12/05/08 PART 2

The important part of the last entry other than of course prudent warning of inhaling anything with caution ,is that hopefully we can rely on the following statement:

"Vermiculite mined today for use in insulation is from a source considered to be free of asbestos contamination."

This entry reminded me sadly, but also fondly of a really crazy guy I met almost 35 years ago. He worked construction jobs and actually did die of mesothelioma, after apparently being exposed to asbestos back in the days when no one had a clue as to how dangerous it was.

Dennis Wright, when not working on houses, lived in his basement where he tended to some of the nicest snakes I had ever seen. He actually was to the best of my knowledge, the first person to breed Jungle carpet pythons, Peruvian Boa constrictors, Indian pythons, and Puff Adders, to name a few. He had the first New World Burrowing Pythons (Loxocemus bicolor) and White Lipped Pythons I had ever seen. He was so far ahead of his time that essentially we are all doing repeats of what he did 35 years ago.

Those were definately the "old days" and things have come a long way in terms of husbandry, caging etc. Suffice it to say that though Dennis was really successful with his animals, he had some unorthodox techniques!

The funny thing is that there are some valuable insights to be taken, even though we may do things differently now. The most obvious thing that has changed is our regular cleaning of snakes. Our beautiful modern set-ups make it easier to clean enclosures and keep things as neat as possible. Dennis had a theory that you should make as little contact with your snakes as possible and leave them alone, no matter what the cage looked or smelled like. The animals always had clean water, and they always looked immaculate, some of the finest specimens I have ever seen, but at times it was rough going into the room. At the same time he was breeding animals and was very successful raising them and maintaining them for years and years.

to be continued..