As Pepi settled into his daily and nightly routines, he also, had to adapt to the continual new additions to my wildlife family .A collection of animals and reptiles , which were rapidly colonizing my bedroom.
Even though I was only 7 years old, my greatest wish was to own a snake.I constantly pleaded with my parents for months, until I think they finally relented just to get some peace.In a nearby Pet dealer’s store window was the most beautiful reptile I had ever seen. It was a Green tree snake, an incredible combination of iridescent green, aqua, and yellow colourings, blended subtly along it’s thin whip like body.
Every Saturday morning I’d ride my bike as fast as I could peddle 2 kilometres to the Pet shop, hoping my intended snake hadn’t been sold in the preceding week.On finally reaching the shop, I’d breathe out a huge sigh of relief as I ran passed the owner and saw the snake was still there, contentedly basking on a wooden branch under a heat lamp.
Little did I know, but my mother had already paid for the snake and arranged with the Pet shop owner to hold on to it for a couple of weeks until my upcoming eighth birthday.
Of course, I was overwhelmed with excitement and somewhat disbelief when on my birthday, I carefully unwrapped a huge box, to find curled up in the bottom corner, the Green Tree Snake.
Green Tree Snakes, although not venomous, are not a python which constricts it’s prey but, are a very nervy, active ,agile snake, which primarily feeds on small freshwater fish and frogs.
Prior to me opening the box, Pepi had awoken from his morning sleep and had resumed his favourite position of sitting on my shoulder, where he gently nibbled my ear and chewed my hair.
His relaxation was very short lived!
In all the excitement of opening presents, no one had considered the reaction of Pepi’s first sighting of a snake in his house. Panic, panic! His instinctive response was to leap off my shoulder at break neck speed and rapidly scramble and claw his way up the lounge room curtains until he could climb no further.There he hung, petrified.
The Green Tree Snake, which had momentarily been forgotten about, also took flight and shot out of the box and zipped off across the floor at a supersonic rate, seeking to escape the mayhem.Unfortunately for my mother, the snake headed straight towards her and the open door. Inadvertantly, her quick response in closing the door as she made a quick exit, contained the startled animals and me in the room.
With Pepi safely perched upon the curtain rail and nowhere to go, it was up to me to retrieve my wayward birthday present. The Green Tree Snake had by now disappeared and I hadn’t a clue where he had gone.Eventually, after several anxious minutes,I discovered him woven through the back and workings of the television set. After grabbing his tail, I was finally, slowly able to extricate him from where he thought he was safe from little boys prying eyes.
Very upset at his break for freedom being thwarted, the snake soon settled down after being introduced to his new glass fronted, heated aquarium. Pepi on the otherhand, was totally out of control, jumping from curtain to couch to curtain again, every time I tried to grab him. By now he had turned the whole episode into a game and was only going to be caught when it suited Pepi. Sultanas were his downfall. He could not resist them and soon he was safely tucked away back in bed, wondering if maybe it had all been a terrible nightmare.
From that day on, I made a special point of never having the two together again, a move which I am sure Pepi fully endorsed.
“Keep an eye out for all the incredible things around which Nature has to show us.” The Wildlife Wanderer.