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Old 01-31-03, 08:51 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Are you ready for a big snake?

This could have gone in the snake forums but it could have gone in a bunch of them so I will just post it here......
Are you ready for a “big snake”?

That is the question that you will need to ask yourself before you go and purchase many of the boids, pythons and boas, that are readily available in pet shops. Many of the snakes are sold to people that don’t know what they are getting themselves into and the snake ends up being neglected or dead because the buyer isn’t into snakes anymore or never researched to find out how to take care of the snake. If the snake is lucky, the owner may have taken it into a rescue facility where the snake may end up being euthanized or, hopefully, put up for adoption.

Here are a few questions that might change your mind about making the “big” purchase:

Q: Do you know what it takes to handle a snake that is 10’ or longer?

Before a large boid is purchased, handle one that is of at least adult size and get a feel for what you are getting your self into. A common boa can get to be anywhere from 7’ to 12’ as an adult. Reticulated Pythons, Burmese Pythons, and Anacondas have the potential of getting much bigger than that! Even a “little” snake like a 6’ Boa has more strength than a lot of people realize. Large snake should only be handled by two or more people, as they can very quickly over power even an adult.

Q: Are you ready to make a commitment of 20-30 years to an animal that is not going to meet you at your door when you get home or play fetch?

Most boids will live 20 years or longer if they are cared for properly.

Q: Do you have enough room in your home to house a cage that is 5’ wide x 2’ deep or larger?

Using the minimum requirements for a snake of 1 square foot of cage space per foot of snake an adult boa at 8’ is going to need 8 square feet of cage space. A cage for that cute little Burmese as an adult is going to take a minimum of 6’ x 3’, 18 square feet, of your precious floor or storage space.

Q: Are you ready to make the monetary investment required to feed and maintain the snake for it’s entire life?

Properly caring for any reptile can get expensive, but large boids are going to have special needs. Feeding alone can get very expensive, a 6’ Boa Constrictor is going to eat, at a minimum, a jumbo adult rat that will cost approximately $5.00 for a frozen one at the local pet store. That $5.00 every 10 to 14 days can start to add up. Caging is going to be another concern, when that cute little Burmese Python hits 16’ it is going to need a minimum of 16 SF of floor space. Add to the feeding and caging the costs of: veterinary care (minimum $30 to $35 for a quick check up), medications if needed, thermometers, hygrometers, heat lamps ($5.00 to $8.00 each), special bulbs ($5.00-$8.00), substrate, mite treatment, water bowls, cage decorations, the additional electric bill for cage heating, the list goes on and on. Reptiles in general are not as cheap to keep as many would think!

Q: Can you handle looking at, handling, or even killing, mice, rats, guinea pigs, or even small pigs?

Some of the items that you are going to have to feed your snake were once those cute little fuzzy things that people kept as pets. Now they are probably dead and frozen, or you may have to do the killing yourself. For the benefit of your snake you need to feed it frozen/thawed food or at least freshly killed prey items. (Frozen/Thawed is a prey item that has been “put to sleep” most commonly by CO2 gas then packaged and frozen.) Frozen/Thawed is by far the safest way to feed the snake as a live prey item can kill the snake in no time at all. In the rare event that the snake will not eat frozen/thawed putting a cute, fuzzy mouse or rat in a pillow case and whacking it on the wall to stun it is not exactly a pleasant thing to do.

Q: Have you researched and do you understand the husbandry requirements for the snake?

Every type of snake is going to have specific care requirements. You will need to know what your snake needs to thrive. Temperatures and humidity levels are different for different snakes, some types of substrate are good for one snake and not others, some cages are easier to maintain the husbandry requirements than others. DO YOUR RESEARCH and know what your snakes needs are BEFORE you buy the snake! The information is readily available on the internet, the forum in which you are reading this, books, magazines, ask questions, and talk to friends. There is no excuse not to know the needs of your snake.

The above questions and comments may sound like I am trying to dissuade you from buying a snake. I am not, but I do want you as a potential snake owner to understand that there is a lot more to owning a large snake than just tossing it in a cage and letting it be! Something to consider before buying from a pet store or breeder is adoption. There are many snakes that are available for adoption at little or no cost from rescue facilities. These facilities do not have an endless supply of funds or unlimited space so please consider it as an option to buying. Snakes and reptiles can and do make great pets but be responsible, do your research, and think long and hard about the commitment that you are making!
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Old 01-31-03, 08:56 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Excellent post my friend

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Old 01-31-03, 09:17 AM   #3 (permalink)
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great info!!

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Old 01-31-03, 09:50 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Very good post. I wish more people thought like that.
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Old 01-31-03, 09:53 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Excellent add, my friend has a 24 foot Retic, she's at least the width of a telephone pole, at this size they stop looking at you as a threat and more as a food item.

His retic hits a jumbo rabbit like a freight train(the force of this has to be witnessed to be believed) and slurps them up in seconds. A person would stand no chance. I don't think 5 people could pull this snake off if it had someone coiled. It is a dangerous, dangerous animal.

A retic of this size is no different than keeping a black mamba, or an adult nile croc. These are people killers, and only the most experienced, with the room and ability to keep and handle such animals should even consider owning them.

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Old 01-31-03, 10:45 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Excellent post, stormyva! :thumbsup:

Think you'd need at least 20 people to pull one of those 6 full grown men haven't been able to pry a 10' burm off someone in the past

It's really frightening to see the power of these animals taken for granted so often (or at all for that matter). I cringe whenever I see people wearing these animals around their necks. Even if they could be dropped before they could suffocate, they could still break that persons neck instantly
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Old 01-31-03, 10:48 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Great post...that should be posted in any pet store that sells snakes.
If there is anything the nonconformist hates worse than a conformist, it's another nonconformist who doesn't conform to the prevailing standard of nonconformity.
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Old 01-31-03, 11:42 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Another thing to ask your self, since you're going to have a two person snake are you going to be with some one for the 30 years you're going to have the snake?
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Old 01-31-03, 12:06 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Two thumbs up!

Great post
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Old 01-31-03, 01:47 PM   #10 (permalink)
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That is an excellent post! one of the best i've seen in a while! Most people don't realize "I have a 14 foot burm... well at least it's not poisonous.." they don't understand if you got within 2 feet of a cobra it will hit you... if you get within 4 feet of a 14' burm. it could kill you before you had time to open your mouth to scream. Many people here are going to disagree with me . But i feel that you should need to attend classes and aquire a license to own a snake that will on average grow over 10 feet. Kids around here go with their $80 .. $100 and get a baby burm yea it's cute and about the size of a ball python.. but that snake will eat your young... Sorry i'm going crazy. I just can't stand it.
Linds is right the other day i was driving down US1 a large highway here in america. On the side of the road at a gas station i saw a SMALL guy .. he was tall about 6' but weighed about 110.. and he had this HUGE burm around his neck .. went from one ankle to his other knee after circling his shoulders. I was sickened. With the noise of the cars, and the stress of being outside that snake is probably freaking out. If he has the balls to do that, he would have the balls to play tag with a gabby. I promise.. one more rant and i'm done.
Also, Pet stores NEED to take responsibility. That shouldn't NEED to, but they do. Right now i can go into a local shop and get a retic for around $150. There is NO WAY i can care for that snake in a few years. The pet shop owner doesn't even ask. They always say "cash or credit?" not "do you realize this snake will be able to over power you in a few years?!" it isn't their responsibility technically. But take some pride in your animals. You wouldn't give a dalmation to cruella deville why would you give a snake that has the potential to get 20' to a 12 year old holding a 10 gallon tank ... GOD I HATE PEOPLE.... alright man .. i'm done..

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Old 01-31-03, 01:56 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Good point Pythonian. I think that some sort of "licencing" should be required will almost any pet. But anyway, some very valid points in this thread so far.
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Old 01-31-03, 02:12 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Agree. It really irks me when you see people with breeding groups of these animals which is fine because they know the proper methods, but then they sell the young off to whoever responds to their ads. Letting 30 burmese or reticulated pythons go "out into the world" through internet ads really bothers me.

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Old 01-31-03, 04:30 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Great post!! That really gets down to what people really need to think about before getting a large boid. Excellent!!!
Who are you callin' a freak?!
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Old 01-31-03, 06:29 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Wow, Great Post! I passed because I did all that stuff b4 I got my boa! Including having experience with an adult boa..
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Old 01-31-03, 09:07 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Did you write that post, or did Melissa Kaplan write it?
"To truly rescue an animal one has to provide long-term care that guarantees the animal's security for its natural life, because rescuing is more than removing an animal from a bad situation. Rescue involves restoring and preserving the animal's dignity for its natural life without stress, and this includes conserving the species as a whole for generations to come." (Brian Werner, founder TMLF / TCWR)
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