My New Pet

Dear Jerry,

Almost two months ago, I got my first pet. I got a snake! ( I am sorry to strike fear into your heart because you are a lizard and snakes and lizards don’t get along well!) I named my snake Asmodeus ( pronounced, As-moe-day-us ) after the snake in an awesome book series called Redwall.
She (Yes! it is a female snake!) is approximately four and a half feet long which is full grown and she is eight years old. She eats one medium sized rat (frozen) every three weeks. She has a lovely copper and sand pattern stretching down her back. Her colors are brightest and most vivid after she sheds. (more on that later.) She is a Ball Python. Do you know how they got that name? Ball Pythons have a habit to curl tightly in a ball when startled or threatened with their head inside the “ball”. Interestingly enough, Ball Pythons startle VERY easily. She loves being held and wraps tightly around your arm for stability while her forked tongue flicks the air. I hold her every day and we both enjoy it. The one thing she hates is being touched on her head. If her head is touched, she will curl tightly into a ball for a few seconds. I hypothesize that the reason she doesn’t like her head touched is that all snakes have a large nerve bundle in their head and upper neck. this nerve bundle is very sensitive and delicate so all snakes have an instinct to protect this bundle fiercely. (This is my own opinion and is not confirmed by research.)
Asmodeus is very active at night. She slithers around her cage looking for an exit. Mom made me put two Biology books on the cage lid for her peace of mind! During the day she prefers to stay in her “house” on a special reptile heating pad to keep warm. Right now she is almost ready to shed. I can tell because about 3-4 days before she sheds her eyes become a cloudy blue-white color. this is caused by lymphatic fluid collecting between the old eye-scale and the new eye-scale. (Jerry, you probably know this already because lizards shed their skin, too!) Her pattern also becomes cloudy for the same reason. Just after she sheds her colors have a stark contrast between the light and dark. This is when she is prettiest!
I hope this letter has opened up a new understanding and small appreciation for the fascinating world of snakes!

Yours truly,