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IN SUPPORT OF KEEPING LARGE CONSTRICTORS PRIVATELY


Large snakes have seemed to come to the forefront of much controversy in many states and counties as venomous snakes did a few years ago.There have been highly publisized events reguarding Burmese and Reticulated pythons recently,including some photos of large snakes constricting or eating humans on the internet.These photos may possibly be doctored however many seem to not care and love their shock value.A few years ago I remember the highly publisized Reticulated python in Indonesia who had been terrorizing a village eating 10 or 11 people.This snake was captured after killing and eating a new born infant and then stragulating but failing to eat its mother.On the front page of tabloids across America and the world lay a mutilated retic with a full stomach with a supposed baby inside.The story told how reticulated pythons that weigh 200 plus pounds climb in trees and pounce on unsuspecting humans!Nothing could be further from the truth but shock value always takes precedents in the news over actual truth.In the Vivarium magazine I saw that they actually did cut the snake open to reveal a small gazelle or the like however I did not see those photos in magazines only the ones with the terrible bulge of an infant.Imagine the discredibility this does for the photographer when truth rears its head.Recent photos are taken in which retics are pictured either swallowing or digesting human prey.Again photographers do not want to be suspected of fraud so they make these "fake" photos as real as possible so as not to have a bad reputation.Now I am not saying a 200 pound wild retic in Indonesia may mistake at night a small human for prey and may strike or attack I am just saying that most of the photos regaurding such incidents are fake.Because of these and some other accidents that may have happened here in the states some local governments have determined that these and other snakes of the boid family that are totally harmless to humans, but officials could care less, are banned from private ownership.The only reason laws like this are put in place are because a few people in the community fear snakes the fear of snakes is the reason for these laws not fact!My little brother was afraid of dogs because he was attacked by the neighbors chow chow.Just because he was attacked and is now "AFRAID" of dogs like many people are of snakes does that mean the community should not keep mans best friend?A definate potential threat to your life?No neither should we be deprived of our hobby because of ignorance.I have listed below why such laws are not justified and facts that support private ownership.

1-From the captive success of breeding the albino burmese and the availability of retics either wild caught or captive born we see that there may be well over 1 million of these animals in the private sector.Of that huge number of animals I can only recall maybe 2 or 3 incidents of death regaurding a "pet" burmese.And only one of which was from a reticulated python.From 1960 or so there have only been maybe 5 deaths from a burmese python or reticulated python.Every year thousands are bitten or killed by the domestic dog who I will cover a little below.

2-An escaped burmese or other large constrictor is of no danger to neighbors or others in the community.WHY?Typically a constrictor can strike about 1/4 its length which means the maximum jump of a 20 foot retic could only be about 5 feet.No doubt even if it could leap 50% its length it could only leap 10 feet!You would have to be mighty close to a retic to have it grab you from that distance right?

3-Snakes are not fast moving animals maximum speed of a 20 foot snake would be only between 2 and 5 miles an hour.Humans can walk that fast!It would be no problem just to walk away from any so called dangerous "escaped" snake.

4-Snakes are not pursuers as stated above maximum speed is about 5 miles per hour however boids do not pursue prey a snake will not chase you to eat you!Even if it did which it would not you could walk faster than it would crawl after you.Also snakes can not strike unless the front of the body is in a crouched back position a snake on the move is stretched out and would be absolutely unable to jump forward at anything.

5-Snakes are on this earth to rid us of rodent and small animal populations they do not predate on humans!Even a super large retic lying on the ground would know a human is too large to eat!The attacks that have occurred in Indonesia have occured usually at night and on very small people usually children or small adults who happen to wander over into long grass and probably bend over towards the unseen snake so the snake can catch the head or upper body.A snake can not constrict a human around the waist!!In any case it is an accident and incedents are so super rare!

6-An escaped snake is a scared snake.Not knowing the confines of its surroundings puts a snake on its guard against predators.Not looking to be a predator.An escaped scared snake will either first defense run in the opposite direction of any human or animal or if it is molested meaning you have to go up and try and touch the snake it will strike and bite but it will NOT constrict!Constriction is not typically used as a defense mechanism.

7-Of the incidents that have occured regaurding constriction of humans all have been a result of stupidity of the individual keeping the snake.Usually they were kept free roaming in a house with a rabbit loose or were the result of bad feeding techniques.Either way the experienced keeper and even most novices know how to avoid such problems.

8-A keeper may be mistaken for food and that would be the only reason a snake will constrict a human.A snake may mistake a keeper for food if it is not out of its enclosure.Once a snake is picked up and out of the enclosure the possibility of being mistaken for food is very very remote.The possibility of being bitten is still high but bites are not usually serious unless the snake is 12 foot or over.

9-The only snakes that can possibly be a threat to a human would be the reticulated python,Burmese python,African Rock python or the green Anaconda.The fab four.Boas and other smaller boids can not even be consdidered a threat and should not be held in the law if such law exists in the same catogory with the fab four!

10-The only one in danger of a large constrictor is its handler who interacts with his or her possession.Not unlike handguns,motorcycles,skydivers,raft runners and the like.They are in no way endangering the life of the next door neighbors.The possibility of a 15 foot 100 pound snake escaping its enclosure and THEN escaping out of the house where it is kept is so remote I doubt if it even happens!An escaped boid outside was the result of the snake either taken outside and purposely let loose or an escaped sunbather that the owner overlooked.If laws are in place against large snakes may I suggest not a ban on keeping them but a ban on taking them outside such as with the recent pit bull laws.There is absolutely really no reason to take your large constrictor outside and no reason to show it off walking down the street!!Such behavior is irresponsible and does not reflect on the snake but the keeper.

11-Many lawmakers beleive that large snakes are a threat to bite or kill a community member and they ban all large snake ownership.Fact is there have only been about 5 deaths attributed to large snakes in the U.S.A. in about 20 years.Fact-dogs bite 4.5 MILLION people a year and attribute at least 20 deaths a year.What is more logical to ban?

If such laws are being proposed in your county contact the legislative attourneys at the vivarium magazine!You may be able to block such a law or help design a law that allows you to keep them responsibly!We all need to stand together on this and all other restrictive laws that WILL be proposed in the future not just on large snakes but all reptiles.Many would like to see a total ban on all pet ownership do not support animal rights groups!!

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