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Today I met a corn snake. He/she was at the H.H. Backer Pet Industry Spring Trade Show that's at the Baltimore Convention Center this weekend. A few days ago I wrote that my younger son is asking for a corn snake for his 8th birthday that's coming up in a few weeks. A number of people commented that they make great pets, although I was taken aback a bit to learn that I could be living with this snake until well past retirement.

One of the exhibitors at the show had baby corn snakes on display and he let me hold one. I'll have to say it was pretty in a slithery kind of way. Just two weeks old, it was about as thick around as a pencil and not much longer. The nice man who showed me the snakes thought one would make a great present for my son. I asked if they bite, and was surprised when he told me they can. It didn't make me feel better that I was holding the snake in my hands at that moment, but I restrained myself and didn't fling it back in the cage.

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I also asked about how often the cage has to be cleaned, and he told me that the waste can be scooped out about once a week and the cage wouldn't need cleaning but about four times a year. My son has promised to take care of it, but moms and dads, you know how that story goes.

So here's how the argument breaks down so far:

Pro:

Snakes are educational

Corn snakes don't cost too much

They are easier to take care of than hamsters, cats, dogs and fish

They are kind of pretty if you like snakes

Con:

Still three of the five members of my family are afraid of snakes. (My older son threatens to move away from home if we get a snake).

Snakes live a very long time and although my son might want a snake today, will he want this snake when he moves away to college?

The idea of storing dead mice in my freezer creeps me out.

Have I overlooked something?

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