Hissy’s the man of the house By Liz Rogers

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Hissy’s a big boy! He’s more than 3m long and weighs 10kg. Recently, after owners Stahle and Tahlia forgot to close his tank before they went to bed, he was found curled up in the morning under paperwork in the office drawer. Just snoozing with a trail of destruction behind him. Things overturned and out of place. Hisssssss!

At nine years old, this coastal carpet python who lives in Rye is very well-loved. Given to Tahlia by her dad when she was six years old as a Christmas present, Hissy arrived in a hessian bag with “wide open eyes” and in the mood for a snuggle. Stahle explains. “At first I was horrified because we had no idea how to look after a snake and I didn’t want to look after a pet because we travelled so much, but within a few hours he’d become the love of our lives. We called him Hissy because he made all these different hissing sounds that would give us an indication of whether or not what we were doing was a good or bad thing. We did our best and muddled through. Once we got into a routine and designed a proper house for him with the right tank temperature and sourced a reliable expert to get advice from, he became more than a pet; he became the man of the house.”

For some of us the thought of having a snake in the house gives us the shudders, but this giant carpet python has given Stahle and Tahlia some of the most memorable times of their lives. “We used to take him on walks to the supermarket in Rye and I took him to work in Sorrento when he was smaller. Most people loved him although a small minority were upset. We also did annual school visits to teach children and adults how to look after snakes properly. We don’t take him out now because he is so long he can be in more than one place at a time. He still loves his walks around the house or in the garden though.”

Stahle says snakes are gentle creatures and are not to be feared. There were a few bites early on in their relationship, which Stahle says were entirely their fault, but other than that Hissy — who eats either a rabbit or extra-large rat once every six weeks — has only given them joy. He now hops on the bed and hangs on the couch with them.

“We love him so much but respect that he is a wild animal — and a big one at that! We look forward to spending the next 20 years or so with him.”

Wonder how big he’ll be then?


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