Snakes and more

Trip Start Jan 14, 2013
Trip End Apr 11, 2013

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Flag of Costa Rica  , Alajuela,
Thursday, February 7, 2013

Two nights ago, Vivian become paranoid about snakes.

Depending on which source you believe, there are between 18 and 22 venomous snakes in Costa Rica.  Most of these snakes live in the bush and are nocturnal.  One hundred percent of these snakes want nothing to do with you or me or any animal it can't swallow.  However, because we like to "visit" their homes, or because they are hungry and like to "visit" our homes, our worlds sometimes collide.  
So I may have overemphasized the need for Vivian to be vigilant about snakes.  However, we are in serious snake territory here in Arenal--they are a genuine concern.         

But things really got out of hand when Vivian recently found a photo in a book of a man with a gruesome snake bite.  She asked me what happened to him, and in hindsight, I should have lied, but I told her truthfully that he had been bitten by a snake.  This man had been traipsing through the jungle barefoot at night when he stepped on a large Bushmaster, one of the most venomous snakes in the country.  All day I was peppered with Vivian's questions about the man.  Why was he walking barefoot?  Why was he in the jungle?  Why was he out at night? What kind of snake bit him?  That night at bedtime, Vivian was too scared to sleep because she remembered me saying that the really bad snakes came out at night.  She was worried a bad snake would end up in bed with her.  All the reassurances in the world did not comfort her.

Perhaps this falls into the category of unorthodox parenting, but we decided to take her to the Snake Zoo the following morning.  This had been on our list of things to do anyway, as it is less than 1 kilometer from our house.  Despite the previous evening's terror, Vivian boldly marched into the snake zoo and immediately demonstrated herself as the curious and brave girl we know.  She held frogs, caterpillars, butterflies, and yes, even snakes without reservation.  

That night as I tucked her into bed, she started in again on how she was too scared to sleep because of the snakes, but I reminded her that she had been holding a snake just a few hours earlier.  After a pause, she laughed at herself, rolled over and went to sleep. 

Click here to see a video of Vivian holding a snake (and laughing while doing so).
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