My folks never appreciated my interest in the scaley critters. As a child I caught any animal too slow to get away and wanted to keep it (ducks, squirrels, rabbits, snapping turtles, sliders, green snakes, garters, black rats, chain kings, etc...). My improvised housing rarely worked out and so there would be a second round of catching in the house. My father is deathly afraid of snakes so the snakes loose in the house were the thing that got me most in trouble. I always read anything I could get my hands on about reptiles (still do). Once I started college, a reptile shop (I shudder now to think about some of their conditions) opened in town and I spent a lot of time there. I loved when they'd get a shipment in and wouldn't know what was in the bags. Half the time I don't think they knew what the snakes were once they came out of the bags. I bought a couple of asian "garters" from them, one of which ended up being a Amphiesma stolata and figured out how to care for them. Moved on to northern banded waters, black rat snakes, corns, chinese water dragons, various geckos, lots of North American rat snakes, just to name a few. Rat snakes are still my favorites, though now I keep mainly asian varieties.
I love learning about snakes, observing them both in my home, zoos, and in the wild. I just think they are facinating creatures- one of the wonders of the natural world. A great means of studying genetic diversity in the captive environment.
Ok, I'm done!