So Your Kid Wants a Pet Snake

So Your Kid Wants a Pet Snake

This is definitely not what I pictured as my debut article for New Orleans Mom. I also realize that this topic may be very niche. But timing is everything, and moms of NOLA, do I have a story for you.

The story dates back to when my oldest daughter was three years old, and her preschool teacher brought her pet snake for the class to hold. While some kids cowered in a corner, my kid reached for the snake and immediately wrapped it around her neck and looked into the camera with bright happy eyes. She had no fear, and I was proud of this moment, as any parent might be. 

Fast forward about four years, that one day turned our household into the ultimate reptile obsession, whether we wanted it or not. We had reptile themed birthdays, we watched snake Youtube videos before bed, and we were bombarded with questions and demands for our own pet snake. My husband and I laughed it off for a couple years, assuming it was just a phase. However, when she was seven years old and still talked about getting a pet snake on the daily, we decided that maybe we were hindering her from her passion.

We asked the reptile guy who did her fifth birthday party what a great starter snake would be and where we could buy one. He sent us to 50 Fathoms in Metairie, where we got our very first Albino Rosy Boa: Alex. Alex was a beautiful cream and orange color. Our criteria for a snake was that it would stay small and would not be aggressive. It was the day before Christmas Eve 2022 when we picked him up as a surprise Christmas gift. When I asked how old the snake was, the store owner said he was three months old. Aw, how cute a baby snake.

We very blindly went into this not even really knowing what to expect or how to even handle or feed a snake. In fact, the night we got him, I looked up to see how long a snake lives and I nearly spit out my water. Rosy Boa’s can live to be 30 years old in captivity. Let me repeat: 30 years. It was the family’s very first pet and it looks like my daughter would be taking Alex to college. Both of our daughters fell in love and played with Alex everyday. They read to him, sang to him, watched TV with him, brought him to friends’ houses, etc.

In spring 2024, my youngest daughter was playing with Alex in the snake room (our sun room) when she forgot that she was playing with him. Allegedly he slithered through the couch cushions and she couldn’t find him later. She also forgot to mention any of this for several days. See, the thing about snakes that I actually love is that they are silent animals. They don’t bark to tell you they’re hungry or have been left outside. As an often overstimulated parent, this was a perk until this very moment. Alex was missing. This nearly sent my oldest daughter into oblivion. She cried herself to sleep for days, which turned into weeks, which then turned into months. It was pretty clear we might not ever find Alex again. 

It was mid July and we had just returned from vacationing in the northeast, and we only had four days until we were traveling again. Within those four days of being home, our neighbor sent us a 2 AM text that he thinks he found our pet. He sent a photo of Alex on his outside gate’s door knob. We couldn’t believe it. How did Alex survive the wild for three months? What was my 80 year old neighbor doing outside at 2 AM? I can’t tell you. But, our daughters were ecstatic and we were a bit relieved as well. I can’t even tell you how many times I checked my bed before hopping in, or even looked inside my shoes before sticking my foot in.

School was back in session and all was going well. Alex was still being played with and eating regularly, and everyone was being super careful. 

Then, one day in late September my husband forgot to put the locks on the lid of the enclosure. That very night, Alex escaped once again. But, if you ask my husband, there’s no way he can escape through the lid, that’s just imposssssible. My daughter was devastated and wouldn’t speak to my husband for days. She began crying herself to sleep again. You see, this snake was her everything. The way you care for your Shih Tzu is how she cared for this Rosy Boa. People would tell her all kinds of stories about how they found a dead snake in their yard, or say ‘well it’s probably better off as food for a bird.’ People have a certain feeling for snakes, and it’s usually pretty negative. These comments truly affected her, to the point where she would regularly speak to the school counselor during that fall. My husband felt so badly for his mistake that he ended up gifting her a new Rosy Boa for her birthday in February. 

Biggie B was the newest family member and had seemed to settle in pretty well. He was orange and dark gray colored. When my youngest daughter first met Biggie, she asked “Oh! Is that Alex? He’s dirty!” This comment made us giggle and Biggie B had his first nickname: Dirty Alex. This snake’s personality was a bit different than Alex. He was much bigger, and liked to only eat by himself when no one was watching. He also seemed older and did not like being handled as much. The girls quickly changed that, as they continued to hold and love on him, even when he seemed a bit skittish. The girls were in school and life was moving on.

Then, out of nowhere on a Friday afternoon in April, our same neighbor who’d found Alex the first time, has now found Alex again, this time in his basement. SEVEN MONTHS LATER. 

For a couple of parents who did not want a snake in the first place, we now have two pet snakes. I think I’m in shock. Send margaritas.



  1. This is so awesome! I laughed so hard. I had two pet snakes as a child that also disappeared and were not found 😬😬. Glad Alex and Biggie are safe and sound.


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