What’s Wrong with My Snake?

What's wrong with my snake?What’s Wrong with My Snake?

Come on, admit it.  The cover made you laugh.  Is your snake feeling a bit under the weather? Just glove up and tell it to say “ahhh.”

This is a very useful book, and if it were re-published today I would buy a copy for my public library.  That doesn’t make the cover any less funny.

Chapters on constipation and diarrhea, for example, would come in handy if you had a snake with those problems.  Believe me, you want the proper technique when administering an enema to your pet python.

And that’s where I’m going to stop.



  1. I can’t decide whether it’s funnier if you think of the title as a euphemism, or if you don’t.

  2. Mary K. : you cannot believe the number of tasteless jokes Holly and I were throwing back and forth over this one… Some material just writes itself!

  3. I am horribly, horribly afraid of snakes. I have been known to throw books across a room because I came across a picture of one. I have thrown up from seeing them on TV. If I ever came face-to-face with a venomous one, it wouldn’t have to bite me, because I would simply drop dead on the spot.

    If I saw this in a library (and I would make sure I never did), I would probably hurriedly go to the restroom and then leave.

    But, yeah, the euphemisms are worth the cover charge!

  4. This kind of stuff does make me wonder. Since it is of a scientific nature (God, I hope so!) should it have currency criteria? Maybe 5 years or so? Any comments? I am always a bit skeptical of material when it gets a bit old…

  5. To marykelly48, I also worry about the age of materials (CREW guidelines suggest 5 years for this part of the collection), but I certainly wouldn’t want to have to spend my library’s scant collection budget on replacing a book such as this every 5 years. If I lived in an area where a lot of people had snakes, I suppose I would think differently. At 13 years, though, this book is a bit long in the fang.

  6. I am highly amused that not only do I not have to work to come up with jokes around this title, the website did it for me when it posted “Hanging Out” under possibly related posts.

    My sides hurt from trying to contain my laughter.

  7. Man I wish we had books like this at our library–we have ones more like “You’d better leave a snake alone” (honest to goodness that is the title). The cover is deceptive, as well as amusing, it is a heck of a lot harder to get your snake to say “awww” to do a throat culture for a snake that big you’d probably need three or four people, they do not like that one bit. When my snake had to have a culture it took at least two people, and he is a much smaller snake. I would keep this book even if dated, as long as it is in good condition, since there is so little published on it, and few vets have any knowledge of snake care either. But then I keep snakes, so it is something I could use!

    1. I also keep snakes, and I’d actually be interested in this! (I have to drive halfway across the state to get to Precious’s vet.)

      I would buy it based on the cover alone if it told me how to get a snake to open its mouth that nicely. Precious isn’t quite as long as my forearm and it’s a two-person job to pry her trap open!

  8. The book may be practical, but if they ever want anybody to read it (except as a gag) it really needs to be reissued with a new title.

  9. Thirteen years is definitely old for a book on herp care… there are a lot more people keeping/breeding serpents in recent years so there is better info available.
    And I was thinking the same thing as Sarah… I can’t imagine getting my corn snake to open up like that, much less one the size in the cover pic!

    1. Not that I know, but judging from the picture, it looks like whomever is holding the snake is pinching the jaws open the way you see people do it when they’re milking snakes for their venom.

  10. Yes, you are indeed correct: I laughed out loud at the cover photo. That’s pretty brilliant.

  11. Could we have a larger scale copy of the image? I’d just *love* to run off a copy as a Tee shirt…

  12. I transfered to a new branch, and we actually have this title on the shelf. It is pretty dang useful, I may wish we had the newest edition, but I think there is more info in this book about caring for snakes then most vets know. We’re keeping this one!

  13. yeah – there is a recent reprint of this. the cover is not very exciting.

    it is actually a really, really useful book for people that keep snakes (like myself). it was written by a herpetologist veterinarian, and it even lists appropriate medications & their doses.

    I’d give a lot of credit to a library that actually carried this title. most libraries have a pretty piss-poor and/or severely outdated section for any pets other than cats or dogs.

  14. I laughed hysterically at this and then shared it with my friends – this is a great library find, and one of the reasons I never mind spending time going through small-town libraries!

    I’d definitely update to the newest version, though. Outdated pet info is nearly as bad as outdated human medical info!

  15. aww now…having just discovered this little gem of a website, i have spent the better part of the last hour perusing the pages…when i found this and have to admit it is on my personal bookshelf!

    having gotten heavily involved with “herping’, ot the pwning, buying, breeding, & selling of reptiles & amphibians back in the 1990’s, i found this book well-written, easy to use, and a valuable resource.

    the name did interest me and is why i bought it-that and the Rossi’s, at that time, where a trusted name in the herp community.

  16. I actually have this book, and was thrilled to find it in a bargain-bin a while after getting my first snake about a decade ago. It focuses mainly on issues stemming from the improper housing many snakes are subjected to, but is a little light in a lot of areas.
    I don’t know what it says about my mind (usually so quick to jump into the gutter…) that I never thought that title or cover were at all out of the ordinary. 😉

    S.K. – I’ll doublecheck, but I don’t recall any techniques in the book regarding mouth-opening. I’ve had the best luck with my grumpy creature by sticking a tongue depresser into the side of his mouth, then rotating it up on its side so he’s forced to open. Had to medicate him for a while, so I had to figure out a way to get him to open so I could shove the medicine down.
    KEEPING the mouth open from there is another story. Snake was less than thrilled with this. XD (this was years ago and he’s all better now, thank goodness!)

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