Pollyanna is still ticking off time nicely, she’s passed her fifth birthday and is well into her sixth year.
She is still very much “my” snake, quite comfortable with me invading her space and privacy for a play or a cuddle. I guess if this wasn’t the case I’d have to very carefully take her out of her viv to give it a good clean, I’d have to transfer her to another safe box, or at least to a pillowcase in a nice warm place, in the airing cupboard for instance. (she travelled for about 140 miles and three hours when we moved house, “Just chilling” in a pillowcase and was perfectly happy afterwards). But this is me, and this is my Pollyanna. We have an agreement, she trusts me to feed her, to keep her warm, comfortable and safe, and I trust her not to bite me… unless it’s absolutely necessary.
Royal pythons are not by nature messy creatures, generally just a spot-clean is plenty to keep up higene levels, but I do completely change her bedding from time to time. I’ve always used beech chippings for the base of her viv, a nice clean sealed bagfull from a well known petshop. As with her food, I could probably buy cheaper and from a more local source, but Pollyanna has no contact with any other reptile type pets and so has avoided any illnesses or infestations which might come from such contacts so I’ll stick to what we know.
When a deep clean is happening, I take out all of her toys and her waterbowl, and lastly her hide. I scoop her up and place her onto her top shelf where she settles with a watchful eye as I set about her wood chip bedding with a small dustpan and brush.
A wipe down with special reptile disinfectant, and a bag of new bedding later, and her toys go back in, her water bowl is filled with fresh water and her viv is sprayed with water to help boost the humidity to a more comfortable level for her, then I leave her in peace to explore every inch of the viv anew to ensure it passes inspection.
There have been a few changes in the viv over the years, Pollyanna has grown out of most of her toys. She still loves to just chill on her shelves and, of course, there’s her latest game of wrapping herself around the heat lamp cage on her ceiling, and dropping off into her water dish with a splash, but the large fish aquarium toys are too small for her to weave in and out of the different windows and columns now that she’s grown.
I hunted around online for some sort of large toy, a model or garden ornament which would provide some entertainment for her and failed, then, quite by chance, I found someone on marketplace selling a terracotta wine rack.
Terracotta sounded like a good idea, and what’s more, the bottle spaces were all in separate pieces and could be moved around. Pollyanna loved the new toys to climb over, the only problem was that I had expected tunnels and these were very much better quality than I had expected and were more like caves than tunnels. Pollyanna squeezed herself into one of the bigger, base pieces, but as you can see, there was no way she would fit into one of the smaller caves….
Of course, with my very much “outside of the box” thinking process, I took one bottle cave out into the garden to play with the power tools.
I placed a cross of masking tape on the outside of the base of one of the bottle caves and drilled a hole. I half expected the terracotta to crack or shatter, but was pleasantly surprised by the quality, even though it seemed like an age before I finally made a hole.
Next I attached a tile cutting blade to the electric saw and starting at the hole, I very slowly made my way around the base to cut a disk out of the bottom.
Lastly, I draped myself with a dust sheet I use for painting protection, and set about the hole I had made in the base with a large metal file.
The whole process took me all afternoon to do ust two pieces. But Pollyanna seemed much appreciative of my efforts, and enjoys the tunnels a lot more than the caves.
Carrying on the terracotta theme, I looked for some more bits for her to play with. Many, many moons ago I found her a resin aquarium ornament in the shape of a “broken water urn” to play with, but she outgrew that one pretty early. She did enjoy going in through one hole and out through another while she fitted though, so off I went online looking for something similar.
I found a firm who made garden pots for planting and part of their range were these two pots below. Either one would make a nice addition to my garden so I bought both, one for Pollyanna and one for me.
Pollyanna has the urn-like one. Again I spent a good few hours covered in the dust sheet filing off sharp edges, and expanding the hole inside the neck to a suitable size for a Pollyanna-size royal python not to get stuck.
I was pretty sure I had a picture of Pollyanna playing in her new pot, but I can’t find it. That will have to wait for another post.
More from before: “Pollyanna“, my pet Python.