Meet the two newest members of our family. They are ssssimply worth sssssmiling about! Though we certainly didn't need more animals in this zoo we call home, the boys were eager for a snake, and I finally said yes because I'd wanted a snake for a teaching companion when I talk to kids about wildlife. Somehow I managed to bring two snakes home. Don't ask.
And so we have two very young snakes, adorable and loaded with personality.
Morse is the most outgoing and friendly. Just look at that smile!
She is a corn snake, one that is an anerythristic motley (meaning she lacks red pigmentation and has that dotted pattern you see on her dorsal side). She likes to climb and explore, but she is also content to entwine herself through your fingers or to wrap around your wrist until you have a serpentine bracelet.
I say that she's a she, but I really haven't confirmed the gender of either snake. She does seem to taper the way female snakes tend to, but as my friend learned with her Baird's Rat Snake, that is no guarantee (her snake turned out to be a boy despite all indications otherwise).
Morse's name was inspired by the dot-dash-dot pattern that her motley pattern makes.
She, like other corn snakes, is a constrictor. I love how it looks like Morse tied herself in a knot.
Our smaller snake is a rat snake/corn snake hybrid, and his markings are just beautiful. He looks more like snakes you might find in the wild here in Texas, which is why I was so drawn to him. He is younger and smaller than Morse and quite a bit more shy. Poor thing, it took us forever to name him. For the longest time, we had to call him Little No Name, but now he is Walker. An odd name for a snake, you might think, but let me explain.
When I met this little guy, he seemed very frail in my hand, but the folks at the exotic pet store assured me that it was because he was shedding, and shedding snakes are sensitive to being touched. However, at home and post-shed, the little guy still seemed fragile, and on closer observation, I realized that he couldn't grip in his middle section -- I don't know whether he'd been injured at the store or whether he has a spine or nerve issue from his incubation period in the egg.
For Walker, this means two things -- he can't climb well, and he needs extra special care when we hold him so that he doesn't fall.
He's most content staying on the ground, of course, and he moves quite comfortably on a relatively flat surface. And so we named our legless pet Walker, after MUCH deliberation, discussion, voting, and compromise between members of my family. A little bribing might have happened, too -- hey, we know how politics work! For the record, Walker is his last name -- now we're deliberating, discussing, and so forth on the initials that will someday be in front of his name.
Walker is only about 11 inches long right now, compared to Morse's 16 or so inches. But he's a happy eater, and we're giving him a little extra food to help him grow faster. He stubbornly refuses to drink any water, however, at least not in front of me. Morse, on the other hand, likes me to hold her while she lowers her head down to the water's surface and guzzles. The saying "You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink" almost earned Walker the name Horse, but good thing for him we didn't want his name to rhyme with Morse.
Walker is our shy guy. It could be that he's showing his rat snake side (corn snakes are naturally more docile, whereas rat snakes are known for their much more skittish behavior), or it could be that because he is injured he's understandably wary of being handled. In any case, two things are happening already -- a) he's getting stronger, and b) he's getting much more comfortable and trusting. But he'd still prefer to be tucked into a dark little cave (almost earning him the name Tucker or Bear).
Both snakes will peek out of their hiding spots to see what's going on. Above, Walker had hidden himself under a tissue box but couldn't resist looking out. Morse, below, was on her way over to taste the camera, flicking her tongue at it.
Sometimes Morse will stick her head out of the Aspen bedding in their habitat and look like a submarine's periscope, or like the Dianoga in the Star Wars garbage compactor scene.
Now there's a size comparison for you -- these young snakes are itty bitty!
What else can we say about these snakes except that we love them!