‘Rollo’ the snake (April07)

My children seem to have a social life to rival Paris Hilton. I simply have to arrange how they get to and from friends house and how many I need to cater for at home. Picking up Rollo, my middle son, a few days ago, I learnt that he wanted to get a snake as a pet – a corn snake to be precise. This is not so surprising because the friend he had been staying with had not only got one but christened it ‘Rollo’.

Rollo (my son, not the snake) told me that corn snakes are very easy to look after – you just have to keep a few dead mice in your freezer. As further persuasion he said that if we went away for a long period of time, we could just put the snake in the fridge, where apparently it can survive for at least 2 months – presumably hibernating. Rollo was rather baffled by my lack of enthusiasm for storing mice in my freezer. And he wasn’t the least bit interested in my query about the conservation merits of owning a snake.

This reminded me of my honeymoon in Madagascar. A highlight of our three week holiday was a trip to a reptile farm with a wonderful array of multi-coloured frogs, snakes and – best of all – chameleons. But we weren’t so impressed to discover that this out of the way tourist attraction was also the largest illegal reptile exporter in the country, contributing to the demise of many already endangered species.

Anyone with any specific information on the conservation merits of corn snakes, let me know. I’m suspicious that it may not be such a good thing. There’s also the extra energy that would be needed in keeping a snake house warm – particularly since our house is often pretty cold in the winter months….

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