Pet Snake Ban Long Overdue

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently recommended a ban against the import of nine snake species commonly sold as pets. It’s about time.

Captivity is often a death sentence for reptiles and in too many cases, for the people who “had” to have them as well.


People all over the country have been seriously injured—many fatally—by their pet vipers, pythons, and boa constrictors. Last year, a Florida toddler was strangled to death in her crib by her family’s pet python, and a Las Vegas couple was charged with child abuse after their 18-foot python wrapped around their 3-year-old son, preventing the boy from breathing.

In 2006, an Ohio man was strangled to death by his pet boa constrictor. The list goes on and on.

Dealers market snakes and other reptiles as if they are little more than interesting stuffed toys. But reptiles have extremely specialized needs, and most novelty “pets” end up ignored and neglected in cramped aquarium tanks in dark basements and garages.

For the health and well-being of both people and snakes, authorities must impose a ban without further delay.

Jennifer O’Connor
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

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