In Memory...


To My Best Friend...

Sobek was a 6 year old, 5 foot long, 15 pound female West African Nile Monitor (Varanus Niloticus) from Senegal. While most Nile Monitors are defensive and do not like people, Sobek was different and came to love being handled and socialized with her family and friends. She was an ambassador for many to the world of intelligent reptiles and liked kids and adults alike. She spent hours every day for her last 3 years of life by my side as my best friend and my companion. She enjoyed the company and friendship of my wife and four children, and even spent time playing with our oldest Savannah Monitor, "Little Girl" who she grew up with over the years. She recognized friends of the family and would happily greet them if they came to sit on the couch.

Sobek was more than a lizard. She was a part of our family. None of us and none of those that knew her on a regular basis will ever forget her. She traveled with us, she went fishing and swimming with us, she even ate with us on many occasions and slept in our bed on hot summer nights. She was house broken and loved to curl up in your lap or lay with you just to look at whatever was on the television.

On the days my wife would get out of bed before me, she would let Sobek out of her vivarium and she'd come down the hall, climb into our bed and nuzzle my ear, flicking her tongue in it to wake me up. Then she would lay with me for up to 20 minutes while I woke up before taking her to the den to hang out.

In 2014, she laid a clutch of 21 eggs. Of course they were infertile, but she didn't want anyone touching them except for me. 'Dad' was allowed to remove the eggs, but it still made her act sad and mope around for days after. Soon after this, we brought home "Akil", a baby Nile Monitor, and Sobek, against what science would tell you and nature has proven, took him under her chin, not as food, but as an adopted son. They had a special relationship and any time I got Akil out to play, I would take him to Sobek's window, open it and say "Sobie, I got that baby of yours!" and she would run to the window to see him. In the days leading up to her passing, Akil was restless and slept standing up in the corner of his cage closest to Sobek's vivarium... he has never done this before, nor since Sobek's death. People will tell you reptiles don't form any kind of bonds, but I believe otherwise in special circumstances. She also made a point to come to me and rest her head in my lap when I was visibly upset or crying. Even when she was so very sick, I cried for her to be okay and she tried her very best to comfort me.

On 9/11/2016, after 2 weeks of not eating and being very lethargic, I drove her through the night, all the way to AEC in Novi (from Houghton Lake, MI) for exploratory surgery where they found her digestive system to be torn and necrotic. They did everything they could, but she would have never made a recovery. It was my decision to let her go in peace, rather than wake her from surgery just to pass away in more pain. I feel like I have lost a huge part of my soul, just as one would losing a human child. I will never recover from her loss. She was the sweetest girl I ever knew and will forever be a piece of my heart I can not get back.

Sobek was so unique, not just for a reptile, or even an animal, but as a living thing in general, that I could tell her stories for hours on end, but I will close this text by saying, Sobie Girl, daddy loves you so much, wherever you may be, and we all thank you for years of love and kindness, teaching and learning, happiness, laughs and memories to last us the rest of our lives. We all miss you so much. You were truly one of a kind! Rest now, my sweet girl.

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