As one of the vets performed the ultrasound on the python, his face betrayed his concern to the others gathered around. She wondered what they were seeing that made their foreheads crease into frowns.
She began worrying for her precious baby.
Mel had always been labeled as ‘odd’. Hey, if she wanted to tattoo most of her body, whose business was that? If she wanted to go crazy with piercings, so what? If she wanted a 7-foot long python as pet, who was to judge?
A snake was perfect for her small house. It didn’t need much looking after, and didn’t yap the whole day like her neighbor’s little dog. And it hadn’t bothered anyone yet.
No one understood the special relationship she had with Fang. He’d come into her life at just the right time, and she’d been taking great care of him.
Some people may think it’s creepy or downright terrifying to own a snake as pet, but Mel had never experienced any problems – Fang had never once attempted to harm her or any of her visitors. If her neighbors would just stop nagging with their unnecessary warnings!
Mel had always kept her python in a vivarium with heat lamp, as is usual for pets of the reptilian kind. But lately she’d been feeling lonely and decided to take the relationship one step further.
She really felt they could bond more. It didn’t seem like her neighbor bonded very well with her dog, letting it sleep outside every night. Which gave Mel an idea…
She let the snake curl up with her in bed – it was wonderful! Fang cuddled up against her, and later sprawled out across her body. Of course, he wasn’t warm and furry, but his finely scaled body was comforting in a way.
The python seemed to enjoy his new sleeping quarters, so Mel made it a nightly habit. From her head to her toes he would slither, and curl around her legs. Did he watch over her while she slept?
One night, a little after 2 a.m., Mel woke to an empty bed. She was so groggy (the neighbor’s dog had kept her up with its incessant barking) that she immediately fell back asleep. Fang was probably on the floor.
In the morning, just as she thought, the snake was back on the bed, twirled around her legs as usual. She later prepared his meal, but he didn’t seem very hungry.
The entire day, Fang stayed on her bed and refused to eat. He also seemed more agitated than usual, particularly when Mel tried moving him back to the vivarium. She wondered if he was just moody – or sick?
She noticed he was looking a bit odd. Something was off. Was it her imagination, or had he somehow changed in size overnight?
The following day, the situation remained unchanged and Mel was beginning to worry. She decided to take the snake to the veterinarian. There was definitely something wrong with her precious baby.
The group of vets questioned her about the python’s sudden unusual behavior as one of them began an external examination. They believed the best course of action would be to take an ultrasound of the snake’s belly – perhaps it had eaten something out of the ordinary.
During the ultrasound, one vet’s forehead creased into a frown and looked at the others gathered around – which made Mel’s heart skip a beat. What were they seeing? What is that bad?
One vet asked her a series of questions about the snake, including about its feeding and sleeping habits. That’s when Mel revealed her and Fang’s nightly bonding ritual. Then the vet showed her the ultrasound, and Mel couldn’t understand what she was seeing.
The snake’s belly was absolutely empty! So, what was the problem? The vet asked Mel if the python usually sprawled out along her body and curled up around her while she lay on the bed. Well, yes, she confirmed.
The vet explained that Fang had intentionally stopped eating. Not because he was feeling ill, but because he was preparing to consume a large meal.
Snakes often feed on animals that are way larger than themselves, thanks to their ability to unhinge their jaws. By sprawling out beside Mel, the python had actually been ‘sizing’ her up: in essence, practicing how he would approach his next big meal.
Fang had been patiently waiting until the perfect moment to snatch his prey – in this case, the unwitting Mel.
Sitting there in the treatment room, Mel had to absorb everything the vet had just told her. A chill went down her spine as she realized her beloved Fang might very well have been preparing to eat her while she slept.
To think that she had taken their closeness as bonding. To think that she had wondered if the snake was watching over her during the night. He had been watching, indeed. Watching and waiting for his next prey!
Still in shock, Mel returned home with her pet python. She immediately placed him where he belonged: in the vivarium with its tight-fitting seal, far away from her bedroom.
She still loved Fang very much, and still believed snakes could make wonderful pets. But she’d have to be more careful and responsible from now on to avoid any danger. Her neighbors had been right, after all.
Mel endured the told-you-so’s from those neighbors after she had told them about her close call with the python. She was just so relieved to have escaped a gruesome death.
She shared her story on social media, in the hopes that other snake lovers would learn from her mistake and be more cautious about where they kept their slithering pets. It could happen to any unsuspecting snake owner.
Mel still wondered what she would’ve done if Fang had begun attacking her in the middle of the night. Would she have been able to escape? How would she have felt, being turned upon by her own precious pet?
Sure, it’s fine to keep a snake as pet – it’s beautiful, mysterious, fascinating. But would you let it sleep in your bed?