PETA is Dead Wrong About Snakes

Why Snakes are not Bad Pets

Link to Article (Please read this first!)

I read an article at the top of the search options when I searched ‘why are snakes banned in certain areas’ and PETA was the top result. I was morbidly curious what bullshit they were spewing this time and I read the whole thing with an argument to combat each point.

It didn’t take me long to think of ways to disprove the things that they said, in fact; it took a second. I’ve only been a snake owner for less than a year, but with all of the research I did to prepare myself to nurture them I can confidently make my statement.

The article PETA made started with quite a manipulative twist. Who knows that the story was true, but if it was; it chose to focus on the negligent snake owners that are definitely out there- but not as common as they’d have you believe.
It went on to talk about a snake owner who left his snake for a ‘a couple weeks’ who told the person narrating the story that the snake had gotten loose. Later, the snake was found dead and emaciated some time later and the owner began talking about replacing it right away.

There are irresponsible pet owners, but I’d argue that the most common ones you see are dog owners or cat owners who either don’t exercise their pets, don’t socialize them and put them at risk for being euthanized, or allow them to grow obese. When was the last time you saw an in-shape cat? When was the last time you saw your neighbor take their dog for a walk? How many times have you seen a dog chained outside 24/7? Where do you think that person got their purebred pug that struggles to just breathe it’s entire life? There are literally animal rescue agencies whose main focus is on dogs and cats and other mammals.

1.“It’s a Dirty Business”

The first thing I see them say in this point is ‘most snakes are stolen from their habitats’ and, now, I have no idea where they heard that other than from a biased and bitter point of view.
Most snakes you see kept as pets are not stolen from their homes and they are captive bred because I don’t know anyone who wants a possibly parasite-ridden, diseased, and ANGRY snake living in their home with them. Also, special morphs are developed through captive breeding and I don’t know why you would want an average morph snake who is also all the things listed above.
There are cases where snakes have been taken from their natural habitats for selfish purposes, but also to be captive bred to preserve the species and grow it.

The writer of this article -again- focuses on one bad example of a snake breeder. As we all know, there are animal mills out there and they are not exclusive to snakes or other reptiles. They are not any less cruel than a puppy mill, but in a world with evil people evil things happen and the best that we can do is communicate with the breeder, search for reviews, and ask to see how they keep their snakes- or even visit their place. It is quite easy to tell if the snake is in good shape within the first week of keeping it or even through its picture on a site or email.

2.“Snakes Have Specialized Needs”

It is true that breeders often minimize when it comes to breeding snakes. Their enclosures are often blank with just a water bowl inside and to tell the truth it is disappointing, but not harmful or ‘stressful’. One of the most lethal things you can actually do to a snake is project your emotions onto it and mistake it’s behavior patterns for emotional reactions to something. Your snake wants to be warm and in its hide and not out for a walk like your dog, Chewy.
What a snake does in the outdoors is wait in a tight hiding space all day and come out at night to hunt and hopefully not be torn to pieces by a predator.

As soon as possible the snake always returns to its hiding place. I’d argue that snakes do not even ‘explore’ for pleasure and it is how they survey the land and tell whether or not it is safe to go out in.
The beautiful thing about snakes is not that they can love you but that they can trust you. They can become comfortable with you, recognize you are not a threat, and let you hold them without struggling. This can take a long time or a short time, snakes are individuals.

It was also brought up that a snake will not act like a dog or some other mammal when it’s hurt or sick by yelping or whining, but of course it won’t- it’s a damn reptile not a puppy.
They have their own way of communicating, and if you know your snake you know when they are acting differently and become keen on watching over them.
If it is dehydrated it will be wrinkly and sluggish, if it has a respiratory infection its mouth will bubble or appear necrotic at worst, if the breeder was feeding it live mice and not caring what happened after; it’s easy to tell by bite wounds. It should never be ‘too late’ as long as you are vigilant and tend to its -very simple- needs.

3.“A Killing Cycle”

This was the most vague point totaling at a full sentence! They fail to mention that you are able to purchase frozen rodents and that rodents that are fed live are raised to be fed to other animals: they are called ‘feeder rodents’. This isn’t much more cruel than an animal hunting in the wild or even any other animal that eats meat. Do you think your dog is eating humanely euthanized animals that passed away quickly and painlessly like how they euthanize the mice that snakes eat? That’s a rhetorical question.

4. “Captivity is Cruel”

This one is the most irritating for me. The word ‘exploring’ is used and I really have to say it again that a snake that is exploring is scenting and patrolling the area to see if it is safe, or they are hunting for food.
A content snake is a snake snuggled up in its hide on a heating pad without a worry in the world and the guarantee that they will eat again soon.

The article also said that snakes are regulated to aquariums that ‘don’t even let them stretch out to their full length’. It’s common for snake owners to know to get a tank that is the length of your snake or longer. I wouldn’t go as far to say that people who impulse buy pets from a pet store would know this, but any responsible owner who purchased from a local breeder will care about their snakes well-being.

5. “Sky-High Mortality”

This all ties together like a bag of flaming dog shit with another manipulative twist at the end. The person who wrote this really wanted to put across a message with the assumption that snakes can only be bought at pet stores and the mortality rate for them is 75%. Who knows if this counts in actual breeders who are not in ties with mills or a mill themselves, but it is quite true that anyone who buys from a mill/pet store is impulse buying the cute snake in the window because they feel like it.
They don’t do research and think back to when their uncle kept his snake in his garage just fine! It’s a serious problem that pet stores sell animals in general, and rodents are also heavily neglected to the point that most people don’t realize that they need very large enclosures and tons of enrichment and play time.

This snake problem is not that they are too complicated to understand, it is a problem with neglectful humans and humans who put out a bad reputation for them who try to spread a message of sugar-coated hatred that they are not good pets.
Sharing a message that promotes snakes for the beautiful creatures that they are and showing more people that they are not unpredictable and dangerous is worlds more important than a 5 point article on how you’re a bad person if you appreciate an animal that isn’t fuzzy and likes to cuddle.