Pulse - August 2021 - 4

PULSE PERSPECTIVE
RMCNV@YAHOO.COM
SERPENTINE TALES
uly 16, 2021 was World Snake Day. I did not know that. I was quite surprised and pleased when it just popped
upon my Facebook page. Ever since I was little, I have had a fascination with snakes. I always wanted to have
one as a pet, but of course my mom (I guess like most moms of little boys), would not give me permission. So,
for my first snake, it had to be a secret.
One day, when I was about 10 years old, I found a small, dark
looking snake in the garden. Not knowing whether it was venomous
or not (and I took a chance that it was not given that I was
living in the middle of the city), I placed my handkerchief over it,
wrapped it up and took it inside the house. I made a small terrarium
for it using a large glass mayonnaise jar that I found. I filled the
bottom with some sand and soil, placed a twig inside, poked holes
in the cover with a nail and viola, a homemade terrarium. Sadly, it
only lived for a week. I knew that snakes were cold-blooded and
needed warmth. So, with a 10-year old child's logic, I placed the jar
on the windowsill to get some sun since I thought it was cold. When
I got back from school later that day, I found him dead. I did not
know what happened back then but in hindsight, I believe I cause
his death by overheating. His body went into a shallow grave that I
made in the backyard without my mom ever knowing.
In college, I had another chance to own a snake. The back of the
apartment where I lived with 3 other classmates had a river beside a
densely wooded area. One day after a particularly rainy night, I found
a 3-foot snake in the back patio. It must have been washed out and
deposited there by the rain. I immediately grabbed it behind the head
and deposited it into our small empty broom closet where I knew
it could not escape. After doing a bit of research, I figured out that it
was a reticulated python. And he was mean. They are really known to
be very hard to handle and tame especially wild-caught. He would
try to strike whenever I would attempt to hold him. He would not
eat either live or dead prey. After a month of trying, I just decided to
release him back into the jungle and wished him the best.
As a vet, I had the opportunity to do a health check on some
miniature horses owned by a person who was building a zoo. After
checking them out, he took me on a tour of his facility and of
course, I was very interested in his reptile house. By chance he
happened to have recently had a clutch of albino Burmese pythons
and seeing that I very excited to see them, he graciously gave me
one. I did not give it a second thought and accepted it. Back in the
car, I was suddenly struck with the realization that I had nowhere
to keep it. At that time, I was living in my mother-in-law's house
along with my wife and son. And she also did not like snakes. I
managed to sneak it into the house, set up a proper terrarium (I
was a vet now and knew what to do), and keep it in the attic. All
was well for around a year.
Then I got interviewed on the radio for some topic which I now
cannot recall. During the interview, I was asked about what pets I
had and silly me, I completely forgot about Jake (the snake) being a
complete secret and told everybody on air about him. Of course, the
whole family was listening in. When I got home later that day, I had to
'fess up about the secret in the attic. Thankfully I did not get thrown
out by my mother-in-law. She saw that Jake was a sweet boy, had an
escape-proof (very important to her) enclosure, and was even actually
capable of being handled by my then 5-year old son. She agreed to
let me keep him with some restrictions. As the years passed, Jake was
4
a constant attraction
at the birthday parties
we would have
and was always a
great topic of conversation.
Sadly, I
could not take him
to the States with
me. I adopted him
out to a friend who
promised to take
good care of him. I
was told that he is
now around 8-10
feet long and as
thick as my thigh.
But still very gentle
and good natured.
Nowadays, I am the proud owner of 3 ball pythons named
Crawley, Sneaky, and Ivory. All of them came from the shelter. And
by happenstance, all are female. They happily live in the garage
with all the amenities they could wish for. Heat during winter,
fans during summer, a moist humid environment, hides and clutter
to keep them stress free. They get fed regularly, have their habitat
temperatures and humidity monitored 24 hours, and taken out
at least once a week to enjoy the outdoors. I must keep them in
the garage though because sometimes, some guests would refuse
to enter the house if they knew I had snakes. I also needed to
have a separate freezer for their frozen rats because for some logic
unbeknownst to me, my wife says it is not good to keep the rats
and our food in one freezer. I guess she knows best.
My daughter also seems to have caught the snake fever and
wanted one for her own. I bought a ball python for her last year to
keep her company at school. She named him Mango. Mango has
travelled to and from Davis several times. She always brings him
with her when she comes for visits and vacations. I have already
put together a habitat for him here at home so that my daughter
does not need to keep bringing hers each time.
Reptiles live for a very long time. I have no doubt that properly
cared for, my pets will likely outlive me (especially my tortoises). I
am content to know that caring for snakes is now a popular hobby
and with my daughter around, there will always be someone to take
over and care for them when I am gone. In the meantime, I just
have to be sure that I keep my will strong every time I visit a Reptile
Fair and avoid the temptation to keep adding to my menagerie.
Happy World Snake Day, everybody!
Raymond De Villa, DVM
SCVMA President
AUGUST 2021
PULSE
J

Pulse - August 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pulse - August 2021

August 2021
Chapter Meetings & Calendar
President’s Perspective
Pulsepoints
SCVMA Profile
Everybody’s Hiring... or Trying To
Practical Pathology
Medical Leeway
UC Davis Update
Tools for Success
Angel Fund
Dear Tabby
The RVT
Industry Insights
Quick Reference
AVMA Diplomates
Digital Photography for Veterinarians
Resources
Disease Table
From the SCVMA Office
Pulse - August 2021 - August 2021
Pulse - August 2021 - Cover2
Pulse - August 2021 - 1
Pulse - August 2021 - 2
Pulse - August 2021 - Chapter Meetings & Calendar
Pulse - August 2021 - President’s Perspective
Pulse - August 2021 - Pulsepoints
Pulse - August 2021 - 6
Pulse - August 2021 - 7
Pulse - August 2021 - 8
Pulse - August 2021 - 9
Pulse - August 2021 - SCVMA Profile
Pulse - August 2021 - 11
Pulse - August 2021 - Everybody’s Hiring... or Trying To
Pulse - August 2021 - 13
Pulse - August 2021 - 14
Pulse - August 2021 - 15
Pulse - August 2021 - Practical Pathology
Pulse - August 2021 - Medical Leeway
Pulse - August 2021 - UC Davis Update
Pulse - August 2021 - Tools for Success
Pulse - August 2021 - Angel Fund
Pulse - August 2021 - Dear Tabby
Pulse - August 2021 - The RVT
Pulse - August 2021 - Industry Insights
Pulse - August 2021 - AVMA Diplomates
Pulse - August 2021 - Digital Photography for Veterinarians
Pulse - August 2021 - 26
Pulse - August 2021 - 27
Pulse - August 2021 - 28
Pulse - August 2021 - Resources
Pulse - August 2021 - Disease Table
Pulse - August 2021 - 31
Pulse - August 2021 - 32
Pulse - August 2021 - 33
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Pulse - August 2021 - From the SCVMA Office
Pulse - August 2021 - Cover3
Pulse - August 2021 - Cover4
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