Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Just in case the title of this post has left you in any doubt -- I would like to take this opportunity to inform you that this is a post about SNAKES. There will be pictures of SNAKES in it. Real ones. If pictures of SNAKES make you feel icky and/or freaked out, then it's time to click on over to a small fluffy animal blog or something.

You have been warned.

OK, so you might have noticed that there are no snakes in the above picture. Don't bother looking either, it isn't a "Where's Waldo the Snake" picture. (Unless the snake guy didn't take them all with him when he left, and I'm pretty sure that he did. But, if Max turns up missing any time soon, then maybe I should check under the couch. But I digress...) That's the adorable birthday girl, above. The one who loves snakes, and reptiles, and yes, amphibians. She is a fan of all things scaly and slithery and tadpole-y. So, when we were at the Carp Fair last year, and Leah saw that there was a Little Ray's Reptile Zoo tent there, she was mesmerized by the snakes. She found out that they did birthday parties, and it was game over. We were having a Snake Party!

Children were invited:

And a few adults were too:

(You didn't think I'd let this opportunity to quote from Snakes on a Plane go by without taking advantage of it, didja?)

Pizza was ordered, the room was decorated, and the cat was locked in my ensuite bathroom to avoid inadvertently becoming snake chow.

I can't say enough about Kevin and the show he put on with the snakes. He was so good with the kids, he remembered all their names, was so patient with all their questions, and really, really knew his stuff. It wasn't just letting the kids pet the snakes, no, he started with North American snakes, and then South American, African etc. He explained what kind of snake each was, where it comes from, what it eats, how big it gets, etc., etc. He also brought a monitor lizard and a cayman. The kids were spellbound. It was fun and educational and way cool. Here are a few of the 50 or so pictures I took:

A teeny tiny Rubber Boa, native to BC. Who knew we had boas in Canada?

It looks like a Rattlesnake, but it isn't, it's a harmless Bullsnake.

The monitor lizard had very sharp claws.

The Yellow Anaconda was my favourite snake, it's just beautiful. And heavy.

The cayman was pretty laid-back. I'm thinking crocodillian valium. He did have his snout taped shut (avoiding his nostrils) just to ensure that there were no nasty missing-finger issues.

Then violently and without warning, the house was tipped on its side and screaming children slid down the suddenly inclined walls to fall in a giant heap while Kevin valiantly used a hook to keep the Reticulated Python pinned to the once-floor and now-wall so that it wouldn't be flung down on the unsuspecting kiddies!!! (No, not really. For some reason I can't get this photo to come out in the correct orientation. I've rotated and saved it about 50 times on my hard drive to no avail, but my explanation is way better, I think. Just tilt your head.)

That snake (Reticulated Python) was voted Most Likely to Eat Someone, as it was not a happy camper and lunged at Kevin. No petting was allowed, and it was sent to its box without any supper.

And then came the big boy. Or big girl, actually. I think her name was Pebbles. Yes, I had a 12-foot Boa Constrictor in my living room. How incredibly cool was that?

Check out the size of her! She's huge. And gentle. She seemed to like all the petting.

After we said goodbye to Kevin and the reptiles, and everyone washed their hands, it was pizza and cake time.

I don't think any of the kids is going to forget the party anytime soon. Samuel L. Jackson would have been proud.


  1. You know, that was a great party and Leah will always remenber!

    Snakes...glad he collected them all and took them home.

  2. That's awesome. Was it expensive? There is a little reptile zoo not far from us and the kids love it....I'd love to do a party like that for the boy when he's a bit bigger. (The girl likes the reptiles, but she likes princesses more.)

  3. Well, I'm glad everyone washed their hands before eating!

    Kudos to you for being such a cool mom.

  4. your girls are so pretty! leah looks so relaxed and content with all those snakes around her. good call on the party. you can organize gracie's next year.
    "...and then the room tilted..." HA!

  5. You get major Cool Points, but how many moms totally freaked on you?

  6. Ok. Despite my extreme discomfort around these types of things, I looked, well scanned. The kids are happy. You're writing this. Sounds like every one survived.

    How'd the Ninja cat react after wards? Could he tell something else had been there?

  7. Awesome party Alison. Are you the coolest Mom or what?!

  8. Maybe the reticulated python could smell the cat...

    You are one really really brave mom. Me, I'd still be in therapy.

  9. that's just wrong. i am so afraid of snakes. like truly afraid.

  10. That is just way too cool.

    Years ago, our then-15-year-old was into reptiles, and his second snake was a 6 foot long Burmese Python. (who a year later was lost inside the house for 3 weeks, and we had to cancel all overnights, but that is a different story).

    Anyway, the girls who I think were 9 and 11 at the time, decided that the python needed a ride from the far end of the house into the family room. I remember being in the (small) kitchen as they marched through: about a foot of tongue-flickering python first, then girl #1 with python on her left shoulder, then 3 more feet of python, then girl #2 with python on her right shoulder, then 2 more feet of python tail. I wish I had a picture.

    Girl #1 went on to be a cop, and girl #2 is a princess, but they are still not afraid of snakes. Which is kind of neat.

  11. That's really cool - and I loved the room tilting!

  12. Very cool. But, where is the picture of you with a snake wrapped around your neck?

  13. that just totally kicked my kid's bowling party's ass.

  14. Natalie2:23 PM

    I was there, and I'm just so impressed that you remember the names of all the critters. Apart from the lizard and cayman (because there was only one of each) and the yellow anaconda (because it was yellow) I would have totally flunked a "name the beast in this picture" test.

    Thanks for inviting me! (Or wait...did I invite myself?) It was way cool. Made adult birthday parties seem so dull...

  15. Yuck yuck yuck yuck!!! But you are awesome for giving her that party. Go you!

    For a minute I thought you were going to write about a snake in your garden or something!

  16. Anonymous6:01 PM

    I'm glad everyone washed their hands before eating. Thank you for mentioning that. Reptiles are riddles with salmonellosis. It wouldn't have spoiled the party of course, but may have put a damper on upcoming playdates.

  17. That's it! *stamps foot* We are so doing Little Rays for the next round of birthday parties. (Thankfully, 11 months hence.) We've been to the museum and enjoyed the exhibits at the fairs, but it never even occured to me to have them for the birthday parties! (FWIW, bowling was a blast. I highly recommend that one, and it only cost $150 or so for 9 kids at Merivale Bowling.)

    The sideways pic made me laugh out loud, by the way. There are gremlins in the system everywhere today. I've never fought Word formatting so valiantly and so unsuccessfully as I have today!

  18. You are brave! I am the snake catcher around here, everyone else, including Hus, screams like a little girl if they see one in the yard.(Or in the living room, which happened last summer)