Snakes usually hide under rocks or logs in the wild. But Sammie the snake has a very unusual place that makes her feel at home. This little girl likes to rest in areas where snakes are normally not found.
Vivien Leanne is a pianist and music teacher in Suffolk, England. When she met Sammie, the woman had no plans to adopt a snake. She already had a bearded dragon called Kit and two ancient tortoises at home. So bringing home another reptile wasn’t really on her mind.
However, on a lunch break one day, Vivien was walking down some unfamiliar streets when she came across a pet shop in trouble. Most of the tanks were empty, but something inside the shop caught her eye. A tiny albino corn snake with red eyes and pink scales drew her near.
“A local pet shop went bankrupt and all these tiny snakes desperately needed homes,” Leanne said. “She was really too young to be sold and the first few weeks she got used to being pampered nonstop.”
The first weeks were hard, but the snake started growing stronger under the woman’s care. She eventually proved to be the perfect late-night companion for the busy lady. “I got Sammie when I started my master’s degree, as I needed something to cuddle while I studied,” Leanne said. “She’s nocturnal and it was so comforting when I was studying all night to have someone to talk to.”
Sammie likes safe and secure hiding places. However, as you can see, some of them are more convenient for Leanne than others.
“She likes curling up under my hair and napping (so does Kit),” Leanne said, “but I have to be careful, as one time she actually tangled herself into my braids and refused to budge!”
Sometimes, the snake even disappears inside mom’s long, thick hair. Since it is such a good hiding place, she even joins her mom for work occasionally. “I’ve taught whole piano lessons with the student unaware that there’s a little scaly friend lurking on my shoulder,” Leanne said.
Hiding under her owner’s hair is her favorite thing to do, however, Sammie has found somewhere else even more convenient – a birdhouse.
“Originally the birdhouse was for my bearded dragon Kit. He’s just grown old enough to have his first ever brumation [winter hibernation] and he was a bit unsure how to make himself hide. He kept getting wedged against the tank or burying himself under his water dish and getting soggy and annoyed, and a grumpy sleepy lizard isn’t the best company,” Leanne said.
Vivien saw the birdhouse when she was out shopping.
“[I] figured if I took the base off it and sanded it down, it was about the right size and I could spy on him through the peephole (as brumation is also a scary time for lizard owners),” Leanne added. “I smoothed down the edges and lined it with his favorite blanket, and he snuggled right down and slept for two months solid.”
Kit woke up from his hibernation filled with vigor, and the woman decided to see if her snake would like a turn.
At the time, Leanne had no idea how much Sammie would love it. “I scrubbed it out and this time filled it with substrate straw so she could dig her way into it and ‘discover’ this cozy little cave with its own little peeking hole,” Leanne said. “She loves it to bits.”
The birdhouse is now a favorite amongst everyone in her home.
“A lot of store-bought reptile hides are designed to hide them, but feel artificial or thin,” Leanne said. “Kit often falls asleep hugging a branch because he likes to sink his claws in; I think the birdhouse has the same kind of sensation and also the wood absorbs heat during the day, which any reptile approves of. Cardboard doesn’t do that, and plastic doesn’t feel natural to them.”
The snake loves burrowing under the birdhouse, hiding herself completely for some alone time.”Sam has always had wooden hides like hollowed-out tree branches, but I think she prefers the fact that the birdhouse is designed to be sheltering and she can hide completely if she wants to” Leanne said.
However, her reptile brother isn’t very fond of Sammie’s infatuation with the birdhouse.
“Kit is sulking,” Leanne noted. “I may have to get another birdhouse so next year they don’t have to share!”
Kit is forced to share his favorite spot for the time being, however, he has lots of comfortable places to relax on. “In the summer, he has a deck chair and a hammock, as it’s important to keep cool,” Leanne said, “and have a space for one’s teddy.”
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