Wow, this turned into quite an interesting debate! I wanted to share the story of my snake, Bandula, and how I came to own him.
For those of you who don't know, I run Samba's Reptile Rescue in New Mexico. One day I received a call from a woman who had found a large snake near the UNM campus, and she was afraid that it had escaped from a student's dorm room. She bravely caught this (thankfully docile) creature and called me to come pick him up. Unfortunately, in trying to find someone to pick him up, she'd called the Humane Society as well. They came to investigate shortly after I arrived and they wanted to remove this beautiful, innocent, tame and outgoing animal so that it could be euthanized. This snake wasn't even going to get the CHANCE to be claimed by his owner, or find a new home. I talked them into letting me take this gorgeous burmese python with the intent of finding him a home with someone who was experienced and who could house such an animal. I fell in love with this animal, and I feel pity for the previous owner because they did lose a uniquly personable pet. (He's MINE now!!!!) ::evil grin:: J/K
It has been speculated that the python escaped from his enclosure, or was set free by the owner.... In either case the owner would seem neglectful and undeserving of such a pet. Had Bandula, (as I later named him), been an aggressive or fearful animal he might have easily hurt or even killed someone. (At the time of his 'capture' he was 9 feet in length). This is the reason why we should lobby for bans on 'unapproved' reptile owners. Reptiles themselves make great pets, and aren't the problems... the owners are. I agree with Chuck 100% in that it is our responsibility to make sure that no one comes into contact with our animals if they do not wish. Stricter laws should been in place regarding WHO can own reptiles, not WHAT reptiles are deemed 'okay.' Stories like Bandula's terrify people and makes it hard for 'legit' reptile keepers to enjoy their companions of choice.