Dig It wrote:I am all about nature and the food chain but it seems pretty bullshit you have to beat the rodent into submission so the poor little snake doesn't get a scratch mark. If you want an animal that feeds on other animals as a pet you would think you wouldn't want a pussy that needs it's food pre-worked over. If you put a rat in the cage with a snake and the snake gets fucked up... seems like you should have that rat as a pet from then on out.
There are a lot of ethical issues that deserve full consideration before you take on any unusual pet. For me personally, I pretty much agree with you. I would not be quick to pass judgment on someone else who owns any pet as long as they are not cruel. Many times these boas/pythons get so big that they do not have room to "hunt" their prey. These snakes would lie motionless in ambush for days in the wild. When a prey item finally happened by, the snake would have total advantage. They are not built for a struggle, they are built to dominate with the advantage of surprise and then power. In captivity the prey item (if not killed or stunned) has advantages that it would never get in the wild. It is in an enclosure, trapped, with a giant predator. Its kind of lack a gladiator scene. The snake has no element of surprise and cannot slant things in its favor, so it would get the full brunt of the prey's defensive behaviors. Couple this with the fact that reptile vets charge the same as snakes as you pay for your dog and cat and this could get really expensive.
I avoided all these issues with my choice of a native rat snake (corn snake). I put it in a large enclosure and the mouse seems pretty aloof. My snake knows what the feeding box is all about and as soon as I drop the mouse in he is on it. He is a skinny and agile snake for his length, so he can move freely and get in a safe position.
In the larger picture, while I am fascinated by exotic snakes, I really believe that their sale on the pet trade should be illegal for a myriad of reasons. First of all, in the past most of these animals were wild caught. Snakes are important parts of any ecosystem they live in. Most of the large ones do not have a fast reproductive cycle, so hunting several out of an area would make it very difficult for the population to recover. I'm sure they have been wiped out in many localities around the world. Then there is the issue of transport. For a snake from halfway around the world to get in a US pet store they have huge mortality rates and if they survived and made it to a store they would be emaciated and stressed to the point of having a significant impact on their life expectancy.
Most exotic reptiles are captive bred now. I think inbreeding is most definitely a problem and results in picky eating and other problems. Then their is the issue that ANYONE can buy one of these snakes. This leads to SO many problems. You can't own a lion, tiger, or bear without very specific liscenses and a good reason to have it. Not so with giant snakes, and they are top predators as well. So many are tortured by 12 yrs olds whose parents buy it for their kids as if it were an inanimate toy. They starve, live in their own waste, or far outgrow the tiny cage. Kids lose interest and never exercise the snakes, making any enclosure too small. People feed them in their tanks, making them aggressive towards anything entering the tank, including hands. I could go on and on.
The final major reasons I think exotic snakes should be illegal to keep without a licence is their impact on native ecosystems. I live in Florida, and when a python or boa is released or escapes they can live quite easily in the wild. The everglades are full of burmese pythons and other species. Being top predators they can fuck up an ecosystem much faster than more innocuous exotic lizards, etc. They can even swim across the ocean and are doing this to get to the keys, which are home to many species found nowhere else. The snakes can eat everything they want because the animals are not used to giant predators. This is a ridiculous price for us all to pay because some spoiled twelve year old demands one as pet and then releases it when the responsibility becomes evident.