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Old 12-20-03, 01:00 AM   #1 (permalink)
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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.
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Old 12-20-03, 01:16 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Wow, intense. I like to watch them slither.
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Old 12-20-03, 01:21 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I had an area near my house when I was a kid. It was ripe with rat snakes, garters, racers and all kinds of other herps. I started off catching garters and was hooked. I can't remember a time when I didn't keep some type of reptile.
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Old 12-20-03, 01:58 AM   #4 (permalink)
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When I was 2 or 3, a neighbour of ours had some sort of python. My mom let me hold it - I loved it. Once we moved to Ontario, my brother and I would always go field herping. We used to catch snappers, painters, fox snakes, garters, toads, frogs, crayfish - anything we could find. These are some of my best childhood memories! We would keep em for a day or two and let em go. We would go whenever we had the chance. Funny, we would find em and I would always have to be the one to pick them up! My brother was always afraid of them! All the other girls were afraids of them - lol. I have almost always been interested and kept something reptilian.
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Old 12-20-03, 02:11 AM   #5 (permalink)
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As a kid I was always out in the garden catching garters, or in the window wells catching toads.
When I was 4 years old it was decided I could have my very own pet. We had always had dogs, but I wanted something of my own. My mom sent me and my dad off to the pet store to get my first pet (a hamster), well much to my mom's dismay, we came home with an iguana (who is still alive today ).

I guess history has a huge part of it, but in addition to that, some of the reasons I keep them these days are...
-they are greatly misunderstood
-beautiful and fascinating
-low maintenance
-unlike people, you get what you see... no hidden agendas, no lies
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Old 12-20-03, 09:51 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I have always been interested in snakes as long as I can remember...never was afraid of them ....I keep them now because ..Soon,the only ones you will be able to see are the ones that we have.........
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Old 12-20-03, 09:59 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Old 12-20-03, 10:07 PM   #8 (permalink)
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LOL
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Old 12-20-03, 10:07 PM   #9 (permalink)
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caus' my retic bite hurts less then the dogs haha. I live for the (ooohhh aahhhhs then running and screaming routine)haha
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Old 12-20-03, 10:09 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I just find them so incredibly facinating..basically the same as you crotalus..Whenever i see any reptile anywhere i just want to grab it and see what kind it is or just look at it for a little..My first snake encounter in the wild was not to long ago..up at my cottage i saw a garter snake and that just made me love the animals even more.

Since all this reptile/exotic pet owning my life has changed quite a bit. My new "dream" i guess you could say is wanting to go to somewhere like australia or africa to field herp with a friend or something. Just something i would almost die for, the experience to see beutiful creatures..up here in toronto you cant really see much at all, except an occasional toad

So basically i keep them because, at the present moment, im not able to go and see them in the wild..it keeps me close to the species, right in my own house
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Old 12-20-03, 10:19 PM   #11 (permalink)
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hehe my turn:

Since I was old enough to read at 3 years of age, I've been reading and learning everything I can about snakes. When I was 6 years old my mom and dad moved me to a house with a pool and I would get many toads and frogs in it. I've never been the squeamish girl type.

I've always handled anything that I found interesting, like bugs, amphibs...but it took me a long time to actually find my first snake.

When I was 13 years old I handled my first snake. I was at an antique store with my cousin, aunt and mother, bored out of my mind, so I went on a mini hike through the woods nearby with my cousin. She found a toad and trying to act like me picked it up (I knew how disgusted she really was).

And then I heard it, a rustling in the leaves, I looked down and I had found a garter snake. I didn't know how to handle it and I didn't want it to bite me, so I picked it up like I saw my dad's friend do once when we were in BC and it didn't squirm that much or anything, and I brought it to show mom.

So as far as actually seeing them and such. Unfortunately I had only seen two in the wild and then there were museums and zoos. But I was always so intrigued by them. And I have to largely thank my parents. They never discouraged me, they never told me that girls don't play with icky things, they never yelled when they found a renegade toad in my room or a frog in the bathroom sink.

And then when I was 16, my herp collecting Began, it's hard to think that I've only owned pet herps for 3 years. The amount of information I've learned and everything I've learned from them, it feels like I've had them all my life.

But they've always been in my head and in my heart

Jenn
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Old 12-20-03, 10:22 PM   #12 (permalink)
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come to think of it i should be afraid of reptiles. when i was 3 my parents brought me into the desert on vacation. they heard a rattle and started to go look for the snake. so they were bringing me through the desert and i was so afaid i was shaking. i just wanted to go back i was in tears and everything. and we never found the snake.

Second experience was when i was 4 i got the tip of my almost taken off by a big common snapper

and later on that year i finally got up the courage to go pick up a garter snake. and ofcourse it bites me. but after all childhood crap i got over it when i was about 5. than i caught lots of garters and kept one as a pet for a while. than got a corn snake, than a ball python, than a ribbon snake, than a rough green snake than lampros and just took off from there.
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Old 12-20-03, 10:31 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I too have many similar childhood memories as the rest of you, and personally nothing beats the feel of a snakes scales or even just watching the way that they move. And since I've started keeping animals I've taken them along to all my family functions in attempt to spread the love to my relatives -- and I can't wait to be the eccentric aunt once my sister starts having kids lol. I think it's very important to try and educate people whenever possible, as these creatures are so misunderstood by so many. I even used to take them to school, and my teachers were so interested that they'd let me talk through the entire class about snakes. Lots of fun! When it comes down to it, my creatures are my kids and I can't imagine life without them.
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Old 12-20-03, 11:35 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Suntiger: me too! Whenever I possibly could, I would circle a class presentation around my Spotted Python. Anything to show her off and educate people about her.

I even did a presentation on Indian Pythons and I was like, "And now, a different kind of python I brought for a feeding demonstration" lmao

Jenn
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Old 12-21-03, 05:53 AM   #15 (permalink)
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"And I have to largely thank my parents. They never discouraged me, they never told me that girls don't play with icky things, they never yelled when they found a renegade toad in my room or a frog in the bathroom sink."

My parents (and grandparents) were very supportive and tolerant of my interest in reptiles when I was a kid also. I think that their support was one of the main reasons I was able to really develop an intense passion for these animals.
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