Sunday, November 16, 2008

Boytrapped: How far does it go?

You know, five and a half years ago when we went to get a snake for Tyler, Liz saw this big boa constrictor and went out on a limb and said "you know, we could get TWO snakes if one of them was a boa constrictor..." Well she didn't have to tell me twice. Little did she know what she was getting into.

So this is the snake we had come for. Tyler named him Tyler and it's a boy snake.

And this is the snake we bought for Matt - a female boa constrictor named Hagapina. Liz says it doesn't count to say that there are two girls around here if one of them is a SNAKE. Good point huh?

So once Isaac realized he didn't have a snake of his he does too. This one COULD be a girl, we don't know. It's a corn snake named Corny. Fits huh?

So anyway, to cut to the chase, besides the obvious of having snakes in the house, every 2-3 weeks Liz gets to enjoy two rats and a mouse thawing out on a plate in the kitchen for a half day before feeding time. And the occasional gem like when the boa constrictor doesn't shed quite right and I have to give it a bath and rub off the flakes of skin that are still stuck. Well, today was a new one. Yesterday was feeding night. Boas are big, and they are not entirely dumb. If you feed them in their cage, they learn to strike at anything that comes in the top. Hands...bad idea. So we feed her in a plastic crate with a locking lid - put her in, drop in a rat, lock it and come back in the morning. While she's in there, she strikes at any movement she sees, such as when people walk by the crate, which she did several times before I got her out. When I did get her out, her face was all deformed. Yes, snakes faces can be deformed more than the usual. In her case, her lower lip (yes, snakes have lips) was pulled up inside and a tooth from her lower jaw had snagged it and was holding it inside her mouth. Her upper row of teeth then was piercing through the outside of the lip and holding it in place, and I couldn't tell if her jaw was broken. Matt was nearly in tears, and Liz told me I had to get it to an exotic vet right away. Isn't she awesome? She even loves the snakes. Not because of the snakes themselves, I'm sure, but because that's how much she loves the boys.

First I tried to fix it myself. "Here, hon, hold the body so she can't coil around my hands while I pry her mouth open and try and unhook her lips." That didn't work - the snake was writhing, hissing, and biting down as hard as she could. So I got on the phone. Eventually I found a vet who used to treat exotics, but not anymore. He talked me through it - said to wedge the mouth open with a stick so that I could be free to unhook the lips, and to make sure enough people were holding the snake (she's about 6-7' long now). SO here we went again - Liz holding the writhing 4" diameter body that is as strong as a person's arm, while I got to pry open the mouth, jam in a stick cross-wise, and work on unhooking the lips trom the teeth. Hagapina is fine. When we were finished, I said to Liz "You really didn't know what you were getting into when you said we could get more than one, did you?"

SO yeah in addition to nurse, counsellor, cook, maid, shopping service, seamstress, answering service, teacher, cycling instructor, and akela, being a boytrapped mom now means exotic veteranarian assistant. Does she rock or what?


Kami said...

WoW Liz let me stand up and say "YOU GO GIRL!!" No way could I ever do that...You are a great mom!
Kisses Kami

Anonymous said...

That is awesome that Liz is so willing to assist with the snakes and really even allow the snakes in the house. Better woman than I! Glad to hear the snake will survive.

Sen said...

Me either. I would have nightmares every night of the possibility of them getting out.. and having dead things on the counter would more than likely make my food come up!

Brown Family said...

You rock Liz!