Odd memories 22, Storytime 23

Now I’m a little annoyed with myself, because I had this image in the folder last week, and could have run it then so the Odd Memories and Storytime numbers coincided, but didn’t even think about using both titles. Too late now.

And I now note that it was taken May 22, 2005, and we could have celebrated the 14th anniversary by posting it a couple weeks back, had I been paying attention to that. Just slacking off royally on the meaningless connection angle, here.

I was working for an animal shelter but had the day off when I got called at home with an odd little story. It was Sunday, so Animal Control wasn’t on duty, and the local sheriff’s department were investigating an abandoned car that turned out to have been stolen from another state. Within the trunk was a large storage bin, and on opening the bin they had been greeted with an exotic snake better than two meters in length. The bin was hastily closed again and taped shut, and transported to our shelter. That particular day, the staff there had no experience with snakes, and so I was called, to determine the species and re-house it into something more appropriate. I was unavailable until evening, so I ended up letting myself into the shelter after it closed to go see what we had.

The bin had been taped shut with perhaps half a roll of duct tape – the officers were taking no chances. Cutting it away and slowly opening the top with the snake tongs handy, I was greeted by a somnolent amelanistic Burmese python (Python bivittatus,) a fairly popular species among snake aficionados, bred to have a mottled lemon-yellow coloration. After initial tests to see if it was hungry (it wasn’t) and used to handling (it was,) I scoured the premises to see what we might have to house it within. My only choice was a humane trap intended for medium-to-large dogs, since it was the only thing with small enough mesh or openings to prevent the passage of the snake’s head; in most cases, if the snake can get its head through, it can squeeze through its body, or at least attempt it.

Working alone, I had a devil of a time locking open the door of the trap so it wouldn’t slam shut as I was placing the snake within, but the python itself was more than cooperative. I’d had the forethought to take my camera along, and wielded the remote as I lifted its bulk from the bin.

The author about to be consumed by an amelanistic Burmese python Python bivittatus
My grimace was only mugging for the camera, as the snake turned to face me – it wasn’t that heavy, nor the least inclined to make a meal of me, and transferred into the trap in short order. Within the bin were a few rags and towels, but nothing else, so I got a large dish of water and placed that into the trap too. A day or so later, we obtained a very large aquarium from someone and procured some food for our specimen.

The original owner of the car where the python had been found denied having a snake of any kind, so it likely belonged to the person that stole the car, and the police were quite interested in anyone that might come calling to claim our saffron serpent. Meanwhile, the following day I was removing the bedding from the bin and found an old sock that was suspiciously heavy and blocky, the reason being that it concealed a large box of .357 cartridges. We contacted the sheriff’s department and offered to let them interrogate the snake, but they were somehow only interested in the ammo.

Eventually, the python found a new home, one that did not involve being transported in storage bins nor being displayed to drug buyers, and presumably managed to turn its life around and start contributing to society in a meaningful way. That’s what I like to tell myself, anyway.