My name is Retic. I live inside the roof, in the crevices of the tiles somewhere between the kitchen and Tamarind Terrace restaurant at a wonderful resort called JapaMala in Tioman Island. There's no place else more comfy than where I am because it's dark, warm and humid here, just the way I like it. Besides, I have the best view in the house - the balmy turquois sea. And you wonder where I got my natural glow from. And who says the sun is bad for the skin?
Where I live is incredibly strategic too. There's a natural stream right behind the restaurant where I can go clean myself in, drink from and cool off when I need to. I eat only when I'm hungry, which is just once every 3-4 days. This is the time when residents who care to look out for me will see my head sticking out into the essence of the lush thicket that perfectly camouflage me. Look and you shall see...
When I grow bigger, I may be able to fast for weeks without food sometimes months. So you can say I'm pretty low-maintenance. Oh how I'm blessed with this myriad of small warm-blooded animals to survive on. That means I don't need to encroach into human space to steal food and then risk getting killed. This may be the case for me as long as I live in JapaMala but many others are not as fortunate...
My friends' habitats robbed, homes burnt or cut away to become new land for crops or human dwellings. They then risk getting killed by people when encroaching into human space whether in search for food or simply some place warm to hide in. People panic and think we will eat them but it's NEVER the case though. When we, snakes strike or attempt to bite, is when we're provoked or made to feel like our life is in danger. You would defend yourself too when you're frightened or feel like you're under attack, no?
Me, I know I'm safe here. This I heard, that the human workers here are never to lay a finger on any of us snakes. Therefore I'm allowed to meander around quietly and coil myself to sleep on beams and ceiling railings anywhere around the resort. Don't worry, I'm not poisonous. And trust me, I'd rather coil up, laze around, go to sleep and hibernate than go chasing after you, so please. Just let me be if you happen to notice me.
Isn't it so true that the best things in life are free? You shall now learn how I hunt and I don't even charge;) Pictures below demonstrate how lunch is supposed to be eaten.
First I ambush my 'food' when it passes. I distinguish my prey by the way they move and their odor. I have heat sensors on my lips so I can detact warmth pretty effectively. Then I strike with a bite. I immediately constricts it by coiling and wrapping it with my body. As I tighten my grip each time my victim exhales, I gradually suffocate it. Some people call me a muscle machine. I am, more so when I now have to elongate my victim before swallowing it whole, bit by bit.
My teeth were not designed to chew but used to pin down my meal so that it can't escape. Mmmm.... this one tastes like chicken.
So, here's a personal question...do you sometimes wonder how in the world am I ever good for this earth? Do you think I'm a slithery slimy evil bully that deserve to die? Good grief holy mother of heavens. You see.... people should stop making stupid movies like Snakes on a Plane! Or use the imagery of Satan as a serpent. I'm, we are, wronged for life and despised by y'all on the basis of ficticious perception? Not fair...so NOT fair.
I didn't even ask to be born in the first place. What's worse, not one of us has ever had the chance to offer our peace.
Until now. I beg you to understand. Like all the other animals on the face of this planet, I play an important role in your ecosystems. I put balance on this earth. You got too many rodents in your rice fields? Send me in! One too many squirrels chomping down fruits in your Garden of Eden? Use me! On this planet, I serve as both predator and yes, as prey too! Yes, I get hunted and eaten too you know, like everyone else. I'm slow therefore I make an easy victim for let's say, King Cobras. And I'm also far less aggressive in the wild as compared to what you've probably seen in pet shops, zoos or a friend's house. Gosh, just the thought of that sends shivers down my spine and I just wanna retreat into the fuzzy black hole I call home.
I was designed to hunt.... I don't know why, I just do. Animals have no power of choice. As if making a spiritual decision, making this squirrel my lunch was guided purely by instincts. I may seem cruel to you but that's the way the universe works, the law of the universe which I didn't create. Haven't you watched Madagascar? Is it friend or food? Perfect example of pure instincts. That's the way of life, get the drift?
You're a meat-eater too, aren't you? Well, then that makes us one... only you're much luckier as someone else does the dirty job of slaughtering the animals you call food, for you. Your chickens, ducks, cows and sheep probably see you like how you see me. Introspection, introspection, introspection people!
Don't forget, you supposedly 'warm-blooded' people also capture us from the comforts of our homes to satiate your personal desires. We either die a slow death being your show piece or pet in the terrarium, or painfully skinned alive in markets somewhere in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand or China, become your dinner or end up being the latest pair of designer shoes or hand bag you pompously strut around with. You may think I'm gross but I think you, humans are seriously sick. Even a spa fad??!
Remember the power of choice. Man has, but not nature. Not me, not us.
So, are we friends now?