Why do you keep reptiles?
As long as I can remember I have been completely captivated by reptiles especially snakes. I can think of several defining moments that lead my life down the road to ophidian fanaticism.
I remember finding my first snake (Heterodon platyrhinos) behind my grandmothers pool when I was about 3 years old. It was a life changing experience to see this little critter spread it's neck, vomit toads and roll on its back and play dead. I had never seen anything so fantastic in all of my little world.
I recall numerous family trips to the Field Museum and Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. I would spend hours just staring at the numerous preserved specimens (especially the anaconda....I dreamed of seeing a snake that size!). I loved trying to learn all of their exotic latin names and I was amazed at how many gorgeously different specimens of reptiles and amphibians there were. The HUGE alligator snapping turtle at the aquarium took up quite a bit of my time too, although I always hated to see him in such a tiny aquarium.
Camping was something that my family did several times a year when I was a kid. I would spend most of my time looking for unusual arthropods, amphibians and reptiles. I would often see snakes that had been beaten to death on the trail. This would always break my heart and I wondered why anyone would want to hurt or kill something that I saw such intense beauty and harmony in.
These are just a few of the many defining moments of my scaly little world as I was growing up.
These animals were not something that I had to learn to appreciate. They have always been like a fine painting or a symphony orchestra that would play in my mind every time I saw one of these animals scoot across the leaf litter or poise in perfect position to ambush a passing mouse. To me they are evolutionary adaptation at its finest creative moment.
What has started out as a curiosity has literally become my lifes passion (if not obsession!). With each passing year I become more enamored with the mystery and splender of these magnificent organisms.
I am currently finishing a BS in biology with a minor in Chemistry at the University of Missouri. I plan to obtain a doctoral degree in Zoology at the UF Gainesville or University of Maimi. The one thing that drives me to put myself through this punishment more than any other is SNAKES. I love these animals so much that I want to spend the rest of my life working with snakes and learning absolutely everything I can about these fantastic organisms.
Whats your reptile story? Why do you keep these animals? I am curious to hear about other reptile fanatics experiences that shaped their passion for these animals.
~ Tad Wood ~