9.18.2012

The Circle of Life (and one disgusting curve)

This post is disgusting and yet fascinating.  If you are at all squeamish, you might want to pass.   For me, I was torn between "I can't stomach this" and "I just have to see it."  The human brain is an all-over-the-map organ.  I can only believe God knows what He's doing.

Our daughter is a religion teacher.  She used to teach chemistry and other sciences, so she has this unique perspective of bringing science and God together.  Which is very nice these days, when many think the two are incompatible.

This year, she has a snake in her classroom.  His name is Eddie.  He's pretty, as snakes go.  He was given to our girl by another teacher who was over the snake thing.  Our daughter (the science teacher part) is fascinated by Eddie.  Her religion teacher part loves him, because he's a living creature that God made.  I remind her that, in the Garden of Eden, the snake was a problem.  She dismisses that.  She's the religion teacher, so she probably knows more than I do.  
 

The students think Eddie is cool.

I don't get it.  Eddie is nocturnal and hides under a big saucer all day.  If you happen to catch him awake, and you hold him, he likes to slither around your body, seeking warmth.  This creeps me out.

He's not a dangerous snake, but you do have to keep him away from your neck, in case he decides to squeeze too hard.  This is not reassuring to me.  He's not poisonous, so if he bites, you won't die.  I don't find this reassuring either. 

Every two weeks, Eddie must be fed.  Here's the disgusting part: he eats only live mice.  If they're dead, he won't take them.  Apparently, he wants only fresh kill.  And he kills them.  He strangles them first (by squeezing) and then swallows them whole.  I warned you this post was disgusting.  And I have pictures.

I accompanied our daughter to feed Eddie this weekend.  We bought two feeder mice (can you imagine this being your identity?) from the exotic pet store, and then drove to the school.  The mice were in a little cage inside a blue bag.  Neither one of us wanted to see them, knowing what we knew.  We did not want to become attached.  It's disturbing knowing you are taking two animals to their death.  The circle of life, I kept repeating to myself.   Snakes have to eat something

Unless there were no snakes.  Then mice could live.  They could have their own goals and adventures and not just be food for reptiles.  Why couldn't it be like that?  I don't know.  Maybe the world would be overrun with mice if snakes didn't eat them.  I wonder what mice eat.  I know they don't eat cockroaches, because we have way too many of them.  I digress.

At the school, the religion teacher dumped the mice into the snake pit.  They ran around sniffing everything, thinking they had just moved into a new home and had many happy years there.  They were happy for about five minutes.


That's when Eddie snaked out from under his saucer and began to hunt.  Smelling his prey, he was fast.  This picture shows him catching one mouse.  He's moving so fast, his skin is a solid line.


The mouse in the foreground has no idea what just happened to his buddy.  The mouse Eddie captured went to mouse heaven in about thirty seconds.  We didn't watch that part.

Once Eddie's dinner was still, I got this picture. 



Eddie ate the mouse head first.  I can't imagine what difference it makes, but apparently there is snake etiquette.   If you're still with me at this point, the next two pictures are the worst.  But fascinating, if you like this kind of stuff.




Yep, that's the tail making its way in. 

Repeat with me....it's the circle of life.  It's the circle of life

I know, it doesn't really help, but it's all I've got.

My daughter reminded me that people eat things that were alive once too...fish, cows, chickens, ducks, frogs, octopus and such.  I really don't want to think about it.  I, personally, just eat salmon and butternut squash.  And brownies.  I don't think anything dies so I can eat brownies.

If you've reached this point in this post, you are to be commended.  I gagged a few times writing it.

Isn't science fascinating?  The religion teacher thinks so.

What do you think? 

29 comments:

ROBIN said...

ahem, i stayed with you til the bitter end (or maybe not-so-bitter. I guess you'd have to ask the snake.) That was gross, I'll give you that! LOL

I am reading this post as my husband and I are deciding on what to have for supper..... now I have no appetite.... LOL
thanks Mare!
very interesting. Thanks for sharing!

Retired Knitter said...

Wow, what a great post! I was glued to the computer screen. I know exactly what you are saying ... didn't want to see but I had to see! I am not a fan of snakes AT ALL! But I know they have to eat. And I laughed right out loud when you asked me to repeat "circle of life" ... I am still laughing.

But truthfully, this is why I don't watch the Discovery Channel. I can't stand watching the big cat drag down and kill the innocent little whatever. And I LOVE cats. But I prefer to think that the big cats mosey over to their owners house and eat fresh meat out of a big cat dish!

:-)

Chatty Crone said...

I stayed with you. I know the story. But yuck!

Mari said...

I knew what was coming...but I still had to look. I'm not a fan of mice, but snakes are worse. Very interesting though, in a disgusting sort of way!

Anne said...

Hi, Mare! I actually kind of like mice AND snakes, but the snakes we had occasionally when Jonathan was small, were small themselves and ate crickets. I'm like you ~ I could eat fish (but, the fish have to die ~ :(...) and veggies. And, brownies are a nice, no-death choice, as well.
It's the same fascination that I had "feeding" grasshoppers to the absolutley HUGE black and yellow garden spiders that made their webs all over our farm when I was little...I was entranced with seeing the spiders "wrap them up" (for later), though I was absolutley petrified of the spiders ~ (still am)...:)
Hugs,
Anne

That corgi :) said...

Stayed to the bitter end. I remember years ago when I worked for a cardiologist having to go to the pet store to buy mice so his kids could take them into school the next day to feed the snake. Not a fan of mice, when I got the mice from the pet store in the box they put them in, I put the box in the trunk LOL and drove it back to the office that way (a mere 5 minutes away). I also remember one day when I was real young, my mom going out to the garage to do laundry and seeing a white rat in there. She was kind of surprised by it all only to find out the next door neighbors had a boa constrictor that eats rats and that rat happened to get out before it was time to be fed. It is interesting. I'm thinking she feeds the snake on the weekend so that the students don't see that part?

Very fascinating though!

betty

Shelly said...

Wow- trhat's one of those things I didn't want to see, but couldn't look away. You're right- it's the divine circle of life, designed by God, and it's worked since the beginning of creation. Your daughter is brave...

Janice's footsteps said...

we donate are snack to the science teacher last year, I had him for 22 years, I got him for my oldest son when he was 4 7 the snake was 8 weeks old. He wanted a gecko but the price tag on those was way to high and I was concerned he would de-leg them (he had priors with salamanders) so we went with this pretty ball python and Angus has been part of the life process for 22 years my son didn't have room for him when he moved to college so we were going to inherit him back we asked the teacher if she would like a part time pet & she was thrilled, the feeding was a huge drama event when my kids were little I could only feed him when they were away at their dads on weekends due to the tears and begging to keep the cute, poor little mice that were snake food. But when done in the class room setting it really benefits so many kids who would never get to see the circle of life and all God's creatures serve purposes even if the slither and give so many the creeps. Love the photos you took some great shots.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Fascinating, in a disgusting kinda way. My brother breeds snakes, and I know he buys mice to feed them, but I've never watched the feeding process before. Don't think I want to, either.

Renae said...

A aa aaaa aaah (teeny, shaky, giggles) that was quite the post, Mare. (sighing) I had to read it out loud to my husband that just came into the room as I saw the snake. He is fascinated with animals and I don't like snakes or mice but have seen way too many in my day to be squeamish. Ya, circle of life can be a merry go round of dizzying proportions. congrats at getting the post into a post for your audience. But next time omit the swallowed mouse pic (urgh) LOL

Marianne said...

I totally looked despite being a wimpitty-wimp-wimp. Fascinating. And the postjust kept me away from the Oreos I was heading for. Much obliged.

Lea said...

My cousin own snakes. Like really big ones. That mouse is unfortunate to be in the lower bracket of the food chain.

Joyce said...

This made me think of my 6th grade science class. All the students would be marched into the science teacher's room to witness mealtime for his boa constrictor. The image has stayed with me some 40 years later. I understand the food chain, just don't want to see it in action : )

Fran@Broken Cookies Don't Count said...

Ok, Mare...Your daughter can never, EVER doubt that you love here after you accompanied her to feed the snake. That's all I have to say!!!

Dana said...

I looked, but once I realized what was going on, I admit that I ran--far! LOL

Rebecca Jo said...

& once again, that just reminds me why I'm a vegetarian...

poor little mice :(

I'm a little faint now...dizzy.. spinning...

Craziness abounds said...

Ew I used to volunteer at the zoo and we had to feed the snake bunnies.. It always made me sick.

Creations By Cindy said...

Okay...I stayed till the last word and picture! And you are right...disgusting! Hugs and blessings, Cindy

Tamera Brose said...

:)

Funny in My Mind said...

Gross. I abhor snakes.

Emmy said...

Oh yes I would not want to watch that at all! Snakes creep me out

Jo-Anne Meadows said...

Yes this was fasanating and gross at the same time I am not a fan of snakes they give me the greeps.....

Jen Forbes said...

Very interesting Mare and a bit yucky but not terribly so.

Maybe because I'm not a big fan of rodents or snakes.

SweetMarie said...

Poor mice! I could never do it!

Farida said...

My brother was once fond of snakes and I helped him take care of it... poor mice, hehehe but I'm sure Eddie was happy :)

Misha Gericke said...

I didn't look at the pictures, because both snakes and mice freak me out.

I will say this, though, I grew up on a farm, so I often ate things my father killed/had someons else kill.

:-)

Cindy Dwyer said...

Mare, I get it 100%. My son has a tiny Green snake that eats live crickets. That's as much as we knew we could tolerate watching.

My college roommate's boyfriend had a constrictor. He bought a mouse, but the snake wasn't quite ready to feed. Then Ms. Mouse had BABY mice. As a college boy, his first thought was, "Cool, I can save a few bucks not having to buy mice for a while."

Next thing you knew, he'd grown attached and rescued them all before his snake ate them.

Rita said...

I used to work in pet shops so I've seen this before. What's a lot worse is having to feed live baby mice to small snakes. The Circle of Life can be hard to stomach!

You really shouldn't put two mice in the aquarium, though, unless you know the snake will eat them both one right after the other, which is unlikely. Mice have been known to gnaw on a well-fed snake. Mice will eat almost anything. ;)

Just A Normal Mom said...

It's the circle of life.

I stayed with you to the end.

It's the circle of life.

I'm still repeating.

But yes, science is fascinating and this stuff happens in nature all the time. We just don't usually facilitate it. And we are human, so we have all this emotional stuff that comes with feeding live creatures to other live creatures.

I think.

It's the circle of life.

:)