My love of reptiles started as a child. Little did I know when I turned 18, my relationship and love of snakes would go beyond the regular "pet" relationship. Snakes have been a integral part of my life; and over the last 12 years they have come to be family and artistic dance partners. But this post isn't about that. Rather, its about a rescuing of sorts.
In 2006 I was given a beautiful adult ball python by a friend who I had met through the New England Herpetological Society in Weymouth, MA. The snakes name was Kaala. She was about 6 when I was given her. My friend did not have time to focus on her, and Kaala had been used to teach educational programs to children on snakes. Kaala's demeanor was the most sweet, loving and kind. She just had this energy about her that sometimes took my breath away. Her and I began a friendship that was inspiring. Not only did she become my dance partner, but she also became an ambassador for ball pythons. We taught classes and workshops together. The most memorable was a Serpentine Mythology workshop that I had taught at Circles of Wisdom in Andover, MA. It ended up being a healing workshop of sorts. A woman who was in attendance at the workshop had some deep emotional and physical trauma caused by abuse in her childhood. Unfortunately, this abuse also involved snakes. She was horrified of them. One of the reasons that she signed up for my workshop was to try and overcome her fear and let go of the trauma she had endured as a child. Towards the end of the workshop, I asked the woman if she wanted to just touch Kaala. What happened next was one of the most beautiful moments I have ever witnessed. The woman, her eyes streaked with tears, not only touch Kaala, but held her! And Kaala, who was so sweet, just laid still on the woman's lap. It was such a beautiful moment. Kaala had a presence! She ended up in a music video, in magazine articles and even performed with me for a famous Hindi actress who was in the movie "Nagin."
In 2013, my beautiful Kaala passed away. I was beyond devastated. And while I had other snakes (six to be exact), I never felt the connection that I had with Kaala with any of the others. It was a heartbreaking. Four years later she stills is a major part of my life. And while I could blog all day about her, its about Kira.....not Kaala.
In the summer of 2016 I came across a Craigslist ad from a man selling off his snake collection. He was "breeder" and wasn't having any luck and decided that it was to costly to keep his collection. I emailed him about one of the snakes and he got back to me. I met him in a parking lot and he handed me this beautiful adult ball python. I could tell something was "off" about her, but nevertheless I had my heart set on getting a python again. He told me adamantly that she would only eat live rats and said that he never had luck getting her pregnant.
Well, not only was she pregnant- but she was in the most horrible shape I had ever seen a snake in. For years, when I was living in Boston, I rescued snakes from bad owners--rehabilitated them, and then found them good decent forever homes. I was used to dealing with all kinds of issues- from mites to burns. I treated my snakes until they were healthy enough to be adopted out. But this poor girl......Not only was she pregnant, but she had a horrible case of mouth rot and a huge hole on her head from where a live rat had gnawed on her. Yet, this girl had some vibe about her that reminded me of Kaala. So I named her Kira--which means "beam of light" (ironically Zehara Nachash means "bright serpent!). After she laid her clutch that ended up being non fertilized, I took her to the vet to get a good grasp on an infection that was in her body. She was put on three treatments of antibiotics. The infection was so bad that it destroyed the bottom part of her jaw to wear it now looks like she has horrible overbite. Yet, despite all that--her energy was strong. She was a fighter! When I first performed with her, I felt that connection I had once with Kaala. We moved together as if we were one.
My relationship with her has grown immensely since I have to constantly stay on top of her care. The whole on her head healed leaving only a small scar, but her mouth has to be cleaned and disinfected weekly as its exposed from losing her scales from the mouth rot. She is a happy healthy sweetie now. And while I believe great animals were once humans who had reached enlightenment--and I like to think of Kaala as my spirit guide now--a part of me still believes that Kaala somehow reincarnated into my beautiful Kira. After all, Kira was born the same time and year that Kaala passed!
On a side note, I also rescued a male lesser ball python from the same man who I named Kyphi and who takes a liking to my sweet Kira.