Thursday, September 11, 2008
Leif & Shazbat the Python - November 26, 2003 - Age 28
Leif was fascinated by snakes. Over the years he had several of them, a couple of pythons, a boa constrictor, a garter snake. The boa's name was Pandora and the garter snake was Goldilocks. He had those when he was still living at home with us in our old stone house in Manhattan, Kansas.
Those two got loose one time and we couldn't find them anywhere. I was concerned, because in that old stone house, there were plenty of nooks and crannies where a snake could manage to get into the walls, the attic or basement and would never be found. I wasn't scared of the snakes. I just didn't want them dying in the house where we couldn't find them, or finding them getting into bed with me. As a kid, I hunted for snakes on the prairie and had ringnecks and enjoyed my brother's bull snake.
We finally gave up hunting for Pandora and Goldilocks after a month. Then one day I was vacuuming in Leif's bedroom, picked up his guitar's soft case that was lying in a heap on the floor, and there was Pandora. She was hungry! So, she was back in the terrarium, but still not Goldilocks.
I was up very late one night, maybe 2 or 3 AM, and I was heading through the front foyer to the stairs to go up to bed when our cat started acting like it was stalking something. Merlin slunk low on his belly and padded very slowly and quietly forward as though something was there.
I couldn't see anything, or hear anything, but clearly Merlin thought something was there, so I started looking under the two cabinets we had on either side of the front door. Nothing. I looked under the old hot water radiator. Nothing. In the radiator, all around the floor, nothing. On the stairs. Nothing. I was about to decide Merlin had lost it, but then I decided to look behind the cabinets, and there was Pandora, stretched out full length on the mop board about 8 inches off the floor.
I hollered up the stairs to Leif, who was also still awake (we are a family of night owls) and told him to get some leather gloves on and come catch her. I wasn't scared of Goldilocks, but she was never as placid and tame as the boas and pythons, and I knew she would be snappish and hungry and no longer used to being handled. I was right. She put up quite a fight with Leif, but he captured her.
I told him I was happy to have Pandora stay, but that I'd prefer that he find another home for Pandora, so he took her back to the pet shop and traded her for a year of food (mice) for Pandora.
If I remember correctly, when Leif joined the army, he sold Pandora, who had gotten to be fairly large, maybe 7 feet long.
When he came back from the army, he got Shazbat. She's the one in these photos. Shazbat was a very nice snake, slow moving, and liked to be handled. Leif spent hours one night with his brother, trying to convince his nieces that snakes were not slimy and that Shazbat wasn't dangerous. After an hour of trying to persuade them to just touch her, we thought they never would. But finally, to our surprise, they did. They were fascinated!
These photos were taken November 26, 2003. Leif took them in the house he was living in at 710 N. 9th Street in Manhattan, Kansas. I love the rascally look in his eyes!
Shazbat eventually died. I think Leif said she choked on her food. I didn't know that could happen to a snake.