Originally Posted by MiamiCracker
Good advice all around but everybody says the same thing......"work with a mentor"....
Just an observation. May not be valid, but I thought I'd put it out there-
You have very few posts. I don't know from the snake mentor community, but I've helped my share of people along the way.
If you maybe posted more, and hung in chat a few evenings a week, you might run into someone.
Also, it might be a two way street. You say that potential mentors only want free labor. It certainly would be taking advantage of you if you were asked to clean snake cages and never got ANY help. Yet, look at it this way. I imagine mentoring venomous might be a careful, time intensive apprenticeship and after an evening of helping you, if the mentor still has to clean cages it isn't so much to ask that you pitch in.
A long time ago there was this movie called The Karate Kid, where the old Sensai mentored a young grasshopper. I recall that some of the preparations required of the youngster seemed unrelated to his goal, like the request to wax the old man's car, yet later in the movie the same muscles developed by waxing were helpful in the karate moves.
Likewise, cleaning cages of venomous might not be so unrelated as you think, I'm thinking that a lot of care and thought goes into even the most mundane chores when working with critters like these.
Good luck, hope you find someone to help.