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Madame Curie The Sociable Snake

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Originally, I was going to interview Thomas about his pet parrot Alex.  And then, he mentioned in his email that he has a pet ball python too.  I thought that would be interesting to see a snake up close and outside of its terrarium.

But I also hesitated, even though I know some snakes are non-venomous and kept as pets, I still have that idea that they are deadly.  Movies portray snakes as scary and that they can either kill you with their bite or crush your bones.  I googled “ball python” and watched a couple of videos to prepare myself of what to expect and also alleviate some of that fear of snakes. 

When I got there, I met Alex the parrot  and we talked about him first.  He’s quite a character.  Then, we went upstairs and on the floor was Madame Curie’s terrarium.  She looked slightly bigger that whan I saw on the net. Thomas grabbed her and took her to the bathroom and washed her on the sink.  I was surprised that she did not even react or got angry.  He then put her around his neck and she calmly latched onto him.  We went back downstairs and started the interview.

Where did you get Madame Curie?

When I bought her, it was a store in Connecticut. I was just looking at snakes. I had no intention of buying one. But the store owner gave me one after another baby snakes in my hand. And what ball pythons do is they ball up, hide their head inside their coils. That's a fear reaction. And all of these little babies were so terrified, except one. One explored and sniffed around.

And then two weeks later, I came back to the pet store and had made the decision that I would buy a snake. But it was a different sales person. And so again, she gave me one snake after another and they were all balled up, except for one. She was unfurled and immediately crawled into the arm of my leather jacket and all way up to my shoulder.  And so I said, "She has chosen me.".

Describe her personality.

She's extremely social. She loves people and especially children. There are children here in the condo complex. In the summertime, they'd ring my doorbell and asked me to bring down the snake. And I'll just hand the snake over. She never once coiled up, she's totally unfurled and ready to play with the kids. She has her favorite kid, she'll crawl towards her because she likes her.  

And they ran around and scream, "Can we put her in the car?", "Can we put her on the ground?". And the snake is completely patient and let them do everything with her. My feeling is that she can tell that it's kids.  She's never bitten anybody. They are known to be docile and very good pets.

What surprised me about having a snake is how cuddly she is. She loves being caressed especially behind her non-existing ears.

What's her diet?

She only eats mice that I get at the pet store. She eats once a week, two mice.  I should bring her to my apartment! But she can do six weeks or a couple of months without eating at all. The usual rhythm is eating and going to the bathroom once a week. They can hibernate easily when it gets cold. In the beginning, she just didn't touch anything at all for two months. And I got scared and asked the vet - it was perfectly normal.

Does she shed her skin?

Initially she did it every month. I think it's less frequent now that she is fully grown.

So what made you decide to get a snake?

Snakes are something I was always afraid of.  And then, at some point, somebody in Manhattan put a big snake around my neck. And I was terrified. And he told me, “Listen just caress the snake, the snake is just as nervous as you are.” 

So I started caressing her.  All of a sudden, she started relaxing and started to move.  Just those impulses around my neck felt so good. Ever since then, I wanted a snake.

I finally decided to get one because they don’t smell, they make no noise, and they eat once a week.  They are social and they enjoy it. Cats are more like snakes.


During the interview, Thomas made me touch the snake and it felt cold. Again, she didn’t react. Her skin has a beautiful black, brown and olive pattern. He also offered to put Madame Curie around my neck, but I declined.  I haven’t completely overcome my fear of snakes, but I walked out of there less afraid.  She is very calm, quiet and moves gracefully. Madame Curie is not radioactive and shouldn’t be feared at all.

Name: Madame Curie
Breed: Ball Python
Age: 9 Years Old  (@time of posting)
Gender: Female
Location:   Melrose
The Bronx, NY

Date Posted:  

January 28, 2015

NYC Loves Pets


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