This article is brought to you by PetFirst Healthcare. Vet bills can be thousands of dollars. You shouldn’t ever be forced to decide between your dog or cat’s health and paying rent on time. PetFirst allows you to get your dog or cat the care they need without worrying about the expensive cost of veterinary care. Check out their affordable and comprehensive plans here.
Bushwick resident Noelle Cotnoir had wanted a snake since she was 12 years old. Eight years later, her wish came true in the form of Brutus, a Colombian Red Tail Boa who at six weeks was no longer than a foot.
Brutus is now five years old, six feet long, and about 15 pounds. Noelle anticipates he will double in size by the time he is fully grown.
Over the course of our hour-long chat, I learned more about Boas than I did from any show on Animal Planet:
→ Did you know that when Brutus swallows the rat he eats about once a week, he squeezes it not until the rat suffocates but until its heart stops?
→ Did you know Brutus’s eyes turn bluish gray when he’s about to shed his skin?
→ Did you know Brutus doesn’t have ears because he “hears” by vibration?
→ Did you know that for the most part it looks like Brutus gets along with corgis?
I watched his powerful six-foot-long body try to weasel across the coffee table while Noelle described him as generally lazy but inquisitive. When Noelle picked him up to wrap him back around her arm, he looked happy enough to continue on the path she set for him.
She says she has no trepidation about wrapping him around her neck or giving him as much freedom as she does because she has had him since he was six weeks old, and Brutus knows by now who feeds him and who gives him freedom by plopping him out of his terrarium.
I also would have it be known that my last name means snake in Polish, and I was hoping to feel a certain affinity for the scaly thing, but while Brutus sports a fantastic little mustache and inquisitive eyes, he isn’t quite as fascinated by humans as they are by him, and his interactions with me were limited to a couple flickers of a black tongue.
I touched his head; it was scaly but not slimy. Brutus paused, looked at me with one glossy eye and moved on.
Featured image: Brutus, courtesy of Noelle Cotnoir.