The Good Herpetoculturist's Guide
©2001 V.I. Monahan
Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal ready when you return from work. Remember to chop up greens in perfect equilateral triangles, shred parsnips across the grain, and daub the Ss on superworm chests using buttercream icing. Most herps are hungry when you come home and the prospect of a good meal (especially one you've worked hard to procure) is part of the warm welcome needed. Don't forget: the more expensive or rare the ingredients, the better it tastes.
Prepare yourself. Take 15 minutes to rest and change your clothing so that nothing looks like eyeballs or features plaid patterning that may offend your reptile. Be sure to put in large hoop earrings for your herp to remove with his or her little claws.
Clear away the clutter. Even if you've spent all day dealing with spit dealt out by your workplace, and have more spit waiting for you at home from a disgruntled spouse, that doesn't entitle you to leave a droplet of poop lying in the enclosure, baking under the basking lamp, stinking up the place, for even a moment's time.
Don't you dare use a dustcloth on reptilian faces, no matter what they've got hanging off their upper lips.
Over the cooler months of the year you should agonize over the exact temperature variations your herp may experience over the course of the day.
Light a fire whenever possible to attract your pet, and to give you a more meaningful interaction (pulling your reptile out of the fire) than you might have had otherwise.
Prepare the children. Take them to their grandparents' and leave them there. No reptile needs to share your attention.
Be happy to see your reptiles. They sense fear.
Greet your herps with a warm smile even though they've never appreciated it before. Talk to them in silly-nilly voices if your spouse isn't watching.
Listen to your reptiles. They may be strong, silent types, but their topics of conversation are more important than yours, you pathetic mammal.
Make the evening belong to your reptiles. Never complain if they shun you or threaten you, or go whoring around the neighborhood. Instead, try to understand their world of extended daydreaming and burrowing and their very real need to hide in your couch.
Your goal: Try to make sure your home is a place of peace, order, and tranquility. Don't ask what the Burmese python did with the cat.
Don't greet your reptiles with complaints or problems. They won't even pretend to care.
Don't complain if your herps reject your painstakingly created, chopped, calcium-dusted, and/or thawed dinner. Count this as minor compared to what they might do to your favorite pillowcase.
Make them comfortable. Have your herps lean back and snuggle into your freshly washed and dried laundry. Have mango sorbet ready for them to lap from a silver spoon.
Arrange your reptiles' basking spot and offer to peel off their shedding skin. Speak in a low, soothing, and pleasant voice.
Don't ask your reptiles questions about their actions or question their judgment or integrity. Remember, they are the masters of the house and as such will always exercise their will with fairness and truthfulness. You have no right to question them.
A good herper always knows his or her place.
© 2001 by V.
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