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Eighteen years ago…, originally uploaded by EcoSnake.

Eighteen years ago…
a friend found an adult Great Basin gopher snake (Pituophis catenifer deserticola) crossing one of the busiest streets in Boise at 5 pm. The snake must have been living in an adjoinging neighborhood. Since I lived close, he brought the snake to my house. It was obvious she was gravid (going to lay eggs). I set her up with an appropriate “nest” and she laid twelve eggs. Three of the eggs hatched. I watched them all emerge from their eggs. I found a home for one and another died, but this one who I named “#2″ because she was the second one to hatch, I’ve cared for these past eighteen years. Within the past six months she’s shown signs of age including a cataract in one eye and more significantly, a muscular tumor. Recently she has refused food and has also regurgitated food. Sunday I took her to my college workshop to give to Debbie, my veterinarian friend, who had volunteered to lput “#2″ to sleep. When Debbie was ready to leave we opened up the container and discovered “#2″ had defecated indicating her bodly functions are still working and she appeared really alert. I decided to bring her back home where I’ve set her up in a different enclosure with increased heat. She ate a mouse Sunday night and so far has kept it down. Eventually she’ll succomb to the tumor, but if she’ll eat and doesn’t appear to be suffering, I’m happy she’s still with us. Deciding whether or not to put down any animal, especially one you’ve been around for eighteen years is not a good decision. I’m happy she’s still here…Great Basin gopher snake (Pituophis catenifer deserticola) photo by Frank

Posted by Frank - September 21, 2009

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