A few weeks ago I walked into my kitchen and saw a shoelace stretched out along the baseboard, a hatchling Western Rat Snake! Now I find many hatchlings crawling about the brickwork on the side of my house every year, but this is the first snake I've found inside the house in the eight or so years I've lived here. I picked it up and found myself faced with a dilemma. I already have a Western Rat Snake but omg so cute! I tried to work around it with reason. It is very thin I thought, it looks dehydrated. It has probably been stuck in the house for some time, if I release it will be too weak to fend for itself. Ridiculous, it is a snake, it will be fine. But it would be a good story, like the dog I had as a kid who dug into the backyard and we found hanging out with our other dogs (We named her Bunny, because she dug under the fence into our backyard on Easter. We put up fliers and what have you but nobody claimed her so she stayed with us). In the end its personality swayed my decision, it seems to be much less defensive than my other Western Rat. I'd like to be able to demonstrate just how different the individual personalities of snakes can be, even within the same species. And it has a story. That's it then, it is a keeper.
This evening, while performing some routine maintenance in the snake room, it stuck me just how big my yearling Western Rat was relative to the newcomer. The yearling weighed in at 349 grams, the hatchling tips the scales at just 12 grams. That's almost 30 times bigger. The yearling has also colored up nicely, lots of yellow and orange. I stuck them both in my makeshift lightbox for a quick shot. What a difference a year makes.