keep any "hots", only have 16 harmless- mostly rat snakes- now, & 2 dogs.  All my "kids" have tails, lol.  (too bad we're not "neighbors"...I'm in Mountain Home)

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Re: Newbie

It sounds like you have had quite an interesting life! I don't imagine I'll be keeping anything venomous, at least not until my human children move out. My 9-year-old got my BP out once without asking, and I would not put it past him to try the same thing with any type of snake. I would love to get into rescuing reptiles. I hope to one day retire farther out and have room to expand my reptile room. I really admire all of the experience you have. I hope to one day be able to say the same.

4 (edited by caro 2018-01-10 08:55 pm)

Re: Newbie

There's always animals in need of some TLC and/or relocation...all it takes is your open mind & heart to help.  (Well, extra cages, food & equipment helps too...) But you're correct, no venomous should be in the same house with children...they don't always make the right decisions.  Still, I'm so glad your children will grow up knowing & appreciating snakes & other reptiles.  That's something else I've done over the years:  local educational talks with my animals.  When I lived in CA, I kept a number of our local species, including at least one of each of the 6 kinds of rattlesnakes we had in our area, so many people could safely see them up close (in locked glass cages) & learn more about them, including an appreciation of why they're important, & yes, even beautiful creatures.  I never expected to get into rattlesnakes but my curiosity & desire to keep them from being needlessly killed led me there.  I also took in non-native pets that people no longer wanted for various reasons ("it bites, it's mean!" or they lost interest, often it was sick & poorly cared for).

You do have an advantage, if your herps are mellow enough (& very few ball pythons are feisty, lol) you might consider talking to the teachers where your kids attend school...see if they'd like a little "show & tell"?  I no longer give lectures, but I still enjoy the "show & tell" interactions.  Our large local feed-store (Gregg Farm Services) starting putting on a "wildlife expo" every summer, which after the first one, got so big that it's now held at our fairgrounds.  It's free admission & runs about 6 hours, with all sorts of exhibits (commercial & educational) related to wildlife.  My friend (who also keeps snakes etc) joins me & since we're typically the only ones with live animals there, we are mobbed from start to finish.  It just doesn't get "old" watching people of all ages realize that they can get close to and touch, even hold, a snake that's nothing but calm & friendly...something many have never in their lives thought they'd do.  Of course, we know our animals well...I've never had any of my snakes bite anyone, or try...(not even a vet).  This last year I surprised my doctor:  he & his wife stood before me & the 4 snakes I had with me in stunned silence for a few minutes but finally he said "I had NO IDEA that you did this!?"  LOL  This "wildlife expo" includes various entertainment, food venders & drawings for door prizes...it's fun, & obviously is good for businesses that participate too.  (note, summer is beastly hot...it's held mostly inside a huge air conditioned bldg @ fairgrounds)

A word of caution though:  it's habit-forming, watching people change their negative opinions about snakes & all.