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'dangerous' Herps, Hazardous Herps and Lack of Perspective

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by AdamD, Aug 1, 2014.

  1. AdamD

    AdamD New Member

    I was doing a lot of research about lizard keeping, and came across groups like HSUS and the ASPCA being against owning reptiles and amphibians. That got me thinking about large snakes and lizards. Often it seems that you run into two groups of people I honestly despise:
    1: Animal Rights organizations trying to restrict or ban Herp ownership (often a prelude to all pet ownership being banned)
    2: Reptile keepers who either (a): collect lizards and snakes with the same care and dedication to the animal as a collector of pokemon cards or (b) get large constrictors or venomous snakes largely because they can, with no thought to long-term care.
    These groups are related, in a way, because they routinely over- or underestimate the hazards and care requirements of the animal.
    With the animal rights crowd, their position is that all herps are insufficiently studied to properly care for. Unless of course for the fact that they are dangerous, which could not be known unless they have been sufficiently studied. Well, consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, so I guess their minds are very large indeed.
    This hurts their position because in all honesty, there ARE certain animals-the vast majority of venomous snakes, alligators, several of the largest monitor species- where the hazards involved in captive care, in my honest opinion, can't really be dealt with by a private owner ( yes, I know there are good, responsible people who know what they are doing, etc.- I am describing a rule of thumb, not an absolute.)Both these groups need some actual perspective. A leopard gecko is much safer than a pit bull. A black mamba is not as safe as a teacup poodle. That people get into animal welfare or reptiles without understanding this
    hurts everybody.
    Sorry for the long post, It was something on my chest for a long time.
  2. zaroba

    zaroba Elite Member

    ooo, rant time?
    I'll gladly join in.

    "Both these groups need some actual perspective. A leopard gecko is much safer than a pit bull. A black mamba is not as safe as a teacup poodle. That people get into animal welfare or reptiles without understanding this hurts everybody."

    Sadly perspective is something often ignored by the general public.
    They see the big constrictors in florida, and think they are evil, but ignore all the far worse invasive species that dwarf the issues in the everglades.
    They look at a snake (accused of) killing 2 kids in Canada last year, but turn a blind eye to the 5 dog killings in Florida and the 4 killings in Texas.
    There are probably less owned snakes in the country then there are dogs and cats that are neglected and abused every day.

    My mother and I do educational reptile shows so often go to pet fairs to advertise the show. We are normally the only non-cat/dog related booth at these fairs and a good number of booths are normally based around pit bulls. Either rescues or education about them. They talk about how they are misunderstood, talk about how it's the owners fault, and all that other stuff. Then sometimes they come up and talk about how snakes are bad and shouldn't be kept as pets. Pure hypocrisy. They sit and preach to people about how pit bulls have a bad reputation, then turn around and act like the ignorant people they are trying to educate.

    I have often had conversations with other booth owners start out along the lines of:
    Them, "No thanks, I don't want to come any closer, I'm afraid of snakes"
    Me, "Your shirt says to give pit bulls a chance, why not give the snake a chance to show you he isn't evil?" or "Snakes just have a bad reputation, like pitbulls"

    Usually the person backs off then. But sometimes they continue trying to make snakes look evil and say things like "wild animals shouldn't be kept as pets" or "aren't burmese pythons taking over the everglades?" and even brining up the occasional snake related death as a reason to hate snakes.

    Wild animals? Give me a break. While reptiles are not yet domesticated, who is to say they can't be? Historians estimate that it took mankind over 10,000 years to domesticate Grey Wolves into dogs. That is ten thousand years. Reptiles have only been a pet for how long? 25 years? And it's only been over the past 10 years or so that the reptile pet trade has really grown drastically. Yet people want to claim they can't be domesticated and need to be banned simply because they havn't instantly become as tame as dogs.

    Oh, wait, dogs aren't that tame. lol.
    What? A snake shouldn't be owned because it supposedly killed 2 kids in Canada last year? Hmm.
    Why don't we have a look at the statistics for the year 2013

    70 million dogs in the US
    4.5 mil reported dog bites.
    885,000 people required medical attention
    27,000 people got reconstructive plastic surgery due to getting bitten
    32 deaths due to dog. 11 children under 4, 7 children aged 4-7, and 14 adults
    82% of these deaths were caused by pits, rotts, and mixes in 2013 and 75% over the past 9 years
    15 of the fatalities were from attacks involving more then 1 dog. So 32 deaths, more then 45 dogs involved.

    0.000046% chance your dog will kill you
    6.42% chance your dog will bite you
    1.26% chance you will need to go to the hospital
    0.039% chance you will need surgery to rebuild your face (or some other part of your body)

    2 million pet snakes in the US
    0.4 deaths per year
    0.00002% chance of getting killed by a snake
    (and snake deaths probably include bites from wild venomous snakes)

    Yea, even taking overall numbers in to account, dogs are more dangerous then snakes.

    Hmm...oh, I've had dog and cat lovers say the snakes are bad because of what is happening in Florida. But what about all the other invasive species? Heaven forbid anybody takes care of the cats that cause more ecological damage then every other animal combined. Don't get me wrong, I love cats, but feral cats are the most invasive animal in the country. At least the domestication process has basically left dogs with the maturity level of a 2 year old wolf cub and thus lacking the necessary skills to survive on their own.
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2014
  3. Midori

    Midori Elite Member

    People really don't think thing threw when it comes to animals more often then not. In welfare issues a great example is with horses, people *****ed and complained all the time about my lame mare. You should put her down, she limps and is in pain. She isn't 'happy' when they know nothing about horses. Or are of the mentality that because a horse isn't able to be ridden it should be put down. My mare I will note was quiet happy up until she lost her mate. Sure she limped, sure she was in pain at times. But she was in treatment, getting anti-inflammatory drugs daily and the vet said she was fine as long as she was 'happy'. She'd hobble around, quiet happily try and try and steal treats, boss her mate around. She was happy and was enjoying life, why am I suppose to say because you are lame I have to put you down. Even though it if obvious you pain is manageable and you are happy.

    I have seen so many people with cat and dogs who are in so much pain and people don't yell at them for treating the symptoms as long as the animal is happy. Why is it different when it is a horse? It was so infuriating people would spout nonsense about something they knew nothing about.

    It really is sad. Reptiles aren't domestic, but I sure can see it slowly happening. But it'll take generations of responsible breeding. Also breeding for the right traits not just 'oh this reptiles is pretty'. Which sadly happens, people tend not to get reptiles can be good pets. It also takes responsible ownership which can't happen if people are kept being told they are throw away pets. I'll bet the irresponsible dog owners are just as bad reptiles owners.

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