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Snuggly snake slithers into trouble

Meet Nines, Catherine Nguyen’s s-s-s-lithering serpent.

Catherine and her boyfriend adopted Nines after years of caring for pet hamsters and a rescued lobster (exotic pets indeed!).

“I was kind of drawn toward exotics for a while … I wanted a pet that just lived forever,” Catherine recalls.

“I was following a bunch of YouTube channels on snakes and snake carers for a while and there was one channel that rescued and rehabbed them from across the country. Nines came from that guy’s rescue … he was just like this pretty snake, bright white, little teddy bear eyes—and I just fell in love.”

One afternoon, Nines got a little too snuggled up on Catherine’s wrist—and found himself tangled up in her hefty bracelet, leading to this Hambone-nominated emergency.

What happened?

“So, for context, that bracelet, it’s a Vietnamese thing,” Catherine says. “It’s a stone jade bracelet. It’s like a coming-of-age thing … it stays on your arm forever.”

She adds, “I can’t take it off my own wrist without breaking my hand. It’s there until I die.

“So, with Nines, I was hanging out with him … just spacing out and then he crawls his head through my bracelet. There’s not a lot of room here,” she says, indicating the space between her bracelet and wrist. “Again, this is not meant to come off—ever.

“I’m like ‘Okay, you need to get out.’ So, I was trying to poke his head a little bit to get him to go out, but as soon as I poke it, he squeezes in more. I was like ‘Oh, my god,’ and panic starts setting in.

“By the time a third of his body was in—it happened really fast—I couldn’t shove him out and I also can’t shove him through it.

“It was pretty distressing and as we were trying to figure this out, he makes a shove through as hard as he can, and I hear a bunch of cracking sounds.”

Frantic, the couple left for the emergency veterinarian immediately. Nines, unaware of where he was going and suddenly out in the world, panicked, and pushed backward through the bracelet until he was out.

Fortunately, once Nines was checked out at the vet, he came away with no serious injuries. Despite the frightful cracking sounds, he hadn’t broken any bones.

“So, I was like, ‘Does he have bruising or anything?’ and [the vet] said ‘No, he’s fine. He has a very good personality—all our staff liked him!’”

How Nationwide helped

Caring for exotic pets isn’t easy. Having Nationwide there to help means a lot to Catherine.

“It has definitely given me peace of mind in taking them in [to the vet] whenever there’s like any concern…. There’s been so many unpredictable things that have happened that are just out of my control or scope of care.”

She adds, “I see a lot of posts where people’s snakes, they’re like, ‘Does this need vet attention?’ and it very clearly obviously does—and a bunch of comments are like, ‘Oh, no, it’s expensive.’ I can’t relate … it’s nice to have that ease of mind that I’m not scared to take them to get the treatment they need if cost is the only barrier.”

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