Year of the Snake

When I was a kid, I loved all things pig.  And in this instance, I’m not referring to my absolute love of delicious pork (Mmmm, bacon).  I’m talking about pig, the animal.  It was my animal.  Everyone has one, especially as a kid.  My one goal in life was to eventually own a pot-bellied pig as a pet, as that was all the rage at the time.  I thought pigs were adorable and I was completely enamored with anything having to do with cute little piggies.

So, pretty much every birthday or holiday, someone in my family or one of my friends would get me something with a pig on it.   Calendars, stuffed animals, magnets, shirts, etc.  Once, my Aunt even bought me a truly bizarre faux flower in a little wooden flower-pot, with a pig face where the flower should have been.  Yeah, she was a bit kooky.

I grew out of my porcine phase when I was a teenager, but it didn’t stop people from continuously gifting me with pig items, long after I asked them to stop.  In fact, the above mentioned pig-flower was received when I was about 20.  My Aunt refused to get the message.

In college, I found that I had a preference for less classically adorable creatures . . . like snakes and rats.  I bought a small snake in college and named him Incognito, because we weren’t allowed to have pets in the dorm.  We called him Cog for short.  I loved that little guy.  I used to let him crawl all over me and get himself tangled up in my hair.  I have pictures that make me look like some sort of Medusa apprentice.  He was rad.

© Tobyotter WANA Commons

© Tobyotter WANA Commons

Then came the day when my roommate decided that she would adopt a rat from the science lab, since they were giving them away post-experiment conclusion.  I was cool with that, never really thinking about the irony of having both predator and prey in the same room.  Cog was small, though, and still only ate itty bitty baby mice, so I never really thought of it as an issue.  And in fact, Lexi (the rat) was a big ole thing, and probably could have clawed the life out of my little guy.  Not that we let them play together or anything, so there were no worries.

Eventually, the roommate moved out, and I inherited Lexi.  Thus becoming the owner of both a snake and a rat.  My parents were so proud.  Actually, when I brought my pets home, they grew to love them as well.  They were cool little critters.  (The animals, not my parents).

Unfortunately, Lexi did not have a long life expectancy and passed away after only a year or so, and we were forced to find another home for Cog, after multiple escape attempts, ala Steve McQueen, and when he finally become somewhat bad-tempered and a bit too . . . bitey.  It was just too much and we had to find a more appropriate home for him.  It was painful to say goodbye to him, but not quite as painful as the multiple puncture wounds I had in my hand.

Once I was older and married (to a man who fears snakes), we adopted a traditional pet of the canine variety.  We then had kids, who proceeded to win 2 goldfish at the State Fair.  No more crazy pets for us.  And no pot-bellied pig.

But now I find myself devoid of an animal.  I mean, I have pets, but that’s not the same thing.  They’re just pets.  I feel like I need an animal.  Or am I too old for that?  I don’t think so.  I seem to believe that everyone has a spirit animal that is the representation of themselves, or at least something that makes them ooh and ahh and feel warm and happy when they see it.  And I don’t need to be a 12-year-old girl to have that.

Now I just have to figure out what my animal should be.  Hmm . . . what to choose, what to choose.  Maybe a monkey?  Well, while I do appreciate a good cartoon monkey or stuffed representation, the real thing is just a bit too . . . smelly.  Dolphins?  A bit too fishy and drippy (I know it’s a mammal, hush).  A bear?  Nah, too shits in the woods-y.  Wow, this is tough.

Wait, I’ve got it!  My son just recently gave me a belated Valentine’s present (belated . . . not just for birthdays anymore) of an adorable stuffed penguin.  It is really quite cute, and he told me that he got it for me so that I can have something to snuggle with when I go to sleep at night.  He is really the most thoughtful and precious thing.


So, I think it’s something I could get behind.  Real penguins are indeed adorable, right?  I mean, I haven’t spent a whole lot of time in the colder climes in which they habitate, but I saw March of the Penguins!  Ok, fine . . . I didn’t actually see that movie, but I saw a commercial for it at least.  So, I know what a penguin looks like!  They are sweet and adorable.  So, I think this could be my new thing.  Why not?  Everybody needs a thing.

Plus, I totally embody penguin-like qualities.  I’m cold, I like to swim, I love to eat seafood, I . . . wear a lot of black.  Yep, I am very penguiny.  I’m just not very fond of cold weather.  Then again, not all penguins live in Antarctica.  And it’s been pretty freezing around here recently, so I’m apparently right in my element.

So, it’s settled . . . the penguin it is.  Plus, if I ever did decide that I wanted to adopt my special animal friend, I’m sure the hubs would appreciate a little tuxedo wearing bird moving in with us more than a slithery bitey snake.  You’re welcome, hubs.  It’s all about the love.


So, what’s your spirit animal?


53 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. hiddinsight
    Feb 22, 2013 @ 08:49:29

    Congrats on finding your new animal. I chose an “anteater” when I was a kid but I never had anything anteater. Just a lot of hatred for ants. If I had to pick a new animal it would probably be a cat. Leopard.


  2. Valerie
    Feb 22, 2013 @ 08:54:25

    I bet you’ll never guess my animal… ;0)

    Penguins are a great choice. Classy. And they always remind me of James Bond.. Yes.. I approve. Nicely done. :0)




  3. JM Randolph
    Feb 22, 2013 @ 08:57:36

    I think snakes are so neat. My sister had a roommate who had a python named Murphy many years ago. They didn’t take very good care of him, so he was always escaping and roaming around the apartment looking for food. He would pop out of cabinets and scare the bejeezus out of you. I can get behind a penguin. Though you’ll be warmer if you do polar bear. And have the added benefit of the liver being a highly toxic weapon.
    PS: “too shits in the woods-y” = awesome


    • mistyslaws
      Feb 28, 2013 @ 16:08:22

      Yeah, looking back, I think that was the problem with Cog. I don’t think I was feeding him enough. He was getting bigger and needed more food, and I was a dumb kid who didn’t realize his intake had to increase. So he would escape, look for food, not find any, get cranky, and then when we would suss him out, he would lash out. Only natural, really.

      P.S. Thanks. 😉


  4. addercatter
    Feb 22, 2013 @ 09:03:04

    I want an otter. They are soooo cute! Of course my babycat would probably not like that very much… sigh. Kat


  5. renée a. schuls-jacobson
    Feb 22, 2013 @ 09:32:59

    You should totally consider platypus. You know, as a back-up plan. In case something doesn’t work out with the penguin. 😉


  6. Fresh Ginger
    Feb 22, 2013 @ 11:05:53

    There was a cute, kids exhibit thing at Disneyland last week where you put your hand on a screen and it tells you your spirit animal. Mine was a skunk. I was not impressed. hahaha


  7. Rosie
    Feb 22, 2013 @ 11:12:05

    My spirit animal is The Bloggess.


  8. pegoleg
    Feb 22, 2013 @ 11:47:15

    I think my spirit animal is a 30-year-old gorgeous, pampered princess who doesn’t have to do anything all day but whatever she WANTS to do. That’s who I am inside and I’m TICKED off that reality is not letting me experience my inner spirit animal.

    A penguin is good too.


  9. Carrie - Cannibalistic Nerd
    Feb 22, 2013 @ 13:24:58

    I would definitely pick mine based on what I want years of gifts to be. Hmmm, maybe one that doesn’t have a million variations of products and art? How about…a…amoeba.


    • mistyslaws
      Feb 28, 2013 @ 16:14:16

      I think your family and friends would have to work very hard to find something that would fit that spirit “animal.” They could really show you that they love you if they actually find something. Good choice, my friend.


  10. Kitten Thunder's Girl
    Feb 22, 2013 @ 15:03:11

    Parents are so good about their grandcritters. My mom was appalled when I left home and got a bearded dragon, but then she found out how snuggly he was and fell in love (and she’s terrified of snakes). When I had to travel for business trips I would leave Zen with them and my dad would set the lizard on his chest and feed him meal worms one at a time, by hand. Zen NEVER, in ten years, ate out of my hand.


    • mistyslaws
      Feb 28, 2013 @ 16:15:31

      Yeah, the rat’s tail totally squigged my mom out, but she got used to it because she was just such a friendly and loveable rat. My dad would take Cog out of the cage and “play” with him when I wasn’t home. They were good critterparents.


  11. Don't Quote Lily
    Feb 22, 2013 @ 16:13:57

    Totally gonna have to figure out my spirit animal. 🙂
    Aw, penguins ARE cute…especially that stuffed one. 😀


  12. Jennifer June Clark
    Feb 22, 2013 @ 16:28:43

    When Claire was 3, she told me, “Mama, before I was your baby, I was a baby owl.” Of course, I just melted and now the child is up to her eyeballs in owl stuff. Owl stuffies, banks, clothes, books, pillows…. My totum animal is the cat.


    • mistyslaws
      Feb 28, 2013 @ 16:16:39

      Oh that poor child. She’s gonna reject all things owl so hard when she gets older, isn’t she?

      A cat is good. Reminds me of the Owl and the Pussycat. 🙂


  13. bluzdude
    Feb 22, 2013 @ 18:10:32

    That’s the PERFECT choice… especially during hockey season. As they say (quite frequently) in “The ‘Burgh,” “Let’s go Pens!”

    Also, I can’t believe you let a snake bite you more than once. One fang in me and I’m grabbing the tail and working that thing the way Indiana Jones works his bullwhip… only into a wall.


    • mistyslaws
      Feb 28, 2013 @ 16:18:01

      I knew you’d like that. But no, it has nothing to do with hockey OR Pittsburgh. :p

      He was hungry. And cranky. It was my fault, really. He just needed a better home with a more attentive parent, and he eventually got it. He was a sweet little thing, despite the bites. They still hurt, though.


  14. rachelocal
    Feb 22, 2013 @ 19:13:50

    I’m definitely a cat. They’re sneaky, sleek, and cute all at the same time. 🙂


  15. Vesta Vayne
    Feb 22, 2013 @ 20:04:29

    I’m an owl person mysef.


  16. winopants
    Feb 22, 2013 @ 21:43:52

    Only problem with an animal vs a pet is: poop. I mean rabbits poop neatly, but willy nilly, pigs roll around in it; but penguins? If you want your floor to look like paper maiche, sure 😛 They are one of the few truly cute birds though, so maybe worth it?


    • mistyslaws
      Feb 28, 2013 @ 16:19:18

      Oh don’t get me wrong . . . I don’t want to OWN one in my house, but I like them. They should stay in the wild where they belong. Leaving my house poop-free!


  17. Letty
    Feb 23, 2013 @ 09:47:57

    My immediate thought is coy dog, for the many times I want to go feral biotch on whatever is irritating me at the time. But I choose tiger, an animal that appears to know when to pounce and when to just sit around looking awesome. Working on it.


  18. k8edid
    Feb 23, 2013 @ 12:04:12

    Ever since I stopped coloring my hair (it is bright white) I have identified with bald eagles. On a recent bike ride I heard a loud screeching and it kept following me…I got off the bike, looked around and spotted a bald eagle up at the top of a tree and it kept following after me. I saluted it and continued on my way. Maybe he/she thought we were related?


  19. transformednonconformist
    Feb 24, 2013 @ 05:22:34

    I vote for either a sugar baby or a hedgehog. I been wanting a hedge hog for a while.

    I still have my python and he bites occasionally, but has never caused any real damage.


    • mistyslaws
      Feb 28, 2013 @ 16:21:18

      Snakes bite. It’s like the fable of the scorpion . . . it’s in their nature. It happens.

      Hedge hogs are adorable. Talk to Val . . . she’s got one.


  20. Valentine Logar
    Feb 24, 2013 @ 06:32:37

    I love snakes, had boas once upon a time. They bit now and then but it isn’t like they really hurt. I had an iguana, he was a birthday present from my sons who wanted an iguana but were told no, because I would end up taking care of him (duh).

    I don’t know what my animal is. I think it might have to something indolent, what is an indolent animal?

    Penguin is a good animal.


  21. Leauxra
    Feb 24, 2013 @ 22:12:02

    I have been obsessed with all things octopus lately. I wish I had an octopus friend…

    I don’t remember what it was a child… Probably cats. Or bats (cause they’re freaking cute). And ravens. Damn, I love those birds. When I was about 18 months old, some of my parents friends gave me a crow decoy as a joke. I would not give it back. I would not give it up. I screamed and screamed if anyone took it away from me. They had to sneak it out of my crib when I was asleep one night.

    OK. Octopuses and ravens. That’s normal, right?


  22. Daile
    Feb 25, 2013 @ 01:08:28

    I have 2 rats – Betty and Veronica. They surprisingly get along great with my cat Bixby. He’s a bit scared of them to be honest! Rats make great pets, especially for kids.

    I think my animal is a monkey though. I’ve always been intrigued and considered studying Primates at University.


  23. Go Jules Go
    Feb 25, 2013 @ 09:33:38

    I could pluck a garden snake out of the yard for you this summer if you’re not dead set on a penguin! I’m going to hold out for a dolphin m’self.


  24. thoughtsappear
    Feb 25, 2013 @ 12:46:16

    Uhhhh…just to be clear…please don’t bring a snake to one of our outings…ever.

    I’ve always wanted a penguin. Do you remember my penguin Pete? Maybe that was before your time. I totally want a penguin…he could double as a butler.


  25. Kat_L
    Feb 28, 2013 @ 10:49:25

    That’s amazing you had a snake & kept it for sometime. I enjoy & like snakes, fir as long as they are less than 6ft long. Unfortunately, most my our beautiful & prized snakes are 20-30 ft long full grown. I keep my distance when they are out but they are amazing. I love koalas since I was a child- this for me is my spirit animal 🙂


    • mistyslaws
      Feb 28, 2013 @ 16:27:19

      Wow, those are some huge snakes. They might even give me pause.

      I love koalas! They are adorable. Apparently, they are also very mean animals, despite their cuddliness. Are you trying to tell us something? 😉


      • Kat_L
        Mar 25, 2013 @ 13:43:36

        Sorry for the late reply, I had been very occupied- The snakes we have in our home are pets. some we breed and most are for shows. My husband and I would take them to schools for educational purposes. The longest we have now is a 14ft tier reticulated python. You can visit my other site-
        I try to update this page as much as I can. Unfortunately, I work during the day so I can only work on updates over the weekends-

        As for Koalas, I grew up loving these animals- just like humans and every other animals, they have their bad side 🙂


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