Here in autismland, we have always had lots of pets. We have always used them to teach responsibility for others. For my child with autism, we started with a full grown dog so that all he had to remember was to feed and walk it. We progressed to fish, turtles and cats with his sister. Imagine my surprise when he asked for snakes.
Now, I am not terrified of snakes but they are not my favorite. They were ok when they were at the uncle’s house not mine. To be honest, I was put on the spot at the family Thanksgiving when that same infamous uncle asked if Logan could have one if he bought it. I never invited him over for Thanksgiving again.
5 Reasons I Let My Son With Autism Own Snakes
- He really likes them. As in, he really takes pleasure in watching them do nothing slither around their cage. He likes to hold them and watch them eat. I don’t get it at all. But then, he doesn’t understand why I love to watch baseball. Different people like different things.
- He is thinking of pursuing a career in herpetology. I can certainly see him working in this field. Did you know Walt Disney World purposely has snakes on their property to keep the rodent population at bay? They are always looking for people who are willing to handle the snakes. Zoos are always hiring someone who is willing to handle reptiles. Better yet, homeowners are always looking for someone to remove snakes from their property.
- We have a mutual understanding. He doesn’t bring them near me so I let him live to see another day. Win win for everyone.
- They take minimal upkeep. You need to give them water once or twice a week plus feed them monthly at minimum. For a child with autism, this makes it much more manageable. Of course you have to be able to touch a dead mouse to feed them which makes it non negotiable for me. Dad to the rescue although Logan will do it all on his own now.
- They are pretty affordable. You need a baby snake, a tank with locking lid, a heat lamp and some dead mice. The initial investment can be upwards of $100 but that is a one time deal. After that investment , all you need are dead mice. You can get them at the reptile expos or even your local pet store. They are going to be cheaper at an expo because you are buying them in bulk. For a pet, snakes are reasonable in price
Yes, we started out with one snake. He now has 5 including 2 fully grown pythons. They bring him such joy that it isn’t hard for me to overlook the fact that I think they are slimy and gross. It is always a good thing to let your child’s pursuits run free in an effort to help them discover who they are as a person. You have to look past your own fears and hesitations to let your child soar with their interests. I’m drawing the line on tarantulas though. Just no.