I need to work out how to deal with this anorexic snake. I’ve got enough going on without having to cope with a snake that won’t eat. I’m worried for him.
I’ve just picked him up from his temporary snakesitter. Tomorrow he goes back into his glass vivarium on Parliament Hill in Hampstead, darling. Maybe just in time for pub quiz at The Garden Gate. But I tried him on a mouse today.
The mouse comes in a packet. The packet has nutritional values. It contains one entire being, now deceased. But on the packet you are informed that it is 21% protein, 9% crude oil and fats, 67% moisture.
If you were in a packet the packet would say much the same. Humbling. But we are missing 3% of the ingredients. What’s missing?
3% God? 3% the love we have left behind? 3% shit, bones and yesterday’s lunch? 3% splinters and dead skin? 3% leftover technology from the alien abduction? 3% tiger? 3% coward? 3% liar? 3% hero?
It’s quite a high percentage unaccounted for…
You tear open the packet like tearing the top of a pack of Waitrose quinoa. Inside is a very dead mouse. It’s eyes are weird. It’s curled up. It’s sad and it’s strange and it smells of mouse in a way that you always knew mouse smelt even though you never knew you always knew how mouse smells.
NOT FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION the packet reminds us. Useful, in case you stagger in drunk, open the freezer and think it’s some sort of fluffy lollipop. It isn’t appetising. I try to dangle it temptingly by the tail. I give it a voice for a while. “Yummy yummy yummy,” I say, thoughtlessly puppeting the frozen then defrosted remains of a euthanised rodent. I try not to imagine some giant doing the same with my corpse to a disinterested kraken, as is inevitably happening in a parallel universe right now.
Hex doesn’t want the mouse. I had defrosted it overnight. I had warmed it up in running hot water. I had puppeted it valiantly to an almost pointed lack of interest from Hex. So I left it there for him to find and I went to work.
He found it in the day, but he rejected it. I got home and it had moved, head a bit crushed and bloody but clearly rejected for food. Regurgitated. After a day at room temperature I discarded the poor thing.
I’m thinking it might be a bad batch of mice.
I’ve taken him in because his keeper has not been able to get him to eat for almost 3 months and the owner is a friend on a long trip away. My first attempt to feed him has landed in failure, although he’s still in his travel vivarium which might be affecting his mood.
Tomorrow he’ll be home. I’ll go to the pet shop for a fresh dead being. I’ll puppet it for him again in the hopes he strikes it. I might take advice from the pet shop as to how to guarantee he takes it. I’m not letting another whole mouse go to waste and I don’t want this strange predatory reptile to starve. If a snake can have a personality he has one, in terms of predictable behavioural patterns and an unwillingness to bite or constrict anything. He’s the king of the Royal Pythons. He’s a wuss of a snake.
I think – I hope – that he’s sulking because he’s not in his happy home. I have a strong feeling that tomorrow evening he’ll sort himself out and get some yummy mouse down his craw.
But with eating disorders you’ve just got to give time and love and consistency. Even with snakes. He’s just as mobile and curious as ever and his scales are good. He’s clearly just in a weird headspace. We’ve all been there. Hopefully I can help him find the mouse at the end of the tunnel. Silly old scaly idiot.