The world is your oyster!: Beginning with Banana        

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My name is Heather.

I am 22 years old.

I am an East Coast girl
who also loves Utah.

I love my life. How could I not?

The world is my oyster :)
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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Beginning with Banana

Today I went to two different pet stores. I held six or seven different snakes. I loved each and every one of them.

I've never been afraid of snakes that I can remember. I think that's because I just never knew that I should be. My mom never acted like they were scary, so by the time I realized that people were afraid of snakes, I already liked them. I can remember being in elementary school and a guest speaker coming in with a huge yellow python. She told us all about snakes; how they were cold-blooded, how they had two eyelids for each eye, and how they smelled with their tongues. She told us all this with Banana the python draped across her shoulders. His head bobbed around as she talked, his bright eyes blinking at all the children who stared back at him. His tail curled up and down lazily, sometimes wrapping gently around the speaker's wrist. I watched as his tongue flicked constantly in and out of his chiseled face, catching my scent. And when the speaker asked if she could get a volunteer to come and gently pet him, I threw my hand in the air, hoping that she would choose me.

She didn't, and instead of me, a little boy with a Batman shirt swaggered to the front of the room and boldly thrust his hand out to pet Banana. The snake tensed, quickly turning his head toward the boy in the Batman shirt. A collective gasp went around the room as the boy jerked away from the snake, his composure rapidly dissolving. The speaker told him not to worry, that Banana was just a little surprised, but would not bite or hurt him in any way. It didn't matter. When she asked if he'd like to try petting Banana again, the boy backed away, shaking his head, and took his seat.

I can remember feeling thoroughly annoyed. If I had been called on, no such thing would have happened. In my imagination, I saw myself striding confidently up to the front of the room. I reached out to pet Banana and he immediately slithered onto my arm. He loved me, and I handled him marvelously. The speaker was so amazed by our immediate bond that she called my mother to see if she could send Banana home with me.

Unfortunately, this never happened because of a pansy boy in a Batman shirt.

It's just as well, I guess. As much as my mom likes snakes, she probably would have said "no" to having a 6-foot yellow python in our house.

But that doesn't mean I have to. Today, while I was holding a lovely little ball python, I learned several things that make snakes - ball pythons in particular - great pets.

1.) They poop about once a week. And it doesn't smell or leave that big of a mess. You just have to clean out their cage each week. I am not all about picking up animal poop, so that's good news for me.

2.) It costs about 80 cents each week to feed them. They just eat one little mouse each week, and it lasts them until their next feeding.

3.) They're really low-maintenance, attention-wise. Snakes are pretty happy to just sit in their cage all day. You can hold them pretty much whenever you want.

4.) They don't make lots of noise. Sometimes they hiss. Like, sommmetimes. I love dogs and birds, but they make a lot of noise. Snakes do not.

5.) I could go on, but I'm tired of this.

While we were bonding with the ball pythons at Animal Ark, the worker announced that it was time for them to be fed. He let us watch as he put each python in its own brown paper bag. Then he dropped one wriggling white mouse in each bag. We watched as the mice went right up to the snakes. Their noses sniffed as they tried to determine what this thing was that was in the bag with them. Tongues flicked, and before the mice could even realize that they were in any danger, they were in twitching helplessly in the unrelenting grasp of the little snakes. After a few minutes, the snakes uncurled and started searching with their tongues for the head of the mouse in their bag. Finally, they unhinged their jaws and slowly swallowed the mice whole.


Yesterday, I went to a ward activity. We had Costa Vida-style burritos. I was happily munching on my burrito when I accidentally....not sure how it happened.....swallowed a whole entire chip. I don't know if the chip got stuck on the way down my trachea or if it just scratched my esophagus, but I am still suffering from that stupid chip today. It really hurts to swallow.

I thought of this because I could see a lump traveling through the snake's whole body as it swallowed the mouse whole.

Can anyone see a Tostito chip-shaped lump in my throat today??

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