He Couldn’t Believe It
Thoughts were flooding Ed’s mind as his eyes widened. He couldn’t believe what he was hearing. Cher had been in their family for so many years, but now Ed was forced to reassess every single choice he had ever made in his life.
He didn’t want to think the worst, but he couldn’t help it. Tears were streaming down his face and he couldn’t help but wonder: was he the reason why all of this had happened? He loved his daughter more than he could express in words, she meant everything to him. Ed would never do anything to harm her. His frantic thoughts made his stomach twist into a tight knot.
Emi Taoka was a special little girl. Her mother used to joke and say that she got it from her strange father. Ed Toaka had a bond with his daughter like no other. His protective instincts as a father, however, were not usual.
Most children grow up with fathers who shield them from dangerous situations, but not Ed. He believed that it was vital to teach his daughter how to deal with them. Regrettably, he would grow to regret his unconventional parenting style.
Ed worked as a massage therapist for the majority of his 39 years on earth. He realized that there was something different about Emi. When Emi was a toddler, Ed loved taking her to the zoo. What was interesting was that she never exhibited fear of snakes and spiders. In fact, she was mesmerized by them.
Emi’s interest in snakes grew over the course of the next few years. It became evident to Ed that there was not an ounce of fear in his daughter when it came to snakes. This was confirmed when Emi practically begged her parents for a snake. This put Ed in a difficult position.
It Was Not A Phase
Emi made it very clear that her interest in snakes was not a mere phase. Her passions lay with Albino pythons. She thought they were the most beautiful creatures in the world. Albino pythons are very rare snakes with bright yellow skin.
It warmed his heart seeing how happy his daughter’s interests made her, and because of this, he finally gave in. It was an unconventional decision to let his young daughter have a giant snake as a pet.
Her New Pet
Emi’s pet struck fear in those around her, but she did not care. Cher was her whole world. The pair had an extraordinary bond.
Ed knew that if his daughter was adamant about being around snakes, it was his responsibility to teach her how to treat snakes with the proper care and respect. It has been clear that Emi was not like other little girls, and simply playing with Cher was not good enough for her, so she took things a step further.
Best Of Friends
Fear of snakes is widespread among most people, and the thought of being near one would send shivers down most people’s spines. However, Emi wanted to be as close to Cher as possible. She would spend her days watching television, hugging, and cuddling with Cher.
At some point, Emi asked her father if it would be okay if Cher slept in her bed with her, but the thought of a giant snake next to his daughter made his stomach turn. Emi and Cher were already inseparable, but this request did not sit right with Ed.
He Gives In
Emi refused to let the matter go, and she tried her best to convince her father that everything would be okay. Ed ultimately gave in and let the snake lie in Emi’s bed with her, but only on one condition.
While Dr. James couldn’t talk Emi out of it, he advised Ed to take extra safeguards after consulting a local veterinarian about the matter.
Dr. James advised Ed to place a camera in Emi’s room, which he did. When Ed and his family first started publishing images of Emi’s particular relationship with Cher on social media, they were chastised.
Many people thought he was a terrible father for putting his child in such danger. Regrettably, despite Ed’s indifference to the critiques, they were well-founded.
Things Began Turning Sour
It all started when Cher began to display abnormal behavior. Cher usually enjoyed mealtimes and was content to eat the small mice Ed and Emi provided her.
Ed resorted to looking at the camera footage in an attempt to get answers, but to no avail. Ed and Emi were anxious, believing she was ill. The actuality, on the other hand, was substantially worse.
Dr. James’ analysis was disturbing after taking Cher in for a checkup. He couldn’t discover anything wrong, so he suggested Cher get an ultrasound to see if she had any stomach problems.
Dr. James had a definite opinion after completing the ultrasound. He wished he was wrong because the answer forced Ed and Emi to consider the unfathomable.
Breaking The News
The ultrasound concerned Dr. James greatly. Ed and Emi were initially perplexed when they sat down to hear his decision.
Cher’s insides appeared to be free of any issues or anomalies, according to the ultrasound. It was unheard of for a twelve-foot snake to quit feeding all of a sudden. Because physical injuries or diseases were ruled out, only one horrifying possibility remained.
The Painful Truth
If large snakes stopped eating, there was a simple reason why, explained Dr. James. Large snakes could survive on small meals. However, they preferred larger meals that could keep them sustained for up to a few weeks, depending on the prey’s size.
If Cher wasn’t eating, she was likely saving space in her stomach in anticipation of consuming a large meal soon. It seems Cher had possibly been planning to eat Emi.
It Was Hard To Accept
Emi and Cher had been inseparable since the snake was a baby herself. It was unimaginable to the family that she may have actually been gearing up to eat her best friend.
She was undoubtedly capable as snakes Cher’s size was able to unhinge their jaws and consume prey much larger than themselves. Still, the thought was too horrible to contemplate. Something had to be done immediately.
She Was Heartbroken
Emi was devastated at this development. It wasn’t a conclusive fact that Cher was planning this. Since the risk was too significant, Ed had to take better precautions.
He felt guilty and blamed himself for putting his daughter’s life in danger. Knowing that Emi would never allow Cher to be given away, Ed came up with a different plan.
BFFs For Ever
By installing a large terrarium at home, Emi could keep Cher without any further risk of her being able to harm anyone. Emi is still allowed to carry, pet, and play with Cher but now these activities only happen under supervision.
Despite the way things may have gone, Emi was ultimately able to keep her best friend. The two remain as close as they’ve ever been.
While sleeping with a common domestic pet – like a dog or a cat – in your bed isn’t usually a problem, Joyce Stokes from Florida insisted on sleeping with an unusual bedmate.
She allowed Iggy, her pet python, to sleep with her at night – even allowing it to lie across her entire body. Because snakes are cold-blooded, she assumed it was using her body heat to keep itself warm.
A Special Relationship
Joyce’s pet python had never given her owner any reason to be concerned. To Joyce, they had a special relationship. After all, Joyce had been the one who had hand-raised him when he was just a tiny hatchling.
For years, she had shared her space with him, fed him, and had taken care of him. Surely he wouldn never turn on his owner?
While it’s true that hand-raising an animal helps them imprint on their caregiver and recognize them as their “parent,” there’s a bit of a difference when the pet is a reptile than, say, a puppy or kitten.
Unfortunately for Joyce, she was about to discover this difference firsthand when she noticed something rather alarming about Iggy’s behavior.
Much like Emi’s Cher, Iggy had suddenly stopped eating. The python, who usually had a voracious appetite, started refusing the mice she gave him for no apparent reason.
Joyce’s first assumption was that her beloved pet python was sick – but she should have taken this strange new behavior as the first warning sign.
To The Vet
Although pythons can go for some time without eating in the wild, this was not Iggy’s usual behavior. Joyce, growing increasingly concerned, placed him in a carrier, and went to visit a specialized vet.
The vet checked Izzy’s vitals and informed Joyce that a snake can suddenly stop eating for a number of reasons…
The vet informed Joyce that a snake that won’t eat is usually molting or stressed in some way, but, when he inspected the snake, he determined that he wasn’t molting.
He explained that snakes will refuse food if they feel stressed about their safety or survival. Then, he asked Joyce about the size of Iggy’s terrarium, the type of heat lamp she used.
Joyce told the vet about her snake’s setup – a large terrarium set up in a quiet room with plenty of room to move around.
From what the vet heard, Joyce was doing everything right. But then why was the snake refusing to eat? The vet was dumbfounded. But when Joyce told him what she let her python do at night, he was horrified.
Too Close For Comfort
When the vet asked Joyce how often she handled the pet snake and if it could be contributing to his stress, she confessed that her relationship with Iggy was a lot closer than he realized.
She told him that she’d let Iggy out of his terrarium at night so he could seek out the warmth of her bed.
A Simple Realization
Joyce told the vet how enduring it was when her pet snake lay over her entire body to keep himself warm. But, upon hearing that the woman allowed the enormous python to sleep with her in her bed at night, the vet quickly realized what the problem was.
Although it was something that would never have even occurred to the doting snake-mom, the vet’s answer was absolutely terrifying.
The Horrifying Reason
The vet paused and considered the new information Joyce had given him and suddenly, it dawned on him. The snake’s strange new behavior didn’t mean he was sick or stressed, it was much worse.
He delivered the shocking revelation that there was nothing wrong with Iggy, in fact he was just acting on his instincts.
The vet told Joyce that the python was actually starving himself deliberately. And he had a horrifying reason for this.
Joyce’s eyes grew wide as he explained that, every time the snake “cuddled” against Joyce’s body in her bed, he was actually sizing her up. And the reason the snake was starving himself was too terrible to even contemplate.
You see, the large snake was preparing himself for a large meal. In the wild, large pythons are known to attempt to eat prey much larger than themselves, and they can go a long time without food.
They have been known to eat cattle, other large snakes, and even crocodiles. So, what exactly was Iggy planning to eat?
Preparing To Eat Her
Joyce was in complete shock as the vet revealed his theory as to why Iggy had been refusing food and “snuggling” up next to her at night.
The python was measuring her and starving himself so he had room to eat her while she slept. Of course, Joyce had to stop allowing the snake to sleep in her bed at night. Her life may have depended on it.
Although Joyce loved her pet snake, she had to do something to ensure her own safety. You see, reptiles are not like cats or dogs.
Although snakes can recognize their owners as non-threatening caretakers, they do not have the intellectual capacity to feel affectionate toward their owners. Because snakes are cold-blooded, they act largely on their instincts.
Of course, Iggy was just doing what nature intended him to do. Joyce felt no ill-will against her pet python.
She decided to keep him, but she restricted him to the room with his terrarium – far away from her bedroom. Next time Joyce wants to snuggle with a pet, perhaps she’ll choose a puppy or a kitten.