When Milton High School freshman Emma Grebe says she has pet snakes, people usually freak out or say they are never coming over to her house.

Emma grew up with them. Her mom (Sam) knew that her dad (Tedd) had them when they got married.

“I was never taught to be scared of them,” Emma said.

She loves them.

“They are amazing pets. They are super easy to take care of,” she said, adding, “it’s a great conversation started when people find out you own six snakes.”

Nearly everyone in the family has one of their own.

Jack, a Pueblan milk snake, is Emma’s. Oreo, a rosy boa, belongs to her bother Everett, 8. Sunshine, an albino corn snake, is her older brother Ethan’s. (He’s 16.) Buddy, an African house snake, belongs to Eliza, 11. Her dad has had Max, a ball python, since he was in high school. Ducky, an albino ball python, is a family snake (or her dad’s).

They came mostly from breeding shows or “snake shows,” as the Grebe family calls them.

Do snakes have personalities?

“Yes, all of my snakes have very different personalities,” she said. “I had to learn which of my snakes like to be held by little kids. Some don’t. Some will sit with you forever. Others would rather be outside in the sun.”

Have your snakes ever gotten out?

“I don’t like telling people that our snakes have gotten out but they have,” she said. “They only get out if one of my younger siblings forgets to shut the door or lock it.”

Once her snake was found in her mom’s closet.

Buddy was lost for a couple of days.

“He came up out of the couch and sat next to my dad,” she said.

Do snakes kind of have a bad reputation that they don’t deserve?

“Yes,” she said. “My snakes know when we are feeding them and when we are just taking them out to handle them or play with them. My snakes have only ever bitten someone for a good reason or a misunderstanding.”

If there is one thing that everyone should know, she said it is that snakes are like all other animals. They will only harm you if they are threatened.

When people first get pet snakes, she said they often get babies and the feeding and handling is different. They often get rid of their snakes before they learn how to take care of them, she said.

In the wild, snakes may always feel threatened by people.

“Many snakes look like each other, but one can be venomous and one can be non-venomous,” she said.

“Bottomline: never pick up any animals in the wild.”

Emma, with the help of her family, educates people about snakes. Slithering Snakes recently was at the Milton Public Library and is available for school presentations, birthday parties and other events.

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