Yes, I Have A Pet Snake And No, I Am Not Crazy

Yes, I Have A Pet Snake And No, I Am Not Crazy

Deciding to get a ball python as a pet was one of the best decisions of my life.

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Three summers ago, I started volunteering at The Toledo Zoo and I fell hardcore in love with animals. I had always loved them, but when I started getting more involved and eventually got hired I started seriously thinking about getting a snake as a pet.

When I was a kid, I was terrified of snakes thanks to a documentary my dad showed me where a man got consumed by an anaconda. Now we've come full circle, and my baby ball python named Kluber lives happily in a bedroom at my dad's house. It took my sister and me some convincing to get my dad and stepmom on board with owning one of the most feared animals ever in a tank in our bedroom, but after a thorough powerpoint presentation, two educational youtube videos, and my background of animal handling and zoo training, they finally agreed to let a danger noodle into our home.

When we started looking for a baby ball python from a reputable breeder, we already knew we wanted a young male with some kind of abnormal color markings. We also knew that we were going to name him Kluber after Corey Kluber, the pitcher for the Cleveland Indians. We searched long and hard for a unique animal that didn't completely break the bank, and thanks to Morphmarket we stumbled across Twin City Constrictors. They had a fresh group of baby pastel 100% albino ball pythons for sale (which basically just means they are lighter in color and will have albino babies) and we immediately fell in love with one of them.

After talking to the owner and deciding a time to have the baby snake shipped to our house, we exchanged the cash and set out to make the coolest and safest ball python enclosure ever. One of the references that really helped was this video by Brian Barczyk on how to set up a starting enclosure that won't make your wallet cry. Once everything was ready, we just needed to wait for the overnight shipping of our new snake friend.

Kluber gives amazing hugs Megan Carmen

When the box showed up on our porch, I was the only one home so I got the honor of seeing our new pet for the first time. I opened the box, and the tiniest, cutest, most terrified face I had ever seen stared back at me from inside a small plastic cup. The poor guy was so scared, and I would be too if I had just spent all night in a box on a truck. I opened the container and reached my hand toward him. Now I know exactly what all of you snake haters out there are thinking.

Megan Carmen

For those of you wondering "Did he bite you?" or "Did he use his incredible rage against humans as an excuse to strangle you to death on the spot?", the answer is no. Ball pythons are shy animals and get their name because when threatened or in danger, they curl up into a ball instead of attacking. So as I reached my hand into the cup to move him into his cage, all he did was shake in fear. Sometimes it is important to recognize that we as humans are the biggest predator around.

Snakes take the best selfies Megan Carmen

After a week or so spent acclimating in his cage, baby snake Kluber had become comfortable enough to be handled. We started out slow to make sure he felt safe and wasn't stressed, but he just so happens to be the most amazing snake ever to live and he loves to explore and scope out the outside world so he was instantly in love with being out of his tank. He even started to sit in the branches at the top of his tank to let us know he wanted to socialize.

Time to explore! Megan Carmen

There are a lot of things that make owning a snake fun, like seeing their personality develop, watching them explore, and seeing them shed. For us though, Kluber has been a family bonding experience. I got to share my passion and love for these incredible creatures with my family and educate them on the proper care necessary for reptiles. I saw my once-apprehensive stepmom, Melissa, form a bond with Kluber and become genuinely interested in him and snakes in general. We all gathered together in awe the first time we watched him eat, shocked that something without arms or legs was able to devour a mouse that fast. But most importantly, we all have developed a love for a creature that extends beyond anything we could have predicted.

Kluber enjoying his home Megan Carmen

When we received a two-month-old ball python back in August, never did we think he would be as important to us as he is. He has his own nicknames, a very special personality, and the cutest little tongue ever. Kluber is now just under two feet long, the perfect amount of chunky, and eating an adult mouse every two weeks. He will grow another three feet and be as big around as a baseball bat at his prime, and he will live another 20-30 years. It is so exciting to watch him grow and develop and it is so gratifying to know that we get to be a part of this creatures life. It's exactly like owning a dog... just not as fuzzy and with significantly fewer legs.

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20 Of The Coolest Animal Species In The World

Animals that almost seem imaginary.
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The world is full of amazing animals. So amazing, that narrowing them down to 20 felt nearly impossible. To determine who made the cut for this list, I used very important factors such as, cuteness and how much some of them looked like Pokémon . I know, very official. So here are some of the coolest animals in the world.

1. Pink Fairy Armadillo

The pink fairy armadillo is the smallest and cutest species of armadillo. It is on the list of threatened species and is found in the sandy plains, dunes, and grasslands of Argentina. The pink fairy armadillo is a nocturnal creature that survives mostly on insects and plants.


2. Okapi

The okapi is an animal native to the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa. Although the stripes make many people believe okapi are related to zebra, they are actually closer to giraffe. Okapi are solitary creatures and come together to breed. They are herbivores, mostly eating leaves, grass, and other plants.


3. Glaucus Atlanticus or "the Blue Dragon"

These little dragon-like creatures are often only about a few inches long and can be found in the Indian Pacific Oceans. The blue dragon floats upside down in order to blend the blue side of them with the water, and the silver side with the surface of the ocean. This tiny dragon feeds on creatures like the man o' war and can even deliver a sting similar to it.


4. The Maned Wolf

The maned wolf is often found in the grasslands of south, central-west, and southeastern parts of Brazil. It is neither related to wolves nor foxes despite its appearance and name, but is actually closer to dogs. The maned wolf hunts alone and primarily eats both meat and plants (about 50% of its diet).


5. Fossa

The fossa is a carnivorous animal located in Madagascar. Despite having many traits similar to cats, it is more closely related to the Mongoose. The fossa is only found in forest habitats and can hunt in either daytime or night. Over 50 percent of its diet happens to be lemurs.


6. Japanese Spider Crab

As the name suggestions, the Japanese spider crab inhabits the waters surrounding Japan. In many parts of Japan, this crab can be considered a delicacy but can be considerably difficult to catch. The Japanese spider crab can grow to 12 feet long from claw to claw. There is only one sea creature-- amongst similar species (aka crustaceans)-- that beats the weight of a Japanese spider crab: the American Lobster.


7. Pacu Fish

Look closely at the teeth, do they look familiar? This fish is found in the waters of South America. This fish, while related to the piranha, can actually grow much larger. They can also be found in rivers like the Amazon and is an aid to the fishing industry. Unlike the piranha, pacu mostly only eat seeds and nuts, though can still create nasty injuries to other animals if need be.


8. Slow Loris

The slow loris is a nocturnal creature found in Southeast Asia. While very adorable, the loris's teeth are actually quite venomous. The toxin on their teeth can also be applied to fur through grooming to protect its babies from predators. Often times these creatures forage and spend time alone, although can on occasion be seen with other slow lorises. Apart from their toxic teeth, the slow lorises have another defense mechanism, in which they move nearly completely silently in order to prevent discovery.


9. Angora Rabbit

These cute, fluffy rabbits are among the hairiest breeds of rabbit of both wild and domestic types. These rabbits originated in Turkey although managed to spread throughout Europe and was even brought to the United States in the 20th century. These rabbits are often bred for their soft wool which can be made into clothing, and often get rid of their own coats every 3-4 months.


10. Axolotl

The axolotl or "Mexican salamander" (who looks like a Pokémon , if you ask me) is often spotted in lakes in various places around Mexico. These little salamanders are amphibious although often spend their adult lives strictly in the water. However, the population of these cute creatures is dwindling due to non-native predators and the continued urbanization of Mexico. The axolotl eats small worms, insects, and fish in order to survive.


11. Liger

The liger, however made up it sounds, is a real (and cute) animal created by a lion and a tiger mating. Ligers only seem to exist in captivity or zoos because the lion and tiger don't share the same habitat in the wild. Unfortunately, these animals don't live very long or are sterile despite being bigger than both the lion and the tiger. While these animals are cool and unique, they are not strictly natural or sustainable.


12. Bearded Vulture

I don't know about you all, but this vulture reminds me of a phoenix which was initially why I looked into the creature. These vultures inhabit a range of places from southern Europe to the Indian subcontinent, to Tibet. This vulture, like other vultures, typically eats dead animals, although it has been documented that the bearded vulture will attack live prey more often than other vultures.


13. Goblin Shark


This unusual shark is also known as a "living fossil" because they are the last representative of sharks that lived about 125 million years ago. It is a deep sea shark that can grow between 10-13 feet if not longer. The goblin shark has been caught accidentally in every major ocean. The goblin shark is not a fast swimmer and relies on ambushing its prey.


14. Red Panda

This cute, small panda lives in the eastern Himalayas and southwestern China. The red panda is rather small, only about the same size as most domestic cats. Its eating habits range from bamboo, to eggs, to insects, and several other small mammals. The red panda is primarily sedentary during the day and at night or in the morning does whatever hunting it needs to do.


15. Blobfish

This blobfish is, in a way, so ugly that it is cute (although reminds me of a certain Pokémon ) This fish lives in the deep waters of Australia, Tasmania, and New Zealand. The blobfish has a density only sightly above that of water. The fish primarily hunts by just floating along and letting creatures wander into its mouth, rather than expending any energy.


16. Leaf Deer

The leaf deer is usually found in dense forests in the northwest region of Putao. The adult leaf deer only stands at about 20 inches high and the males and females are nearly identical except for an inch long horn on the males. It is called a leaf deer because hunters could wrap the deer in a single large leaf.


17. Tiger

While tigers are a more common animal than many others on this list, it is still one of the coolest animals in the world. Tigers are the largest of all cats and once ranged from Russia, to Turkey, to parts of Asia — almost all over the world. These animals are fierce, powerful creatures, although they are on the endangered species list.


18. Narwhals

Narwhals are a species of whale that live in the waters around Greenland, Canada, and Russia. The narwhal's diet changes depending on the time of year: in the spring the narwhal will eat cod, while in the winter the narwhal will eat flatfish. Narwhals can live up to 50 years and most frequently die of suffocation from being trapped under the ice.


19. Cheetah

Cheetahs, while more commonly heard of then some of the other animals on this list, are still incredibly cool. They often inhabit many parts of Africa and Iran. These amazing cats can reach up to 60 miles per hour in three seconds and use their tails to make quick and sudden turns. These amazing cats also have semi-retractable claws which helps with speed. The cheetah, however, doesn't have much besides speed to defend itself.


And finally....


20. Superb Bird of Paradise

This GIF demonstrates the mating dance used by male superb birds of paradise. Typically females reject about 20 mates before selecting one they want to mate with. They are often found in New Guinea although it is unsure just how many of these birds there are. As far as scientists know, the population has remained stable.

Cover Image Credit: Tumblr

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From A Rescue Dog: Thank You For Putting Me On A Chain

You tried to keep me chained to a tree, but I found my forever home in someone's arms.

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When I was a puppy, I saw different families come to get my brothers and sisters and take them home. I was sad, but I knew my day was coming. I knew that soon, I would have a family come get me. Then, you came. You picked me. I thought it was the happiest day of my life!

When we first got home, you let me stay inside. I thought I was the luckiest puppy in the world. But, I started having accidents in the house. I didn't know any better. I spent all day inside by myself; what was I supposed to do? I also chewed up a few things: sunglasses, shoes, and a hat to be exact. But, isn't that what puppies do? You fussed at me, a lot. I swear I didn't know it was going to make you mad, or I promise I wouldn't have done it. After a few days, you'd had enough. You took me outside. I thought we were going in the yard to play. I didn't know I'd never go inside again.

You took me to a tree in the backyard and attached a chain to my collar. It was so heavy. I didn't know what was happening. You left me a bowl of food and a bowl of water but nothing else. I didn't have a dog house or any toys. I heard you say that I didn't deserve it. I wish you knew how sorry I was. I hated being outside all by myself. I cried all night. I cried every night for a few weeks, but I eventually gave up. It wasn't doing anything.

You used to come to bring me fresh food and water every day, but after a few months, you began to forget about me. You gave me food and water maybe once a week. Do you have any idea how hot I was in the summer? Especially when you forgot to give me more water. The winter was even worse. I was freezing cold every single night. I'd wake up in the mornings covered in frost.

My whole body ached. Your kids would be outside playing, and they wouldn't come near me anymore. I had fleas. I didn't smell good. I probably looked scary because I was so skinny; you could see almost all of my bones. I was heartbroken. When you'd come outside, I'd bark because I wanted your attention. You didn't care... I lived outside on this chain for almost a year. I was hopeless. I was stuck. My heart was broken. I wished you loved me back.

Then, one day while you were all gone, a lady saw me. Neither of us knew it then, but the second she looked into my eyes, I became hers. She had a place in her heart just for me. She noticed I didn't have any food or water, so she gave me some. She was so nice. I got hugs and kisses; I had forgotten what those felt like. She even let me give her kisses back! The lady left, and I was so sad. I thought about her all night. Apparently, she thought about me all night, too. Because, the next day, she came back.

I saw her talking to you, but I didn't know what was going on. She walked over to me and took my collar off. I was a little confused, but it felt so good to not have my neck weighed down by the heavy chain. I jumped on her and gave her so many kisses. She didn't yell at me like you used to. She just smiled with tears in her eyes. She called me to follow her to her car. I looked for you, but you had gone back inside. I wouldn't ever see you again. This was actually the happiest day of my life.

She took me to her home, and she let me go inside. She put me in the bathtub, and I was scared at first, but it felt so good to be clean. After my bath, she gave me food and water. I ate and began to feel much better. She let me sit on the couch with her, and I fell asleep with her rubbing my belly. I woke up, and she took me outside. I was so scared I wasn't going to get to come back in, but I did! She let me come back in. That night, I slept in the bed with her. I was so happy.

This is my life every day now. I get to love her, and she loves me back. I am so thankful that she saved me. I'm not outside in the heat or freezing cold. I'm not hungry or thirsty. I'm not neglected. I'm not abused. I'm with her. I am taken care of.

I hope you never get another dog. You don't deserve one. But, thank you for getting me. Thank you for leaving me on a chain. Without you, I wouldn't have found my forever home. I wouldn't know what love is. I wouldn't get to love my human every single day. She loves me more than you ever could. So, thank you.

Love,

A Rescue Dog

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