“Snakes don’t make good pets for kids,” Chuck advised a couple as their young son ran a finger across our Rosy Boa’s silky body. “They’re not cuddly. They can be difficult to feed. They don’t like to be handled and you can’t play with them. And they can live longer than a dog or cat, which could be a problem when the child is ready to leave home.”
We had brought our snakes and skulls to White Tank Mountain Regional Park as part of “Take a Hike Day” celebration. A free day had encouraged many families to come to the Park to take part in the event and expose their children to adventure and education.
When Chuck was interrupted by a phone call, he handed the snake to me so I could continue visiting with this family. “Chuck’s right,” I said. “Snakes don’t make good pets. Maybe when your son is older, if he’s still interested, he could get a corn snake. That’s a good starter animal.”
As the young boy continued eyeing the Rosy Boa, I thought, isn’t he cute! Then I asked him, “Do you know why the snake is sticking his tongue out at you?”
“He’s smelling me,” the boy answered, surprising me with his knowledge.
“Do you know why he’s staring at you?” I asked, offering a tougher question. The boy told me that snakes don’t have eyelids. He knew!
“Snakes are cold blooded,” I said, getting a little more technical. “Do you know what that means?” When the boy gave a good description of its meaning, I finally asked him how old he was.
“I’m six!” he said.
“Wow! Six! You should be a herpetologist when you grow up.”
“That’s what I want to be!” he announced. When I asked him if he knew what a herpetologist does, he said, “He studies reptiles!”
Snakes may not be a wise choice as a pet for most children, but this young person has convinced us that there are exceptions, not to mention the exceptional!