Twenty-seven pet snakes helped Gourock man battle depression

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Nov 15, 2014 in Rat Answers | Subscribe

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Published: 15 Nov 2014 10:00

A GOUROCK man has told how his 27 pet SNAKES have been the secret therapy which has helped him battle depression.

Stuart and Lesley with a Royal Python.

Stuart Finan has suffered mental health problems since he was about 13 but insists he is feeling better than ever thanks to his pets.

His collection includes 15 royal pythons, seven corn snakes and five corn snake babies.

Stuart told the Telegraph: “For a long time I have suffered from depression and I do still get my down days, but the snakes have really helped.

“It’s something to take your mind off the thoughts you’re having and they give you something to focus on.

“I enjoy watching them and handling them — it’s quite relaxing.

“It also keeps me busy, as you have to clean them out and feed them.”

The 31-year-old, who lives with his girlfriend Lesley Hay in Henderson Terrace, says he has always been a fan of the reptiles.

He said: “I’ve always been fascinated by snakes as I wonder how something so small can swallow things so big.

“I bought my first one about 10 years ago.”

Stuart says he is used to people being alarmed by the snakes but stresses there is no need to be.

He said: “I’ve only ever been bitten once and it was my own fault, as I put my hand in to the hide without knowing where the snake was.

“You can imagine how scared the snake was to see this massive hand appear out of nowhere.

“Most people don’t realise how placid snakes are. As long as you remember that you have something which could hurt you and you treat them with respect then you will never get hurt.”

Stuart, who keeps the pets safely locked away in wooden vivariums and plastic boxes, says that one of his snakes did go missing last year while he staying in Greenock.

But after months ‘on the loose’ it eventually turned up — in his neighbour’s bag.

He said: “While I was staying in Ardgowan Street I was feeding the snakes and I turned round for two seconds and the snake had disappeared.

“We looked everywhere for it and but couldn’t find it anywhere.

“One month later the woman downstairs came round to say that she had found the snake in one of her bags after she had returned from a trip to England.

“She wasn’t sure if the snake had been in her bag the whole time she was away or whether it had snuck in when she returned!

“She was really calm about it and put the snake in a Tupperware box.”

Luckily for Stuart, his girlfriend Lesley also loves snakes and even feeds them frozen mice and rats once a week.

He said: “One of our friends also used to be petrified of coming to our house because of the snakes but as soon as she realised that they can’t hurt you she was fine — and now she has five snakes of her own.”

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