Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Snakes and dragons

This handsome ball python is waiting for adoption at the pet store I visited on the weekend. Ball or royal pythons I've learned, are the smallest of the python family and are bred in Africa. They can grow to three feet in length rarely larger, but never more than five feet.

The name ball python refers to the creature's tendency to curl up in a ball when it is frightened or nervous. As you can see here, it is familiar with its handler one of the pet store staff - who loves all  creatures and is at ease with all of them in the store. The name royal python refers to the legend that Cleopatra used to wear a ball python around her wrist. It seems to be a natural habit for these snakes.

The corn snake was so named by early North American settlers who would find it in their corn bins and thought it was eating corn. It is a colouring or morph of the red rat snake and eats rodents. It is definitely the farmers friend. It can grow to as much as five feet long but usually - like the ball python - only around three. They are constrictors and are often referred to as red rat snakes. The more common colouring is black and brown and though they are mostly night creatures on the ground, they do climb trees.

Bearded dragon lizards are highly recommended as interesting and quiet pets for families. They don't grow very big - in this picture there is a clutch of babies not bigger than about five inches including tails. They live mostly on insects and vegetables. They originated in Australia but because of their popularity they are bred in captivity for the pet trade.

This handful was certainly busy and active and seemed to be watching my actions with great interest as I tried to focus the camera.

I stroked the two snakes...they were warm and soft - like fine leather. While I tried to get the corn snake to crawl on my hand she was unwilling, though she did sniff my hand for quite a while - little red tongue flicking in and out. Snakes can move like lightning when they need to and I'm always delighted when I find a couple on my property. One year I had a huge fox snake. I have no idea how long it really was but it was about three or four inches in diameter when I stepped over it thinking it was a fallen branch. By the time I'd run to get my camera, it was gone. Mostly there are tiny garter snakes. Llast year one slid into my pond after the frogs. It hid under the water hyacinth, but I doubt it stayed long. They can swim, but water is not their natural habitat and the frogs in my pond are pretty wily.

All nature is fascinating to me... aren't we lucky to have so much diversity? Wonder why humankind doesn't take better care of it? Too little too late I'm afraid, but any measures to preserve our environment with all that live and depend on it is better than none at all.

Enjoy any time you get in the great outdoors today. It's sunny here, and though not summer-like, lovely and bright - time to get into the garden and continue clean-up.


  1. Greetings from Southern California

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    God Bless You :-)

  2. Hi Barbara

    I have mixed feelings about keeping reptiles and amphibians as pets. Many were harvested from the wild and taken from their native habitat. That's pretty rough. I'm sure they would rather be free. On the other hand, when used educationally I'm sure it may be of benefit to those left in the wild. People are a lot more appreciative of animals they have had personal contact with.

    What are your feelings on this?

  3. Well that's bullshit, Barbara. It's illegal (in Australia, anyway) to take reptiles as pets from the wild.

  4. When I took these photos in a pet store - I asked about the origin of these creatures since I too am against taking anything from the wild as a pet. I was assured that these reptiles were captive bred. The only reason in my opinion to have reptiles in the house as pets is to teach our children... I don't understand why people want to have them as pets. But they do. There's no reason not to photograph them and show them to people in this blog -and obviously people have strong feelings about this...and express them - which in my opinion is a good thing. Perhaps it will make people think? it is illegal to own reptiles caught in the wild in Canada and most exotic reptiles are captive bred as far as I know. But still... Glad that this has caused some people to respond and think about it.