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Posted by MsTT on May 12, 2003 at 22:58:28:
In Reply to: Tired of it, so start swinging posted by snkkpr01 on May 12, 2003 at 21:17:51:
: I just cant understand how you think you are so Fricken high and mighty and I and so many other keepers are so much lower in RANK than you. I dont need your support but I think you need to put others down to feel good about yourself.
I can't speak for everybody, but for me it goes a little like this.
I am a short person with bad knees and Coke bottle thick glasses. My hand-eye coordination is not even good enough to play video games. I am not particularly strong and not at all fast. In fact I'm a bit of a klutz. I am absolutely nobody special and I am quite certain that many stronger, younger and fitter people with better eyesight and coordination could easily surpass my physical abilities in all respects.
This morning I got up, nabbed the new 9' king cobra and a green mamba into transport boxes while I was still yawning, found some coffee and went to the vet clinic. After dinner at home we started on the rehab Eastern diamondback cases, one of which is still on the table behind me being watched to make sure he doesn't regurge his food or medicine. I'm still trying to decide whether to do a fecal wash on the other one tonight.
There is nothing difficult or even exciting about gently and safely moving a venomous snake from wherever it is to wherever you want it to be, and doing any damn thing you want to it in the meantime. This is the ordinary stuff that I get up and do in the morning. Honestly the hardest part is making sure that the snake doesn't get hurt or even too uncomfortable in the process.
I sincerely respect every snake's ability to kill or maim me, and I have no interest in freehandling or doing stupid snake tricks or giving any handling job less than my complete attention. But handling is so natural and easy that I don't consciously think about anything except making sure the snake is as safe and comfortable as possible. Working venomous snakes for me is like a gentle dance where I am moving with my partner, watching carefully for his cues and respecting where he wants to go while leading him around and making sure he doesn't step on my toes. It is rare that I have to move quickly or use force. When I do I know that I have done something wrong and I try to figure out how to avoid those circumstances next time. In general it is a simple and relaxing dance, and the steps are very easy.
There are a few moments which can be a little more exciting than others, but most situations really don't have to be a crisis. As long as you have plenty of space to work in, you can always take two steps back from a situation you have temporarily lost control of. Then you can think about what you did wrong and go in again to get control in a safer way. An angry, hissing, hooding, open mouth striking adult king cobra or a big black mamba trying to fly off your hook to sit on your head are good examples of situations that can still remain a gentle dance as long as you have good safety tools in your hand and all over the room, and enough space to take two steps back.
Now, I hear about perfectly fit, strong young people with 20/20 vision who have to cut pieces out of a snake's head before they feel safe or comfortable handling it. And what do you imagine my opinion is of them? If a feeble old lady like me can bag king cobras before breakfast as a routine household chore, nobody else has a whole lot of excuses to deeply injure and cripple a snake just so they feel safer around it.
If this is you, be ashamed. Or practice until your handling skills get better than a little old lady's. I don't think I'm a better handler than everyone else. I think that everyone else has the ability to become a better handler than me, and I wish they would do that instead of chopping up snakes for fun and shortcuts.