Timeless Spirit Logo ARTICLE

A Spiritually Enlightening Online Magazine. March's Theme: "Pets"
Volume 4 Issue 3 ISSN# 1708-3265
Index Meet Our Staff Free Subscription Donations Come Shopping Advertising Archived Issues


Rauri Goes To Camp Hiss ~n~ Slither!
by Joanna Franchino

This is a story about one snake and his very special time with us. It's bittersweet because we always knew he was ours for only a time and would move to his forever home someday. That's part of doing snake rescue… sometimes the best part because you know they are wanted in their new homes… but also the worst when you have to say goodbye.

Rauri who is a common boa aka Colombian Boa (Boa Constrictor Imperator) came to our home in the fall of 2005. He was at the time about 2 years old and 5.5 feet in length. He had been owned by a pet store employee who was not particularily good to him. Rauri had suffered through RI's (respirtory infection) with no medical care given, was often dumped in the pet store and finally was sold to a young girl who'd never owned a snake, not even a small cornsnake. We were asked to step in and try to help this owner handle a snake who was clearly more than she could or should handle as a first snake experience.

Despite almost daily phone advice and many trips to her home poor Rauri was soon in trouble. He became almost black with stress, we couldn't even see his lovely saddles anymore. He had the start of a bad belly rot because he was kept incorrectly and our advice on his care ignored. Rauri needed out and we persuaded his new owner to release him to us as a rescue. Even with all this poor care Rauri came to us a calm, accepting creature. All the days of treating his belly which must have caused him pain he never once struck at us. Eventually he healed beautifully without so much as a scar.

Through all this a caring friend who is also a vet tech was in constant contact with us. She expressed her deep wish to give this lovely, big snake a forever home with her in Texas. We spent the next 10 months sharing our lives with Rauri and growing to love this big, gentle yet incredibly powerful snake. Rauri found a place in the heart of everyone in our family and there were many tears when finally he headed off by plane to Texas and his new family.

Through his winter with us, in an attempt to keep Becky his new owner connected to him and well, just for fun (winter in Michigan can be very long and very boring), I started a "Letter Home From Camp" thread on a herp forum we are both members of.

Dear Rauri's Mom:

Your snake son is doing real well at camp. I do need to tell you though, sadly Rauri has failed his "Pet Keeping Badge" miserably (after many attempts I might add). He seems to like bunnies however is a tad too errrrr… physically affectionate with them… the bunnies don't last long Ma'am!

Rauri has, in his time with us earned the following badges:

  • Got My Skin Off All By Myself Badge
  • Best Hide N Seeker Badge
  • Fastest Dash Under The Couch Badge

He continues his interest in sports, however, I must warn you he is now a confirmed Detroit Red Wings fan so therefore you might want to consider this in planning his home activities. He is known however to lay upon the remote and suddenly switch off the television during critical moments. (The Camp Director was NOT pleased!)

Also, and this is a rather delicate matter, his personal hygiene habits may need to be addressed. It's not that he "goes" all that often but we at the Camp do find an upwind approach is best as well as the classic "dash, grab, dispose" method. I'm sure you'll speak to Rauri on this matter as watching the Director gag and go green isn't terribly nice (though it's freakin' funny!)

Best regards,
Activities Director
Camp Hiss ~n~ Slither

Hello Momma, Hello Poppa…
Here I am at Camp, I eat a lotta…
Weather's chilly, bunnies taste yum…
Under the couch, I found some stuck gum…

We watch hockey…
I like the Red Wings…
Mike yells too loud…
Makes my ears ring… (wait I have no ears!)

I learned some cuss words…
I think refs suck…
I want to eat them…
But they will get stuck…

Jojo spoils me…
Very rotten…
But I can't wait…
To meet my Momma!

Love, Rauri the Boa *snakey kisses*

Dear Momma Becky,

Today was Arts & Crafts day here at Camp. All the other snakes made really nifty lucky rabbit's foot key chains.

I *burp* did try, really I *burp* did!


Rauri the well fed boa

Dear Rauri, my sweet snakey son,

It is quite alright you don't earn your "Bunny Keychain Crafting Badge". You still have all of the athletic badges to collect!

I know Camp food can be icky sometimes, but it seems we picked a good Camp for you to spend time at. Bunnies are part of a well-balanced snakey diet, as you know. I think it's a waste to just make the bunny into a keychain, so good job making better use of it.

Have fun playing hide and seek in your bedding!

Becky, your Texan snakey mom.

Dear Momma Becky,

Tonight was sports night here at Camp! I got to wear the best leather Red Wings cap because I'm the only snake around here smart enough to appreciate hockey (possibly also because the other snakes would just hide in it anyways… dumb royals!!!).

The Wings lost and I learned six new swear words! Activities Director Jo is NOT impressed.

I love watching the game with Camp Director Mike…

I have my own jersey number! (The number 18 [or 81 depending on how I am laying at the time] is within my pattern.) Apparently it was there all the time but some humans just can't see what's in front of their faces.

Well that's all from Camp tonight. I'm going to curl up in my tank and practise my cuss words… 'cause there's another game on Sunday!

Snakey kisses…

Dear Momma Becky,

Today was a funny day at Camp! Mike and Jo fussed over me and Jo got wet stuff in her eyes? Humans are strange! I don't think I like the idea of going in a pillowcase but they said it was for the best. I tried hard to get back out and they had to keep stuffing parts of me in… THAT WAS SUPER FUN!!!!

Camp was fun but I am glad to be coming home to you finally. Jo said you have yummy stuff for me to eat and I like to eat! I got my "Good Behaved Snake Badge" and my "Biggest Poop in the House Badge" while at Camp. I never did get my "Pet Keepers Badge"… those darn bunnies, rats and guinea pigs aren't real hardy critters… you give em a nice hug and dang… they fall over dead on you every time!

See you on Tuesday Momma Becky, I'm 6.5 feet long now! I'm finally coming home to be a real Texas snake… YEEEEEEEE~~~HISSSSSSSSSSSSSS~~~~HAWWWWW

So this is Rauri's story and also a plea to you. Please make responsible choices in the snakes (or pets for that matter) you purchase, there is a right snake out there for you if you do the research first. If you can help rescue snakes who need help, please do… there are nowhere near enough reptile rescues out there. Every captive snake deserves the best from the humans who choose to keep it.

The exciting ending to Rauri's story is recently it was discovered Rauri is actually a female. There was always some question in the probing as male and "his" size was a bit large for a male of his age so we suggested his new owner have "him" resexed. Rauri has now been renamed Sonja and is happily enjoying her new home. Her owner is keeping us updated regularly with stories and pictures of this lovely big female BCI.

A special thanks to both Joanna and Sonja's new Mom, Becky for these wonderful pics!

Joanna is the busy, happy mother of four kids (three teens and a 5 year old) and wife to Mike. They share their lives with 14 snakes of varied species, 1 lizard, 1 fish, 60 or so breeder/feeder rats and mice and 1 goofy puppy.

Copyright (c) 2007 by Timeless Spirit Magazine. All articles are the copyright of the particular writers and cannot be reprinted without their expressed permission. All rights reserved. International copyright laws prohibit reproduction of or distribution of this page by any means whatsoever, electronic or otherwise, without first obtaining the written permission of the copyright holder. We retain legal counsel to protect our copyrights.

Any advice given is for informational purposes only.