Anyone keeping snakes?
As many of you are already aware, I keep snakes (yes, they are all alive). This is a hobby that I have participated in since 1961 NON-STOP! Long story short: I was like the kid that had to tie a pork-chop around his neck to get attention from his dog...
My brother was excellent at sports - which my Dad was very proud of. David excelled at any sport, baseball, football, basketball, softball, soccer, rugby, golf and even horseshoes! He could learn a new sport very quickly and become a top player. He is also an avid hunter and fisherman.
I, on the other hand; didn't even qualify for Water-Boy. Since I had tried the pork-chop trick and it didn't distract our Dad from David's excellence in sports, I felt very much in need of some way to have something in common with our Dad. I later learned that our Dad had taken an interest in snakes as a teenager, so I suddenly took an interest in snakes in order to get his attention. David stayed-away from the snakes. This was good for me.
Now, 52 years later; I have a lot of experience with snakes and other reptiles. I finished my short college career in 1971 and applied for a job at the Atlanta Zoo - to work in the Reptile Building. I got the job and became a professional reptile keeper at age 17. This, however; brought with it several problems. One of these problems was that Zoo policy and Worker's Compensation Regulations prevented persons under 18 from working with the venomous snakes and lizards. With a full, thick beard (since age 15), I looked older and this disappointed the "higher-ups" at the Zoo. The rules simply didn't want me to get a fatal snakebite, but seemed to completely ignore the fact that I was left working with Crocodilians. Certainly, the "Crocks" were non-venomous, but nothing was mentioned about working with animals that could (in a couple of cases) swallow me whole! It only took about 6 months for me to see that working with hungry animals that thought of me as a "snack food" could shorten my career!
Well, this story could go-on to be a full book of interesting experiences, but I will now change into the purpose of this thread:
A few years ago, I decided to build some extra-nice, super-efficient, built-in cages in the basement of our new home. Previously, I had a miscellany of styles of cages, as my collection of snakes had reached a population of 135 specimens. I had 3- employees whose sole jobs were taking care of these snakes. Joy and I were in full-travel mode, and I was running a super successful business with dependable key employees who kept it running like a well-oiled machine. It was soon discovered that I had a form of cancer called "melanoma". Melanoma brought me to a screaching halt - but only temporarily for about a year. I had several surgeries and now, several years later have a "clean bill of health" - for which I am very thankful. The travelling slowed to a crawl, and Joy became increasingly handicapped (she has Sjogren's), so I downsized the collection to about 60 of the legless critters.
In 2006, I began the built-in cage building process. During this process I decided to change the style of doors to be fitted for these cages. My original design called for sliding-glass doors, but I decided that I wanted something more innovative, so I came-up with a design that I've now had in-use for several years and I could not be more pleased with. We have daily guests (often groups) that view the snake collection. Many of these guests come to see, handle and photograph a few of the super-rare snakes which reside in our collection. A very good (teacher) friend was recently visiting from Savannah, Georgia and brought with him a car-load of teenage "star students" who had a keen interest in visiting. This friend is about to endeavor a build of a similar magnitude and wanted me to give him information on the construction. I made some sketches for him and they are attached herein:
I honestly do not know if any of the readers will have any interest in this subject matter, so if anyone wishes; I can post additional info or photos.
Otis Guillebeau from Auburn, Georgia
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