In a move that will further complicate my life but make the boys ecstatically happy, we have a houseguest staying with us for the summer. He is twelve years old, and since our house is small and Cody already knows him, he will be bunking in Cody’s room. The weekend before last we went as a family to pick him up. I was apprehensive about this endeavor because we have more than enough going on in our lives as it is without adding to it. To be honest what has been keeping me up at night is that extra mouth to feed. In particular, Bungee’s mouth.
Bungee is a twelve year old corn snake who is used to eating live mice every couple weeks. He is one of Cody’s kindergarten class pets. Every summer Cody’s teacher looks for suckers victims bleeding hearts families who want to keep one of the class pets for the summer. Since I was one of the kindergarten room moms (oh yes I was, and oh no I am so not doing that again) I told her we would take Bungee if no one else wanted him. I felt pretty safe in saying this because she had told me that he is usually the first one to be claimed, being that he is a snake and there is a cool factor involved with that.
The three fish were the first to go followed by Shorty the stumpy legged turtle. Then nothing. She asked again in a general email to all the parents but there were no takers. So it was that on the the first day of summer vacation we found ourselves back at the school getting a lesson in how to feed and care for him.
Corn snakes, sometimes called the red rat snake, are typically found in the eastern parts of the United States. They are usually dark orange or brownish yellow with large splotches of red down their backs. Their underside look like a checkerboard with alternating rows of black and white little squares and they can range in length from two to six feet. They are constrictors. First they bite their pray and then, squeezing them tightly in a warm inviting hug, suffocate them before gulping them down whole.
Bungee is used to being picked up and generally manhandled (or is that kidhandled?) by several dozen adoring five and six year olds. He has never been so rude as to bite or suffocate anyone that is not mouse-like. He is used to the loud chaos that reigns in a kindergarten class. It is all old hat to him and he takes it in stride. He is a gentleman among snakes.
I am not a snake person. They rather freak me out. I am sure I have touched a snake a time or two but have never held one until two weeks ago. And you know what I found out, he is kind of neat. I find myself talking to him in that high pitched sugary voice one reserved for babies and puppies. I have given him nicknames and find myself checking on him multiple times throughout the day worrying if he is warm enough or perhaps too warm. I feel guilt if he is not taken out of his cage and played with on a daily basis.
I think having Bungee as a summer houseguest will be fine. Plus I am scoring huge cool- mom points with the boys. I will be feeding him for the first time in the next day or two so I reserve the right to change my story about how nice it is to have him around. I will let you know how things go (don’t worry there will be no picture of him eating, I promise.)