Growing up, my older brother had a number of snakes. My mother objected to this initially, but somehow my brother's desire prevailed. Some time during my mid-teens my older brother (who was a year and a half older than me) got a few Burmese Python snakes, and a Red-tailed Boa. One of the Burmese pythons was an Albino Burmese Python. The snakes ranged in size from about 3 feet in length (the Boa) to about 6 feet in length (the Albino Burmese). I donít remember exactly how many snakes he had, but it was probably around 4 or 5.
My mom did not want to have snakes in the house because she was not a fan of snakes in general. Add to that the size of these snakes and the fear that they could get loose, and her objections were not unfounded.
My brother kept his snakes in a cage in one corner of the living room. It was about 8 feet long by about 2 feet wide. It was basically a box, with wood on all sides except the front. The front door slid open to one side and was made of Plexiglas.
Over the time that we they were kept in the living room the snakes managed to escape a couple times. The first time that we noticed one of the snakes missing from the cage my mother was pretty freaked out. The cage door was slid open by only a couple inches. We looked all over for the snake and eventually ended up finding the snake on a chair stacked with a couple folded quilts sitting right next to the cage. The snake was curled up between two quilts, apparently in search of warmth. We assumed that someone had not completely closed the cage and the snake was able to find the small opening and slide the door open enough to slither out.
Another time the snake got out and a thorough search was conducted. The first place we looked was the stack of quilts, but the snake was not there. We continued to look everywhere for the snake, but we were could not find it. Eventually we put the search on hold figuring that the snake would turn up again over the course of time. After a few days we started to smell a foul smell in the living room. We tried to locate the source of the smell, figuring it was the snake that lost too much body temperate and died (remember snakes are reptiles and do not generate their own body heat). We looked high and low to find the smell. We started to move furniture around as well. When we moved the piano we noticed a small hole in the wall, a couple inches in diameter. Getting closer to the hole the source of the smell became obvious.
The snake had escaped from the cage, slid behind the piano, and found the hole in the wall. Once inside the wall, the snake was unable to find its way out, became trapped and eventually died.
Now that this tragedy had struck and the snake's life had been lost, we decided to achieve closure to the situation and end the affliction of the rank smell in the most efficient way possible. The hole was sealed shut with tape. The smell not longer emanated from the wall, and the piano was moved back into placed.
Eventually my brother discovered that even though the smaller snakes were the ones getting out, it was one of the larger snakes that had been the one opening the cage door. Once we witnessed the snake wedge itself against the back wall of the cage, then press its body against the glass door and apply pressure and slowly slide the door open.
After that my brother wedged a piece of wood into the path of the sliding door to block it from opening, and the escapes ceased. My mother made him moves the snakes into his bedroom.
by Cameron Hatch
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