I have mentioned before that I love animals. I love every kind of animal. If I was even just a tiny bit more mentally ill than I am, I would be an animal hoarder. Without a question. Luckily, my mental illness is well-managed by medicine and an army of comping strategies. I therefore have an appropriate amount of pets.
To be fair, I have been advised that my choice of pets voids any appropriate number. You see, most people do not enjoy snakes. There’s a pretty strong voice for “zero is the right amount of snakes,” in the pet community.
I disagree with this sentiment. Snakes are awesome pets! They’re extremely easy to care for, they’re incredibly interesting, and actually have silly personalities.
I have a corn snake named Stardust and a ball python named Zenny.
Stardust escaped from her tank the first (and only) time when she forced the clamp off the back of her terrarium cover. She, however, is a sass monster, and simply sat on top of her tank until I came in and locked her back where she belongs. I believe the message was meant to be I’ll go to my room because I want to! I don’t have to stay here! She’s almost 2 which makes her a teenager in corn snake years, and explains a lot about her. She’s active, wiggly, interesting, and bright eyed. Basically the opposite of her brother.
Zenny is a chubby, lazy little thing. He’s incredibly cute. Ball pythons are more chill than corn snakes in general and Zenzen is no exception. They do, however, need a little bit more care than corn snakes. Ball pythons need a certain amount of humidity in their vivariums, which isn’t that easy to do if you have them in a glass tank, like I do. (For the record, I am working on a new place for him to live, but for now it’s the tank.)
Sunday night, I looked in on my scaly little boy, and noted his humidity was low. Now, when I run into the bathroom and wet some washcloths to put in his cage, I don’t usually put the cover on it. He’s mindbogglingly lazy; it’s just not necessary. But Sunday night, I was the proverbial father who went out for cigarettes and never came back. I never came back with those washcloths. I got distracted, and went to bed.
When I woke up Monday morning and saw what I had done, I lost my mind.
Here’s a quick list of things you don’t want in your house:
- Rogue Pythons
I’m not afraid of Zenny even a little bit (he won’t strike at his food, I sincerely doubt he will ever bite me– untrue of Stardust, whose tiny mouth produces a bite akin to a chip clip on your finger), but the idea of him just in my apartment ~Somewhere~ was not very settling. I am easily startled. I once accidentally punched my cat when he snuck up on me at night.
Already dressed for work, I began to tear my office apart looking for him. I moved my bookshelf and piano and desk out from the wall, took everything I could out of the closet, and generally flailed around in the middle of the room. I needed a better plan. I googled something like, “what to do ball python missing escaped can’t find” (I am a google search champion) and began following the arcane instructions.
I set up a warm trap for him, and opened some windows. Hopefully, he would get chilly and search for warmth. Also, I took flour out of the cupboard and blocked all of my thresholds with lines of flour. At the very least, if he moved from room to room, I would know where he was. The internet also suggested leaving him food, but Zenny has no survival instincts so that would never lure him.
By the time I left for work, my house looked like the residence of an extremely paranoid wannabe-witch in the middle of a cross-country move.
I came home over my lunch hour to see if my warm-trap had worked, or if he had disturbed any of my special flour lines.
Now, I had planned to spend the evening with my lovely boyfriend. However, I did not think it would be fair to ask him to hang out, much less sleep, in an apartment with a missing snake. No matter how lazy and ridiculous that snake might be. I had been looking forward to spending a peaceful night watching our hilariously bad/awesome fantasy show (The Shannara Chronicles, its terrible/amazing) and maybe eating pizza. This was not to be.
For the record, he did still buy me pizza, because he is a champion– we just had to go to a restaurant to eat it, which meant I could not wear my pajamas, but it was worth it since I still got to see his face– despite unleashing a serpent in my apartment and thus making it slightly uninhabitable.
I returned home to continue the search. At some point, I started getting frazzled. I felt I had looked everywhere. My apartment is large for an apartment for one person at 1,200 square feet, but there are limited places to hide.
I texted out for help, because I could sense an impending panic implosion, and I did not think that would be helpful for anyone.
One of my dear friends came over to help me search and provide moral support. Fairly quickly she was in my kitchen, on the floor.
HER: Did you know there’s a huge hole down here?
HER: There’s something in there.
ME: Is it Zenny?!
HER: *Bravely shoves most of her arm into mysterious kitchen hole* Huh.
HER: *Brandishes her find, a rubber duckie.*
ME: That is not my pet.
HER: No, it is not. There’s more back there…
After which, she pulled out a pacifier and a dog toy.
Still no ball python.
I was beginning to feel defeated and sad. I was worried for my scale baby. I was worried he had gotten out of the apartment and been beheaded or something. Maybe he was still in the apartment but thirsty and dry and cold. I had no way to know. I was tired, and I felt stupid for letting my pet escape. I was sad I wasn’t in my pjs and I didn’t know if I could really go to sleep without finding him.
Finally, I flopped down in my desk chair and halfheartedly began opening its drawers.
And there he was.
In the second drawer of my desk, there was Zenny, tucked alongside my notebooks and girl scout handbooks. He thwipped his tongue at me, and I snuggled him close to my chest. My dear friend took a picture.
Zenny’s tank has a lock on it now.