All About Marie

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Animal Files columnist of the Orange County Register; Emmy Award winning producer of Educational Television Programming; Host of "The Pet Place Radio Show" heard world-wide at www.blogtalkradio.com/petplace; click the player below to listen. Producer/Director/Editor of "The Pet Place TV Show" during the 18 years it ran on KDOC TV in Los Angeles and Orange Counties; Wife, Mother of five kids, Grandmother of one baby boy, and pet parent of three cats, two dogs, and a cockatoo.

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Monday, January 26, 2015

Lost Pet Snake


Dear Marie,
Our 13-year-old son has a pet snake that disappeared over the holidays. We think one of the relatives didn't close the top of his tank properly and out he (the snake) went when no one was looking. We've had this snake for three years now and all of us are just heartbroken. The snake is a ball python and is about two feet long. Do you have any suggestions for finding a lost snake???? The snake’s tank is in my son’s room and we have searched in every nook and cranny there trying to find him.
Emily

Dear Emily,
Unless your doors were left open for extended periods of time, and I doubt that was the case considering the cold weather we've been having, I would bet that your snake is still somewhere in the house. Still, it wouldn't hurt to start posting signs and going door to door passing out flyers in your neighborhood. Unfortunately, most people are not as enthusiastic about snakes as you are.

If your snake shows up at the home of someone who has not been informed of its pet status, it may be in for trouble. Shovels and other household tools are frequently used as a defense against harmless snakes because the general public lacks understanding and knowledge about these animals. There is a baseless fear of snakes that permeates the minds of most people and leads them to overreact to the presence of one of these spectacular reptiles.

You should also check with your local animal care and control authority as well as nearby veterinarians just in case your snake was found by a good citizen and turned in. It wouldn't hurt to fax flyers regarding your lost snake to these offices as well. Many animal shelters have lost and found boards where you flyer may be posted.

Of course as I stated, your snake is probably hiding somewhere in your house. Since this is winter and he will likely be very cold, he will want to find as warm a spot as possible to coil up and sleep. There are endless possibilities for beginning your search, but I would use this opportunity as a chance to get your spring-cleaning done early.

Begin in your son’s room. Take everything out of the closet and check all bundles of clothes for your snoozing snake. If your son is anything like the average 13-year-old, I suspect his closet is a major disaster area. You may not need to go any further after tidying up this spot.

But, if your pet isn’t there, carefully move your son’s bedroom furniture, especially if there is any open space at the bottom. For example, is his chest of drawers is not flush with the ground or if it does not fit tightly against the wall, have two people pick it up and move it, being careful not to drag the heavy item at any time.

Another favorite spot for snakes is under beds or in mattresses, particularly box springs with a lot of accessible filling material for warmth and insulation. To examine the bed, begin by taking the top mattress off and then remove the box spring, turning it upside down for careful examination. You will probably need to cut off the cloth covering the bottom if there are any torn or open areas or you will not be able to adequately search the spring region.

Once you are certain he is not in the bed, check boxes and clothes that may have been stored under the bed.

Sorry to say that you will need to repeat this regimen in each room of the house. Check couches, cabinets, stereos, under and behind refrigerators and other appliances, heater vents, and any other accessible location. I am hoping your search will be successful in your son’s room, but if not, don’t give up. Your snake will resurface.

If careful searching yields no results, place bowls of water in as many rooms of the house as possible, and purchase a few extra hot rocks, plugging them in at strategic locations. Eventually, your snake will seek out the water and the comfort of the heat.
Good luck.

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