WARNING! Not For the Faint of Heart!

I’ve been at my new zookeeping job for a little over a week now, and I already have an evening ritual. Every, single night, I come home and kiss my kids, then my husband, and I say “I love my job!” It’s every bit as wonderful as I imagined it would be. It’s just the best.

It has been a transition, for sure. I’m pretty tired when I come home. Apparently staying on my feet and lifting, carrying, hosing, catching things is a lot more physically demanding than sitting on my behind and writing. Who knew? And getting used to the schedule is a challenge. Saturday is my Monday, and Thursday is my Saturday. It’s a little odd. But I love it.

Our department is divided into sections, and I have a section of my own. Let me introduce you to some of the animals in my care. I know we’re not supposed to play favorites, but I do. Want to meet the guy who has my heart? You can click to enlarge.

Trans-Pecos rat snake

Trans-Pecos rat snake. Bogertophis subocularis

I call this guy Nosy or Mr. Peepers. Doesn’t he have the best eyes? He’s one of my favorites because of his personality. Every time I open his enclosure, he’s right there.

“Hey, Miss Heather? What you doing? Did you poop in my cage? No? That was me? Oh, my bad. Sorry! Oh, did I do it again? My bad! What you doing? Can I help? You cleaning? I can get that for you… except I don’t have hands. What you doin’?”

He is without a doubt the nosiest individual I have ever met. And I adore him!

Look at the beads of water on its skin - proof that people are slimier than snakes. We sweat when we get hot. Snake skin is waterproof!

Look at the beads of water on its skin – proof that people are slimier than snakes. We sweat when we get hot. Snake skin is waterproof! Annulated boa – Corallus anulatus


Another favorite of mine is the Chihuahua Mountain kingsnake. I always think of nature as being perfect, but it looks like whoever painted this snake colored outside of the lines!

Chihuahua Mountain kingsnake - Lampropeltis pyromelana knoblochi

Chihuahua Mountain kingsnake – Lampropeltis pyromelana knoblochi


I have more than just snakes. I care for these guys, too.

Puerto Rican Crested toads - Bufo lemur

Puerto Rican Crested toads – Bufo lemur


Look at the snout on that guy! These toads are critically endangered in the wild. I look forward to learning more about them.

It’s time for work now, so I will leave you for now. I’ll be back soon, though! I have a lot more to share with you! What have you been up to?


48 thoughts on “WARNING! Not For the Faint of Heart!

  1. Mr. Peepers! I love him to pieces. His eyes are the best. I want to get him a little pair of glasses. And those toads are fantastic! I don’t think I’ve ever seen toads like that before! So beautiful!

    I am so happy about your job, lady. It makes me so joyous for you. The zoo and the animals are so lucky to have you there!

    • I want to get Mr. Peepers a girlfriend. But he’s an old man. I don’t think it will happen. Maybe one day I’ll get one of my own. Don’t tell husband.

      I feel like the lucky one.

  2. You know, I am NOT a fan of snakes…on a plane or otherwise. I even had a little trouble looking at your pictures. However, your obviously adorable crush on Mr. Peepers made me forget that for a moment. That little narration by him had me giggling! Now that toad…I can get behind him!

  3. I love snakes! Always have always will. As a child the Reptile House of any zoo was the first place I wanted to visit, my mother was stay outside and my father would eventually drag me kicking and screaming out. You are so fortunate, this is so cool.

  4. I will cherish your posts all the more knowing you are more time-crunched and tired. Loving your job means you are one of us rare fortunates in the work world!

    The king snake looks like he’s a zentangle and I’m impressed with your keen observation skills.

  5. Tee hee! I love that you love your job! How beat to get to work with these little beings – and it seems they are friendly too 🙂

    • I used to be completely terrified of snakes. Go figure. But they are SO fascinating! And such different habits and personalities. I laughed til I almost wet myself at one of my woma pythons who decided he needed to eat his rat upside down. I took pictures of his chin.

  6. We love snakes at our house. The rat snakes are especially welcome until they decide chicken eggs are easier to catch than rats. Then they get relocated several acres away. 😦

  7. You do have the best job, I am so jealous. Getting to be around snakes and other reptiles every day sounds much better than being around the two legged ones I work with.

  8. The title of this post had me worried, but I love all the pictures! I am so happy that you are enjoying your new job, and it is bringing you fulfillment all around. The toads are absolutely adorable!

  9. I’m just thrilled this is working out for you! As my late dad used to remind me, You’ll never work a day in your life if you choose something to do that you love!!

  10. I’m not so much a snake person, but your Mr. Peepers does have beautiful eyes. He looks like he is a wise personable fellow. Not sure why he immediately reminded me of Hiss in the animated Robin Hood…

    That toad (almost called him a frog) looks like an interesting kind of guy too! Nice eyes. But I love his nose! (if that is what it is called…)

    Hope you are having tons of fun with your new job!

  11. I read the first line of this post, and I am in love with you already! I need to go back and finish reading this piece, now- What can I do? I just HAD to let you know this!

    A zookeeper. And a blogger? WOW. I am your fan. And envious of you for having my dream job 😉
    Way to go, lady… You rock!

  12. Pingback: The Oblivion of Amphibians | Mostly True Stories of K. Renae P.

  13. Carl Kauffeld’s book “The Keeper and the Kept” has a terrific chapter about his search for the Trans-Pecos Rat Snake. The book is becoming a bit difficult to find, therefore getting expensive, but I would bet one of your co-workers has it. I read it 40 years ago and I was riveted. I bought the book for $8 some years ago. I think I’ll get it out and read it again.

A penny for your thoughts! And by penny, I mean a warm-fuzzy in your heart.

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