[EasternBox Turtle] [Ball Python]

Mae says, "My food!  Go away!"     This is Mae.  She's an Eastern Box Turtle I rescued while she was heading for a busy four-lane road in 1993.  I estimated her to be about seven years old at the time, putting her into her twenties today.  Chances are her habitat was disturbed by nearby construction.  The direction she was headed wouldn't have provided a better habitat with food and water.  Therefore, I decided to keep her.  She lives in a large, heated vivarium with bark mulch or aspen shaving and a wading area.  She occasionally roams the house.  

Mae in the sunshine...    In the photo above, Mae was hungry and had come out of hiding for food.  She found the cats' food dish and decided she'd have a little taste.  Callie was eating and attempted to defend her dish, but Mae eventually had her way.  Cookie always stays clear of Mae (smart cat,since rocks aren't supposed to move).  Although Mae looks huge, her shell is less than five inches long.  Callie was only eight weeks old then; but she's still no match for Mae.  She, too, plays it safe around the"possessed rock."  Click here to see more photos of Mae.  

Pretzel catching some heat at night...    This is my Ball Python, "Pretzel."  He comes out at night to warm up under the heat lamp.  Since reptiles need to thermoregulate, he has hiding areas on opposite ends of his tank.  One side is heated, the other is room temperature.  He moves back and forth as he desires.  Ball pythons do not normally climb.  But this log gives him something to rub on, especially when he's slothing.  Ball pythons are nocturnal.  He's usually out between 10pm and 3am.  Ball Pythons are extremely misunderstood.  They're very shy and docile, spending most of their days hiding - then roaming at night.  They're nearly defenseless, even against the rodents they eat.  They're named for the fact that they curl up into a ball when frightened.  Like an ostrich, Ball Pythons cover their heads until their threat goes away.  Pretzel has grown to about five feet.

    I picked up Pretzel in December 1999.  The store owner told me he was captive-bred  (CB) and about six months old.  I've since learned that Pretzel was probably two-to-four years old and wild caught, unless he had been in captivity his whole life.  His markings aren't as sharp as most CBs and he has a couple of small battle scars from rodents that apparently fought back.  Although I sometimes feed him live mice to awaken his appretite in the Spring, I normally feed him prekilled medium-sized rats.

    I house him in 65-gallon Lizard Lounge, an enclosed glass tank with several round vents. Click here if you'd like to see more photos of Pretzel, including several ofhim at meal time.  There's even a 6MB video of him snaring a rat.  Finally, here are a couple of links to learn more about Ball Pythons.  The first is for a breeder. The second is to a page about the most frequent cause of snake bites: STUPID FEEDING ERRORS (SFEs).

 The Snake Keeper - A great source of captive breed Ball Pythons, including morphs.  There's also a lot of Ball Python care information here, including an FAQ section.        

VisitMELISSA KAPLAN'S HERP CARE PAGE for VERY comprehensive information about how to keep various reptiles as pets.


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