There are some very dedicated herpetologists I know who keep large and 'hot' snakes.. not for me, but there are some people I can accept keeping them. They treat them with respect and work with them--for preservation, the creation of anti-venom, and educational purposes, not because they are 'cool'. They show such a high amount of respect for their animals, and do not try to handle them, they just give them proper care and work with people in the field about the snakes, often rescues from idiots who bought them, or saved from people trying to kill them for 'magical' uses in other countries. These are the people who do what zoos SHOULD do, keep animals safe, teach people about them, and give them the proper care they deserve. Honestly I've seen better home situations for reptiles then zoos.. A zoo by my old house actually had a small cage full of 4 beaten male iguanas and one very exhausted looking female! You wouldn't see that in a responsible herpetologist's home.
It has actually been herpetologists donating the venom of their reptiles that has helped scientists discover not only anti-venom, but other healing chemicals as well! I actually believe there is some toxic frog that they discovered helps heal muscle problems that is actually in a lot of medicine! Weird, huh? But these are a special breed of people, different from the normal person who just thinks cobras are 'awesome'
As far as large snakes, I don't agree with people getting them who aren't prepared. When I see a 16 year old who bought a burmese, I just shake my head cause I know that snake will be on craigslist the next year when it's already hit the size most common pet snakes get and is still growing fast!
If you want a large snake you need: experience, time, money, ROOM, people to help, EXPERIENCE, EXPERIENCE, EXPERIENCE, and a huge respect and love for the species! Not everyone who gets the large snakes don't know what to do with them, many responsible snake owners have large constrictors live their full lifespan happily and healthily, with a comfortable space to live, no possible escape for them to get into trouble, and enough food to keep them satisfied.
Big snakes aren't for everyone. There are very few who really can keep them, but I've seen people--adults with 18+ years of reptile hands-on experience who feel they can tackle it and want to, those people can. And it's sad because those people are the ones really being hurt by this!
The ones who shouldn't own large snakes are the ones most likely to purchase them illegally anyway, there's already a big enough black market for reptiles, I fear these laws will just push them to grow even more.
The only 'hot' I would ever keep is a rear fanged whip snake--it's venom is about as potent as a bee sting(although still could be deadly if you were allergic--but there have been no recorded deaths from these animals) But this would be years in the future, and I don't mean 4-5, I mean 10+ when I've been keeping reptiles for much longer and have the experience to handle the gorgeous creatures. Any of the true venomous.. Well, I'll just watch those from afar..and look at their pictures. Some of them are just breathtaking, but I would never in my life want to go near one.
My view: Irresponsible people are causing problems, and lack of education makes it worse. People don't realize that not all snakes get to enormous sizes, and that even the ones that do often never reach those sizes! Plus, the amount of people releasing their snakes in the wild is less than originally thought, blood tests have shown the majority of the snakes in the everglades are related--clearly from a single 'release' which they believe happened when a pet store ended up damaged in a storm or hurricane. It's frustrating to me because I actually research my animals, and while I do not have any of the 'dangerous' ones, I know how I would feel if my animals were taken away because of the idiots in society doing wrong, worsened further by the need for a good story in politics. Fear is a terrible thing when it is caused by the lack of knowledge.
Last edited by purplemuffin; 10-24-2010 at 02:46 AM.