Snake handling is getting more an more attention as snakes are getting more and more popular. The most common snakes in pet stores are Burmese pythons (sub specie of Python molurus) or Reticulated pythons. They are easy to feed and therefore often highly recommended to snake beginners but people are often unaware how large and strong they might grow and difficult snakes to handle. These owners usually have no respect for nature but keep large constrictors for the sole reason of being cool. This snakes grow extremely fast and reache 3 meters in two to three years. The consequences are often tragic. In the last 20 years many attacks and at least 5 deaths have been reported in the United States alone. Some owners try controlling their size by not feeding them for weeks. A very hungry snake bites much faster and usually shows much more aggression so be careful when handling these snakes.
The problem of owning and handling large snakes
In March 2006, a 5 meter long boa escaped from a cage and crawled through an open window in the 3rd floor. The snake fall down on the bushes where a little girl was playing. She was found “hugged” when it was too late.
Snake owners will always have problems justifying their pet choice. Every snake accident like this is a big tragedy for the people involved and for all the snake lovers around the world. With every venomous snake bite and every single python constriction, it’s harder to explain the benefits of keeping a wild snake.
The usual target are inexperienced keepers who are not aware of the basic safety precautions. The most dangerous constrictors are obviously the largest. Even a 3 meters long snake can become a challenge when handling.
Most common human attackers
- Reticulated python (Python reticulatus) up to 9 meters
- Indian python (Python molurus) up to 6 meters
- Amethystine (Morelia amethistina)
- African Rock Python (Python sebae)
- Green Anaconda (Eunectes murinus)
Basic rules for large snake handling
- Use professionally built cages. The stronger the snakes the more chances it will get through the tinniest hole.
- Don’t let your large constrictor to be in the same room with humans. She might suddenly feel threatened and an accident might happen. Many attacked owners claim the snake had been used to humans. C’mon. It’s a wild animal!
- Don’t let a large constrictor wrap your torso or neck. Large snake’s weight hanging on you might get you unstable. You might stumble, a snake gets frightened and constricts. She might not bite you but at least broke you a rib or two.
- When feeding, you really don’t wanna confuse your snake! You smell like a pray and that’s why feeding is the most dangerous time. Feed from a distance, using a handle.
- Don’t ever try to handle a hungry snake. You know she’s hungry by the way she approaches. if she gazes at your hand and her tongue is flickering, she is up to kill something.