For many of us, one of our most cherished childhood memories involves spending time with a beloved family pet. While dogs and cats are often the go-to choice, some families choose to adopt more unusual pets, such as reptiles. Ed Taoka and his daughter Emi are one such family. When Emi was just two years old, she was introduced to Cher, a Lavender Motley Sunfire Tiger reticulated python. Now 16 feet long, Cher and Emi have an inseparable bond.
While some people have expressed concern for Emi’s safety around such a large snake, Taoka explains that he carefully trained both Cher and Emi to respect each other. Taoka spent a great deal of time socializing Cher to human interaction, while teaching Emi to be gentle and respectful. He is also mindful of certain limitations, such as not allowing Emi to feed Cher until she is 16 years old.
Taoka acknowledges that many people have a negative perception of large constrictors like Cher. However, he argues that these animals have a gentle nature and can form unique bonds with humans. Despite the criticism he has received, Taoka is committed to ensuring that his daughter is safe while also fostering her love for animals. He believes that Cher and Sonny, their other pet python, offer Emi a rare and valuable experience.
In a world where dogs and cats are the norm, Taoka and his family’s decision to adopt a python may seem unusual. However, their story is a testament to the unique bonds that can form between humans and animals. While it may not be for everyone, Taoka and Emi’s story reminds us that there are many different ways to experience the joy of pet ownership.