Dad claims his little girl is ‘lucky’ to have such a close relationship with a 16-foot python
Emi and Cher the snake have known each other since Emi was 2-years-old.
D.G. Sciortino

Some little girls have tea parties with teddy bears.

Emi has tea parties with pythons.

A 16-ft python named Cher to be exact.

Emi and Cher are best buddies.

And it’s been that way for a while.

“Over the years they’ve grown together,” Emi’s dad and Cher’s owner Ed Taoka told The Dodo.

“They’re just very used to each other’s company. When I introduced Emi to Cher, Emi was about 2-years-old and Cher was quite a tiny snake.”

But a lot has changed since then. The girls have grown quite a bit since then.

“My daughter would just hold Cher in her hand at the time, but now Cher’s so big she couldn’t even lift her up.”

Cher and Emi have total trust in each other.

And lots of fun because of it. Emi likes to let Cher crawl up over her head and body.

It makes Emi giggle quite a bit when she comes slithering by.

You can also find the two cuddling together or Cher just wrapped around Emi when she lounges with her headphones while she’s on the computer.

“Cher likes to chill on my daughter quite a lot,” Taoka explains.

“She’ll just come up onto the couch and rest on my daughter through most of it.”

But Taoka had to let these two build trust before they became so close.

“As a parent, I had to make sure that Cher was tame and sociable to be held,” he said.

“I spent every day, multiple times a day, with Cher, just getting her used to human interaction. On the other front, I needed to make sure my daughter genuinely knew how to be gentle. As soon as she understood what she need to do, no grabbing no poking, just being gentle and respectful that’s all I needed form her, was to behave how I behave. And she proved that to me.”

Now, these two are besties for life. There are some rules though.

Emi isn’t allowed to be left with Cher alone.

There is always an adult supervising. She’s also not allowed to feed Cher until she’s older.

“When I’m 16,” Emi explains.

Taoka hopes that Emi and Cher’s relationship can help eliminate stereotypes about large snakes.

He says Cher is as gentle as they get. His cats are actually more aggressive than Cher.

“No one gets to see the good nature of these animals and what they’re really like when they’re not being stressed out,” Taoka says. “As soon as a large constrictor is shown with anything, it’s always a bad negative perception. The snakes haven’t bitten us, the cats have bitten us and scratched us. Cher is probably the most gentle snake I’ve ever owned.”

Taoka says he recognizes what a special opportunity his daughter has.

He says that she’s lucky to get to have this close relationship with such a creature.

“She gets to experience the true giants of the species and she has a very rare and unique relationship with them.”

Emi thinks her friendship with Cher is pretty special too.

“I love you Cher,” she says as she hugs her snake.

And it seems like Cher knows this to be true too. Learn more about Emi and Cher’s adorable relationship and see how cute they are together in the video below.

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