An unfortunate story out of Florida last week brings up an issue I feel very strongly about — responsible snake ownership.
A 2 year old girl in Oxford, Fla. died when an 8 foot pet Burmese python owned by her mother’s boyfriend escaped from a terrarium and strangled the child to death.
My girlfriend, Sarah, has a pet store, and reptiles are one of her specialties. She’s always been a big fan of snakes and lizards, and I too am fascinated by them. Sarah doesn’t carry Burmese or reticulated pythons. Both species are common in the pet industry, and they grow to lengths of 15 feet or more.
What people don’t realize is that owning a snake that size isn’t much different from owning a leopard or grizzly bear. They are capable of hurting or killing a human and should be kept only by professionals or others who are very experienced.
If you are interested in keeping a snake as a pet, I would highly recommend sticking with something smaller. Corn snakes and king snakes grow to about five feet. If you want a python, try a ball python. They look similar to larger pythons but stay a manageable four feet. All of these snaked tend to have good temperaments and make good pets.
Because they stay a reasonable size, they also can be kept in a decent-sized aquarium. Larger snakes need huge enclosures that can be very expensive.
If you insist on owning a large snake, do your homework and know what you are getting into. And for goodness sake, keep the snake in a secure area where it absolutely can’t reach children.
- Staff Writer Bryan Dean