Thursday, February 3, 2011

Are Pet Snakes Dangerous?

Snakes are one of the most feared creatures on the planet. But surprisingly a report by the American Veterinary Medical Association estimates that approximately 390 out of every 1,000 households has a pet snake..

But how safe are these pets? A report from Responsible Exotic Animal Ownership (REXANO) shows that over an 18 year period, only 8 people in the United States have been killed by a captive constrictor snake. In all 8 instances, the victim was the owner of the snake. The most common killer, claiming the lives of 5 out of the 8 instances, was a Burmese Python. 

These statistics do only include non-venomous constrictor snakes and not venomous snake bites which would only add to the fatality rate. Over the same 18 year period, there were 16 reported deaths due to venomous snake bites. Again in these instances, the majority of victims were owners. Surprisingly, a serpent- handling church service claimed the lives of 7 victims who refused treatment due to their religious beliefs. 

Despite the isolated instances of snake related fatalities, snakes live long lives and offer many benefits to their owners. However they do eat rodents, which the owner will need to provide preferable pre-killed and frozen, and are good at escaping which can offer a great risk to you and your family.

If you do decide to keep or own a snake, your best bet is to avoid the venomous and constricting ones that contribute to fatalities. Regardless of how beautiful and rare these types of snakes may be, they pose great risk to you, your family members, and your friends’ well being. 

The best and most harmless types of snakes to safely own are captive bred snakes. A wild caught snake will be much more difficult to tame and further complications are more likely to follow. 

Safest Snakes to Own:

• Ball Pythons
• Corn Snakes
• King Snakes
• Milk Snakes

If you decide to own a high risk snake such as a Reticulated or Burmese python, consider the risks that you, family, and friends become vulnerable to.

Tim is a financial pet expert who enjoys writing about pet care and exotic pets

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