TWA_OPG – Interview with Cobalt and Francis

July 14, 2010 by  
Filed under Practice Group

 

Cobalt’s Bio and Viewpoint

Cobalt

Cobalt in his terrarium.

  

I interviewed Francis and Cobalt on May 14, 2010. This is important to know because within 2 weeks, Cobalt had gone to live with someone else. Francis and Cobalt were both OK with this, as they knew it was time for the two of them to part. Therefore, the information herein, unless otherwise stated, focuses on Cobalt’s life with Francis.  Since that time, his life has changed.

Cobalt was 6 weeks old when Francis got him in November, 2007 from a pet show. Cobalt now about 2 and a half years old. Until January, 2010, Francis and Cobalt lived with Francis’ parents. Then they moved into a 3 and a half room apartment, which gave Cobalt much more space to explore.

Cobalt was born in captivity. Francis spent a great deal of time working with Cobalt so he would learn not to bite out of fear when held. Francis would let him out of his aquarium 3 times each day to move around freely. That was part of the training process to accept human contact, as Francis had to lift Cobalt to place him on the floor. Cobalt would explore the entire apartment. He really liked to move around and investigate everything.

According to Francis, when someone is afraid of Cobalt he becomes nervous, too. Francis could sense him being fearful and angry about it. He used to act like he might bite. After 8-10 months of Francis working with him, Cobalt became more comfortable with people in general. Francis says that he became “tame” and no longer tries to bite.

Cobalt’s Aquarium:

While with Francis, Cobalt had an aquarium of medium size, about 80 cm x 60cm x 60cm. 

Cobalt's first terrarium setup.

 This suited Cobalt just fine when he was small. As an adult, Cobalt is now 8 feet long. One of the reasons Cobalt went to a new home was so that he could have a larger living space, and I’m told by Francis that his new home is a perfect size for him. The perfect size for a snake is 3 quarters of the snake’s length.

Cobalt as an adult.

Cobalt as an adult.

Diet:

Cobalt’s diet consists of rats, which are purchased frozen. Once thawed, he can easily consume the rat. Each rat is about 6 cm long and no wider than one and a half times the width of the snake’s body. Cobalt says he prefers many small prey to 1 large one.

When I asked Cobalt about eating, he said, “It doesn’t take me long to swallow my food (about 5 minutes per rat according to Francis).” Francis explained that Cobalt gets 2 or 3 rats per meal and eats only once a week – every Friday. Digesting takes much longer.

Cobalt is quiet while digesting. He usually sleeps as he digests and can’t be handled for 24-48 hours. I asked him whether he gets bored eating only rats, and he said “Not at all.” Francis pointed out that Cobalt is purely a carnivore and not interested in any vegetables, fruits, or carbohydrates. Of course, he probably gets whatever is in the rats’ stomachs, which would not be meat.

To drink water, Cobalt just puts his head in the water and stays submerged for several minutes.

Francis really loves Cobalt and the feeling is mutual. Francis says Cobalt has “Bambi-like eyes and harmless energy – an innocence that Francis admires and respects. He describes Cobalt as very curious because outside the aquarium, he explores everything and is on the move the whole time. Even inside the aquarium, he is very active. Francis pointed out that when Cobalt was younger, there was more space in the aquarium and more stuff inside it for him to play with.

Interview with Cobalt with additional comments from Francis

How do you like your aquarium/terrarium?

My aquarium is too small, cramped, and limited. I want to explore. I’d be happy to be out all the time.

Would your apartment get boring? 

No. Not yet.

Francis told me you shed your skin 2-3 weeks ago. What does that feel like?

Never thought about it. It feels expansive – like a butterfly coming out of a cocoon. When my skin starts to detach, I becomes blind for awhile.

Francis & Cobalt

Francis and Cobalt

Francis: About 4 days before shedding, he cools down and stops moving. He gets one last meal. Then, when the process starts, his eyes turn blue. They stay blue about 5 days. Then suddenly, his eyes are normal. Three days later, he starts to lose skin. So, over all, there is a 5 day preparation period followed by 8-10 days of shedding.

Cobalt: It feels like a struggle until the skin is off my head. Then it’s easy.

Francis:  Cobalt and all snakes shed less frequently as they get older. He used to shed every 42 days for 6-8 month period when he was growing faster. Now he sheds less frequency.

Cobalt: I’m looking forward to shedding less often, as don’t feel like eating at that time. When I shed, all my energy is going into the transformation.

Do you see color?

Yes – sees reds and pinks; also greens. He can also see objects that are black, grey, white, and violet.

Francis:  His terrarium has no plants now because it’s too small for him – just a water dish (green) and bedding (beige) and a half/log hide (darker brown than the bedding). When Cobalt was smaller it had a plant and other objects for him to enjoy.

How do you see your own body color?

Radiant blue – aura – sees his own body in great detail.

Tell me about your senses. 

Smell is really important, but he likes visual imagery, too. Cobalt likes to know how things feel to his body. He likes to touch things and is very sensitive.

Francis: When I hold him or watch him climb on objects, he embraces things with his body – pressing against them. This is partially security when climbing, but also it feels good to him.

How do you feel about other animals? Would you like to have some around to talk to? 

 I’ve never had other animals around and never thought about having them around to talk to. I like humans. I want to teach them about snakes.

What is your life purpose?

I want to teach humans and especially children about snakes.

Francis: This is one of the reasons I’m looking for a new home for Cobalt, so he can fulfill his life purpose.

Do you want to live in the wild?

Not at all. I am meant to be with humans so I can fulfill my purpose.

What do you think about when you are not doing anything interesting? 

I meditates sometimes. My life could be a lot more interesting. I think I’ve been preparing to teach.

What is the role of snakes on the earth?

Snake energy is transformative. We are important predators to keep certain populations down. We also spread weaving/waving energies. They keep certain vibrational patterns aligned. The flow – like the Tao – is like life. Snake movement is the movement of Life.

Why are snakes important to the earth and to humans?

We are part of the web of life and we hold things in balance. Humans need to appreciate all life and to honor and recognize each form having its purpose and role to play. The Earth needs all her kingdoms to exist and be in harmony for the Earth to be in harmony.

Also, humans need to move out of Fear, and that means giving up old Fears, like fear of snakes.

How can people start doing this?

By talking to me!!

Why are many humans so afraid of snakes?

Conditioning. Ignorance. In general, reptiles have/express less emotion and humans are attracted to emotion.

Lies. Biblical lies about snakes being carries of evil. We are not. We are neither good nor evil. You see us as you believe us to be. We did not cause humans to feel separate from God.

What can people learn from snakes?

To see beauty and Divinity everywhere. Just look at me without judgment and you will see Divine beauty in snake form.

Can you explain why you want to help humans get over their fear of snakes?

You only fear outside yourself what you fear inside yourself.

What is the true meaning of the fear?

 There is a subtle relationship in fear of snakes to fear of being eaten or taken over.

Reptilian beings who come into the earth plane from other dimension and “take over” humans?

Yes, there is some of that. Humans have to break free from those entities and they are afraid because they have given permission/given up their power to allow themselves to be used in that way. They have been conditioned to be slaves, to have a slave mentality.

There is also the human ego. Humans are attached to or over-identified with the ego. They “lose” themselves. They fear kundalini which is human snake energy. Humans don’t want to give up their attachment things outside themselves and restore their own power. So they fear awakening to higher truth, and snake/kundalini is part of the means of awakening.

Blue Beauty Ratsnake Caresheet

Because most people don’t have snakes as pets, and to help me understand about Cobalt, Francis provided me with a copy of this basic care information.  I am passing it along to you for the same reasons.

Common Names: Vietnamese Blue Beauties, Blue Beautys

Scientific Name:  Orthriophis taeniurus ssp

Distribution:  Blue Beauties are colubrids native to the Vietnam-Thailand-Burma areas of Southeast Asia, from heavy forests to cultivated fields and mountainous areas.

Size:  Blue Beauties are one of the largest species of ratsnakes, reaching lenghts of 7-8ft. They can reach up to 11ft but that is rare.  They are colubrids so even though they are long, they are slender snakes.

Lifespan:  Blue Beauties can live anywhere between 15-30 years.

Temperment/Handling:  Blue Beauties are Asian ratsnakes which have a bad rap for being biters. The blue beauty however isn’t generally known for being as aggressive as other beauty snakes. If you get a captive bred baby, that is your best bet for taming one down.

There are alot of wild caught ones for sale but captive bred ones are becoming more common. I would not reccomend getting a blue beauty with the thought it will be a great snake for handling. They can be tamed down but not always and they still are likely to remain nervous as adults.

Housing:  Blue Beauties are active snakes and need a good size enclosure. Babies are fine in 10-20 aquarium with secure cover. Rubbermaids and custom cages work too.   Just make sure the cage is secure because like most snakes, they are escape artists.  Adults can be housed in 55 gallon tank with secure cover or rubbermaid of equal or larger size. They are active so the more room the better. The cage should have lots of cover, hides, and even some branches to climb on. A water dish with fresh water needs to be availiable at all times.

Substrate:  Their are several things that will work for Blue Beauties. I would recommend newspaper, aspen shavings, or cypress mulch.   Stay away from any pine or ceder bedding, they are deadly to herps.  If using a loose substrate, especially one that contains large pieces like mulch, be sure to feed the snake in a seperate container, put newspaper down over the substrate, or make sure to monitor the feed closely to make sure the snake doesn’t digest the substrate.

Temperature/Humidity:  Blue Beauties do not need high temps like many other herp species, 80-85 degrees is fine for Blue Beauties.  The humidity isn’t much of a concern, the only time its important is during a shed. It’s best to have a water dish that is big enough for the snake to soak in. If you have any problems with shedding, make a humid hide. They are very simple to make, just take a plastic rubbermaid or other plastic container large enough for the snake to get in, cut a hole in the side and put moist paper towels or sphagnum moss. Misting the cage before a shed can also help.

Heating:  Blue Beauties do not require UVB or any other special lighting. I recommend under tank heaters, but nocturnal bulbs or regular house hold bulbs will work for additional heat. It is best to place the under tank heater and/or lights on one side of the cage, the warm side were their should be a hide.

The cool side should have no heat and that’s generally the best place to put the water dish.  Make sure to add a hide on cool side also. This way you will create a thermal gradient and will allow the snake to choose where it’s comfortable, rather then the whole tank at one temp.

Feeding:  Blue Beauties are constrictors and in captivity are fed rodents. If you get a captive bred (CB) baby, feeding shouldn’t be a problem.  CB blue Beauties should take frozen/thawed rodents with no problems. If you do get a wild caught or even a LTC(Long term Captive), make sure its eating good before buying it.  Wild caught ones may not eat as well; they may only take live rather then frozen/thawed rodents. 

Baby blue Beauties should start out on pinkie mice and move up in size from their as the snake grows. Adults will eat rats, the size of rat depends on the size of your blue beauty, 6-7ft ( the average adult size) should eat small to medium rats.

Feed your snake every 7-10 days. Its important not to handle or bother your snake for at least 48 hours after eating.  Any stress can cause your snake to throw up its meal which isn’t good.

Rating: Blue Beauties are definitely not for beginners due to their larger size and dispositions.  If you have kept a few snakes and are looking to get something that you may not be able to handle but as more of display snake then a blue beauty may be for you.

Conclusion: Blue Beauties are gorgeous snakes that have gotten a bad rap which has caused them to be over looked by many herp keepers. I feel that’s a shame because their name describes them perfectly.  They are beauties and a rewarding species to keep.  Blue Beauties definately are not for begginers, but if you have kept a few other snakes and want something different then the most popular herps, well Blue Beauties may be for you.

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