Timeless Spirit Logo ARTICLE

A Spiritually Enlightening Online Magazine. September's Theme: "Opening"
Volume 3 Issue 6 ISSN# 1708-3265
Index Meet Our Staff Free Subscription Donations Come Shopping Advertising Archived Issues


Animal Rescue
by Lynn Whipple

Some people consider me pretty strange and there are good reasons for it - I am fairly strange as far as the norm goes. One of the behaviours people find the most bizarre is my love of the serpent. That's right… I'm a snake lover. In fact, I have started my own snake rescue operation, right out of my tiny apartment. It isn't much - a rack of six tubs only big enough to hold snakes who are no longer than six feet. But the creatures it holds are some of the bravest, sweetest, and most amazing individuals I've ever had the pleasure to meet.

Snakes are some of the most misunderstood - and, therefore, some of the most hated - animals on the planet. While some people can grow to appreciate their deadly beauty, their evolved efficiency, few ever really grow to love them. Nature has made them the perfect cold-blooded hunter. They run on instinct; they don't have the capability to feel emotion, to return the love a person may give them. Because of this, few of those who do take them into their homes actually provide proper care for the animals, or have a deep affection for them. Many of the animals sold in the pet trade will not be properly cared for because they are sold to people who buy them because it's cool and different, or to parents who give in to childish whims. These people have no idea of what to do to keep the snakes happy and healthy. And, when the poor thing falls ill, it is hardly ever taken to a vet. After all, money is tight, and the snake doesn't feel anything. One can always buy another snake later!

So, this is where I come in. So far I've taken in four unwanted snakes who were abused, not fed properly and uncared for. Perhaps my most amazing case is Kinky, the adult female Boa Constrictor. A full six feet of deformed spine, this critter is scared to death to be picked up. She squirms and grips your hands tightly, as if terrified you are going to throw her away. She tangles herself up so completely it sometimes takes her ten minutes to untangle herself when you do set her down. It takes her three times longer to eat than a normal snake. But she has never hissed, never attempted to strike, and is happiest when allowed to simply curl up in a warm lap and fall asleep. She has the sweetest attitude of any animal I've ever met - and growing up on a farm, I met quite a few - but, because someone failed in their duty to care for her, she will never be normal. She will never be able to hunt a live rat, never be able to pass on her beauty to a squirming mass of babies. The human race has failed her once, and I doubt she will ever forget it.

I took Kinky to the vet soon after I received her because I noticed her wheezing a bit. The vet said the wheezing was probably caused by the number of kinks in her spine, and her lungs aren't situated like a normal snake's. When I asked how she could have ended up with the number of kinks she had, he told me her mother had either been handled roughly or dropped while she was gravid (pregnant), or Kinky herself had been mishandled, dropped or possibly thrown when she was very young, most likely just after birth when her bones were still young and pliable.

I have taken Kinky into a few classes, to teach children about the care and responsibility it takes to love a snake, to show the consequences if that care is not taken. It is amazing to see the change in people. At first, they may be afraid, unwilling to touch the soft, dry skin. But the more I talk, the more questions are asked and the more myths dispelled, the more they see just how much of a sweetie Kinky truly is and the braver they get. You can almost see it: a light goes on behind their eyes. They tentatively reach out their hands, at first only brushing her scales with their fingers tips, flinching back, touching again, eventually laying their palm out and rubbing over the bumps and lumps along her back in awe. And, while they may leave the room still afraid of snakes they see by the side of the road, they leave the room with respect for snakes who, as a creature can hurt, can feel pain and hunger and can be loved.

It's quite an experience to witness this change, and something I have grown to enjoy very much. Maybe I too, got into snakes at first because they were cool and different, but somewhere along the way, I began seeing them for the amazing, personable creatures they truly are. I want other people to see this, and I hope to continue to open the eyes of the unknowing and the uncaring. Education is the only way the abuse will end. Call me strange… but I've changed the lives of four snakes, and even if I never change another, it will have been well worth the effort.

My name is Lynn Whipple, and I am currently located in Columbus, Ohio.

I am attending classes at The Ohio State University and will be graduating in December of 2006 with a BA in English, Creative Writing, and a minor in Aviation Business. When I'm not in class, I work part time at CVS Pharmacy, and part time at The Honors and Scholars Center on campus. I also run a snake rescue and relocation out of my apartment. I take in snakes six feet and under who are looking for a home. I am hoping to start breeding crested geckos. I currently have three snakes, one gecko, and one very fat cat. If you have any questions or comments or know of a snake looking for a home you can contact me via email or visit my website: Buckeye Gecko today!

Copyright (c) 2006 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.