Ah, How Cute!
by Tina Blue
December 20, 2000
When my friend Jim had to go to Saudi Arabia during the Gulf War, I arranged to have another friend, a herpetologist named Randy, take care of his boa constrictor Ralph while he was gone.
Randy cranked up the heat in his apartment to keep Ralph nice and warm and, incidentally, active, since snakes are more interesting when they move around. He "snake-proofed" his apartment, and frequently let Ralph have the run of the place.
One day, Randy was taking a late-afternoon nap. At six-foot-four, Randy often extends beyond the edge of his bed. On this occasion, one of his legs hung over the side of the bed, with his foot just a few inches off the floor.
Ralph was on the move that day. As snakes naturally are, Ralph is attracted to anything warm, and the human body gives off a fair amount of heat. When he came to Randy's foot, Ralph used it to get a leg up, as it were. He joined Randy on the bed, coiling himself in a pile on the back of Randy's thighs and on the small of his back.
Now, Ralph was nine feet long and weighed 65 pounds. I'm sure that Randy would have noticed his visitor, except that at that time he was getting so little sleep that when he did manage to take a nap, almost nothing could wake him.
You know how when you fall asleep on your stomach and wake up to find your cat all snuggled up on the back of your legs, you think, "Ah, how cute!"
Well, when Randy finally woke up later that afternoon, that was precisely his reaction: How cute!
I think so, too, but I suspect that a lot of people would consider it something quite other than "cute" to awaken to a nine-foot boa constrictor coiled on top of their back and legs.