Monday, October 10, 2005

The dearly departed...

Alas, I must report that the mouse passed away. Unknown causes, though it's suspected it caught pneumonia from repeated falling/jumping into the water dish.

Which, since she now has an empty aquarium, what my daughter will wind up with next. She likes snakes, but I'm hoping not one of those. I don't mind snakes, but some of them can be a bit intensive to care for.

Speaking of snakes, the zoo has, along with all the venomous and non, two big ones: an anaconda that's looks about 12-13 feet long, and a reticulated python that dwarfs if. The anaconda is thicker in the body, but the python has to be somewhere betwen 15-20 feet, I think closer to 20. That's one big bunch of scales.

One nice thing about a zoo is you can take kids there and show them things to leave alone, the herpetarium being very good for this("See this one? Stay away from it. Yes, it will bite. Yes, it will hurt. Yes, it will- on second thought reach in there..") When mine were small I'd take the opportunity on every visit to make them look at the venomous snakes found around here. Not that it seemed to take. After the divorce they lived for a couple of years in an apartment with a drainage ditch nearby, where- of course- all the kids played. They'd told me several times about the 'big' snake and the little ones they saw there. I asked what kind it was, and of course the answer was "I don't know". Then one day in early spring I went over to do something and they ran in and told me the big snake was where you could see it from the street, so off we went to a small bridge over the creek. And there, stretched out on a fallen tree limb in the sun, was the biggest copperhead I've ever seen. And scattered nearby on the rocks and sand were a lot of what looked like little copperheads and some water moccasins. Normally, unless they're around the house or too close to a camp I'll leave even venomous snakes alone, but if I'd had a way to I'd have cleaned out that creekbed; the thought of all those kids playing where these lived scared hell out of me. Mind you, it wouldn't have done much good; with all the mice and rats in the area from the apartments and businesses more would have moved in in a short while. So I reminded my kids of the zoo visits, and "Remember the copperhead? Think of it and look at the big one". They weren't exactly bothered("Oh yeah, that's what it is!)

In any case, I'm sure she'll find something else to keep company with the cats and ferrets and dogs.

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