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Old 06-03-03, 02:30 PM   #1 (permalink)
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kids handling herps?

How old do you think a child should be to start handling reptiles. Lets talk about something safe like a ball python.
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Old 06-03-03, 02:36 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I would think around 6. Then you could tell them how to hold it and what to/not to do and it wouldn't just fly right through one ear and out the other.
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Old 06-03-03, 03:16 PM   #3 (permalink)
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My husbands' cousins' wife runs a dayhome and we let the 2-3 year olds handle the corn snake with supervision every once in a while.
They are to wash their hands before and after and they are to be really *gentle*.
This seems to go over really well and they enjoy it a lot.
It think that it is best to start early as a 6 year old will already have a reaction/response ingrained in their heads from their parents.
The 2-3 year olds are WAY better with the snake than most of the older kids, who shreek and say "gross" and think that the snake is slimy and is going to bite them. (brainwashing starts early...)
Its best to start early IMHO...
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Old 06-03-03, 03:36 PM   #4 (permalink)
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It depends on the child and type of handling. You can start the smaller children (2-3 years old) off by holding their hand and petting the reptile with it and graduate from there. Some kids are easier and listen better than others, some kids are just grabby no matter what. As Andrea mentioned, the handwashing is extremely important, those kids love to stick their fingers in their nose, eyes, and mouth... and it just takes one little bit of bacteria to give a kid salmonella. Also, the really nervous kids you will need to watch when letting them hold an animal on their own, if the snake (balls are especially bad for this) make a sudden head movemnt or jerk their bodies the kid may drop, or worse, thoss the little guy.
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Old 06-03-03, 03:38 PM   #5 (permalink)
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That is what I was gona say but you beat me too it I alwas told my self that when Baby would be born I would buy a ball python that same year. so they will be raised together and at 6 my kid will probebly be helping us move the burms and stuff.....LOL not realy but I would like to teach it a a young age.
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Old 06-03-03, 04:07 PM   #6 (permalink)
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i am 13 soon ot be 14 and i just started field herping.all i catch right now when i go are mostly all garter species and Northern water snakes and once in a while i will look for bullsnakes.i think these herps are pretty safe except the garters and water snakes can get aggresive at times.i think these are good starter snakes but thats just my opinion.
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Old 06-03-03, 04:39 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I agree with andrea children should be intoduced young before the brainwashing. Its sadd kids are taught to hate and fear things when young to protect them but parents don't think of the long term effect. Like a kid like to go play with garter snakes in the yard, his dad fearing he might one day pick up a hott tell him " Son put that down now, they are posionunos and will kill you with a bite." The dad thinks that it will keep him from picking up snakes. It will of course but then he will fear snakes for the rest of his life, and so will all his frinds he goes and tells the same thing. Once this thaught is put into ones head its hard to get out. Like once I was a somone house and he had some slightly venomous snakes, I didt know it at the time he asked if I wanted to handle them I say yes and I hold them great snakes loved them called maylasian green tree viper I think. Ne wayz later while I'm still holding he sais their hotts I immediatly get sacred and want them out of my hands.
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Old 06-03-03, 06:53 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I feel it depends on the child. we let my cousins 6 month old touch (not hold) the harmless end of our burmese python under supervision to make sure she doesn't put the snakes tail in her mouth. We have 3 adults for this, one to wrangle the child, 2 for the snake. I wouldn't let her handle a corn snake (can you say squish?) or a similarly sized snake. Of course we would never do anything with a venomous snake.
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Old 06-03-03, 07:08 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Don't shout me for this picture. I took this when my daughter was about 14 months old.(with my most trusted snake)
I did use a baby ball python and this IJ as her first touch/holdings. Growing up on a small animal farm my daughter has been around critters since day one. She just turned 2 last week and my biggest problem with her and animals is NO FEAR of anything. We start are days cutting fruits and veggies for the torts and us. She handles mice much better than me, and at a year old she "tailed" her first one(when my back was turned). Loves the hedgehogs, and how they prickle up.

Like most have said it is all depends on your place in the cosmos.


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Old 06-03-03, 07:45 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I also believe that it's important to get kids used to herps early... my goddaughter is already in love with my leos, and she's only 18 months... her first experience with them was when she was 14 months. She hasn't held one yet, but she's been allowed to touch them with guidance. Same with my snakes.. mostly looking, she's fascinated by them, and a little bit of guided touching. She adores the geckos especially, so cute to hear her saying "gecko! gecko!" when we take them out, and then "bye bye gecko" when we put them away
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Old 06-03-03, 07:52 PM   #11 (permalink)
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My kids were allowed to handle certain snakes at about 2 years old +/- 6 months. I tell them that they have to sit on the floor and put their hands out. I also tell them not to touch the snakes head and to only touch its back. Now when other kids come by the house my kids will tell them the proper rules.

I always have my hands either on the snake at the same time as the child or very near by. With two unpredictable animals in the scenario who knows what can happen!
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Old 06-03-03, 08:20 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Well I agree with the general beginner-herper age of two years old. However even at 12 weeks old on a field herping camping trip my youngest son "held" a wild Eastern Fox Snake on Pelee Island. haha

My kids are unpredictable at the best of times so when handling animals I need to take extra precautions to avoid damaging the animals. I don't have any animals that would currently pose a danger to my children (except maybe the ball python if I left him alone with it and it got wrapped around his neck...but really, that's not about to happen!).

With babies, I've held their hand closed around my thumb so they could feel the snakes with the backs of their hands...but they need to be washed like the other kids' hands as replied above to avoid contaminating themselves afterwards.

I think one of the most important and yet unmentioned aspect of children holding animals is that children may refuse if desired. I always state that they don't have to do it if they don't want to, to take the pressure off. Often a hesitant child will be inclined to give touching it a try after they see other kids interacting with the animal.

Another common concern for me is having my snakes stepped on (knock on wood!) so I encourage the kids to stand or sit still while handling. No running around and for goodness sake no scaring other kids (and especially adults) with the snakes!

It also helps if you know a little about the animal before you show a kid because some of them can give you a thorough examination! lol

haha Well BAZ, hope your daughter enjoys your water monitor!

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Old 06-03-03, 10:03 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I actually aquired my first herp when I was 4 years old (and she is still kicking around 18 years later)...
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Old 06-03-03, 10:09 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I think it depends on the child, I had turtles when I was 4 or 5, and snuck home a retic when I was about 10.

As long as the kid is supervised while holding the herp to make sure that both herp and kid are ok, everything should be fine.
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Old 06-03-03, 11:32 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I got my boa when my son was just under 4 yrs old and I let him hold him w/ supervision, he was fascinated. Kids are very curious and I think its good to start em off young if your gonna keep reptiles in the house. They need to learn about them and enjoy them..all the while..teaching them about risks involved as well. Now he is 5. Sometimes he makes sudden movments...or runs up to me when I am holding the boa(now at 6 ft)..and it freaks me out sometimes..but I just have to keep teaching him that he has to move slow when the snakes are out..and be very careful..because there is always a chance of the snake bitting..and I explain to him that if he gets bit..its gonna hurt really bad and he will bleed...this seems to get his attention and he starts acting careful again. My son really loves the BP we have...its about 2 1/2 - 3 feet and very very tame. I can totally trust him to handle it without my help (of course I stay close, just incase). He has really taken an interest in them and I'm sure he will be helping me more as he gets older.
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