Like most non-venemous snake owners, I've been "tagged" a number of times by gartersnakes, boas and pythons. I've welcomed members to the club of "real snake owners" and prided myself on not being afraid of getting bit. After all, the bites are not much worse than papercuts and because they bleed so profusely, they rarely become infected. Well folks I have some really important advice for all of you: "You should really try NOT to get bit!" (Duh?) Our moderately-aggressive juvenile male chondro "Selmak" tagged me last Wednesday night on the back of my right hand and the biceps of my left arm. The marks have almost completely healed and disappeared already, but he apparently managed to damage a hand nerve which is making my life difficult and painful. Certain minor wrist movements now cause electric shock sensations that cramp all the muscles from the back of my hand up to my shoulder. Being right-handed, you can imagine how often those minor wrist movements occur each day! My doctor and my physical therapist say it could take 2-3 years before this nerve heals completely. (****!) So there it is: if like me, you thought "not venemous = not dangerous" -- think again. Most of our snakes are no problem, but I made the mistake of underestimating Selmak and thinking "I don't care if he bites me; it's not such a big deal!" If you know that your snake is a biter; protect yourself. Wear soft leather gloves, long sleeves and if it's a night-active snake, only handle during the daylight hours -- if at all. As much as we love our "babies" it's best to keep reminding ourselves that these are wild animals and should be respected as such! Take care!