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Tue May 1, 2012, 10:47 PM

Venomous Snakes owned as pets

I was watching Swamp Wars on Animal Planet today and it spoke of people who import, sell and own venomous snakes. Ok, I understand, there are those who do have a purpose for these animals such as research facilities, pharmaceutical uses and zoos but what surprised me was that the same way that I own cats, dogs and fish as pets some people have cobras, mambas and taipans.
I googled the subject and found although some states do ban the practice or require permits (similar to my dogs and cats) many don't have restrictions except for maybe an endangered species. In the state I live I can't own a piranha or sturgeon but I can own a king cobra or black mamba. Go figure?
I guess what surprised me most was the attitude of those who defend this practice. More than one website had people who stated the "dangers" of owning cats, dogs, and horses. I am sorry, but to compare domesticated animals to wild animals doesn't make sense to me. I do understand people do get bit by dogs, trampled by horses and the dreaded house cat can scratch and bite but if I did get bit by one of my dogs or cats I am not going to need anti venom to save my life. An anti venom of an animal which doesn't live in this area so the local hospital may or may not have it in stock.

Have I been so busy paying attention to the subject that this website addresses most that I have somehow missed the practice of keeping these snakes as pets?

Am I missing something or how can keeping a piranha be more dangerous than a cobra?

If there anyone out there who can help me understand why keep an animal which if it bites you, you will die unless you get the anti venom within a give time.

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Reply Venomous Snakes owned as pets (Original post)
SoutherDem May 2012 OP
RandySF May 2012 #1
SoutherDem May 2012 #4
Coyote_Bandit May 2012 #7
TheCruces May 2012 #10
hlthe2b May 2012 #2
SoutherDem May 2012 #3
TorchTheWitch May 2012 #5
Meiko May 2012 #6
mopinko May 2012 #9
Michael1 May 2012 #8

Response to SoutherDem (Original post)

Tue May 1, 2012, 10:50 PM

1. It's the same as people owning pit bulls.

Owning a dangerous animal is a status symbol for people who want to show how "badass" they are.

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Response to RandySF (Reply #1)

Wed May 2, 2012, 12:43 AM

4. Interesting you picked pit bulls

To keep the original post shorter I didn't include the stats that were pointed out as to how many people die from pet dogs vs. pet venomous snakes which for the same time frame was 167 to 16, but if you took pit bull our of the mix it got a lot closer, take out rottwielers and it is almost even. What they didn't consider is how many people keep dogs vs. snakes. I would guess if you considered deaths out of 1000 owned (the same way the CDC count deaths) I would guess snakes would then lose the argument.
But one difference, snakes are wild animals and as far as I know do not show affection to owners while dogs are domesticated and with few exceptions the temperament of dogs can be determined by how the dog is raised and treated. My sister has owned several rottwielers and they have all been big babies, and I rescued a puppy not knowing what she was at the time, I just though she was a pretty dog that someone abandoned, I was told several months later she was a "short haired chow". She is actually a bit of a coward. She may lick you to death or knock you down because she is rather stout but I have had her 1.5 years and have never even heard her growl much less show any aggression.
As to showing your a "badass" what ever happened to owning a Harley Davisson or Corvette?

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Response to RandySF (Reply #1)

Thu May 3, 2012, 11:46 AM

7. Two Things

First, breed identification is often based on appearance alone which can be deceptive. Studies have shown that shelter staff score only poor to fair when making such identification. Obviously, shelter staffers are often far more familiar with breed identification than the general public. That suggests that a lot of aggressive dogs are being misidentified as Pit Bulls when their DNA shows they have a different heritage.
http://www.maddiesfund.org/Documents/Resource%20Library/Incorrect%20Breed%20Identification%20Study%20Poster.pdf

Second, studies have been done on aggesssion in dog breeds. The University of Pennsylvania did a study of 6000 dogs and found the dogs most likely to bite are the Dachshund, the Chihuahua, and the Jack Russell Terrier. Pit Bulls scored high for dog-directed aggression - but their level of aggression directed against humans was comparable to that of the Border Collie. Compared to Pit Bulls, a Dachshund is nearly three times more likely to bite a human.
http://indigorescue.org/?page_id=83

All too often we blame the dogs for the failures of their owners and the people they encounter.

My observation is that most owners do not adequately train or socialize their dogs. They are generally happy to have a dog that isn't destructive or disruptive to the home and its occupants. Aside from the occasional trip to the vet, the dog may not ever leave its home and yard - not even for a walk. The owner may not be able to control the dog should they choose to take it for a walk. And if they walk the dog, they sometimes become distracted and fail to adequately supervise it - or they permit the dog to run loose when the dog should be leashed. When there are guests in the home, the dog may be kept from them - or permitted to jump on or bark and snap at them. Some actually think that a 6-week class at the local big box pet store is adequate training for thier dog.

Many times people - especially children - who are bitten contribute to instigating the incident because they are ignorant of how to act around dogs, especially dogs unknown to them. They approach the dog quickly and startle him. They may reach toward the dog's head - perhaps showing the palm of their hand rather than the back of their hand. They move quickly or use loud voices. Perhaps they are carrying large, bulk or noisy objects that frighten or threaten the dog.

The two best behaved, most obedient dogs I have ever known were Pit Bulls. Both own every AKC A & B class obedience, open, utility and rally obedience title that exists.

BTW, I own a wirehair dachshund. According to the research that makes me a badass. My dachshund is about two years old, is trained to do therapy work, and is training for an obedience trial.

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Response to Coyote_Bandit (Reply #7)

Sat May 12, 2012, 05:08 AM

10. Great post

The majority of pit bulls are great dogs. A 16-month-old baby was killed by a pit bull in my city this week. However, when reading the article, the child was left alone in the back yard with the dog. Who in their right mind thinks it's appropriate to leave a baby alone in the yard with a dog?

I don't trust my dog around small kids at all. They freak her out and she gets fear aggressive around them. I keep her away from small kids. She's fine once they get to be around 7 or 8 or so. And yeah, if she was left unattended with a child that small, she could easily kill that child, even though she's a 15lb dog. She's a terrier. She's high prey drive and has a very hard bite and doesn't easily let go. I'm appalled at the amount of people who will say it's fine for their kids to grope at her, even after I say she might bite and to not pet her. The response is usually, "but she's little."

I mean, she's a great dog. Awesome obedience skills, loves basically everybody but little kids, etc.

And as for the Border Collie/pit bull comparison. Being experienced with both breeds, trust the Pit Bull first. Border Collies are great dogs, but they don't put up with a lot of shit and are highly motion-driven.

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Response to SoutherDem (Original post)

Tue May 1, 2012, 10:56 PM

2. The issue with pirhanas and sturgeon is concern for their release into the wild where they may

reproduce and decimate native species. Same with the big snakes, like pythons. In general it is state and Federal wildlife authorities that influence the regulation of the former. It isn't that they are considered more dangerous to humans than a venomous snake. It is that they are a bigger threat to native wildlife and habitat. By extension the issue is economic threat.

Venomous snakes ought to be regulated as well, clearly, but outside of public health, there really isn't a group/agency that would be advocating against their unfettered ownership.Unfortunately, public health interests are never given the same weight by politicos and policy-makers that economic interests readily receive.

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Response to hlthe2b (Reply #2)

Wed May 2, 2012, 12:21 AM

3. Issue with regulations

You are correct about the piranha, they have been found in our rivers and lakes already, but what I don't understand is the state I live in they are illegal but two of the bordering states they are legal. If I wanted one I could easily get one. Why doesn't the Federal government create a nationwide band because the last time I checked our rivers and lake are "interstate" and thus seems it would be constitutional.
In the state I live it is illegal to release any animal into the wild, there is even a posting on a state website about fish and reptiles (not mammals) as to if you can't keep nor give to a responsible owner how to euthanize the animals.
As to the venomous snakes I think you hit the nail right on the head, money always wins, but I think if our winters wouldn't guarantee the annual extinction of introduced reptiles they may rethink the policy.

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Response to SoutherDem (Original post)

Wed May 2, 2012, 04:37 AM

5. I think it's completely nuts

and should be illegal.


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Response to SoutherDem (Original post)

Wed May 2, 2012, 01:13 PM

6. There was a TV program

 

running for awhile, it was called "fatal attractions" It studied people who keep wild animals and are ultimately killed by the very anaimals they keep. It also goes into the mindset of these people and they try to explain why people do it. It was amazing what people were keeping at their houses or apartments. They showed tigers, a hyena and all manner of venomous snakes, some pretty exotic stuff. It was like an addiction to them.

Here it is, it was on animal planet.

http://animal.discovery.com/tv/fatal-attractions/

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Response to Meiko (Reply #6)

Sun May 6, 2012, 02:21 PM

9. i think we are programmed to spit in death's eye.

since we know we will die, we must live with that knowledge every day. for some people, for whatever reason, they just must defy death often/constantly. maybe it is fear, maybe it is something else. i dunno. but i do know that there are people like that.
the big trouble is the other people whose paths cross.

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Response to SoutherDem (Original post)

Sun May 6, 2012, 01:42 PM

8. Not a wise thing

I don't understand why people want to have some of the most venomous and dangerous snakes like black mambas and king cobras as a pet in their home. They should be knowledgeable enough to know that a bite from from these dangerous snakes can be deadly so they should not be taking any chances.

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