Releasing pet snakes into the wild is quickly become a major problem in the United States. The Florida Everglades have become synonymous with the dumping of large snakes such as Reticulated pythons and Burmese pythons. Releasing these non-native species into the wild damages the eco-system and promotes irresponsible ownership. In this article we’ll explore the following:
- Why it happens
- Where it happens
- What can be done about it
- Reasons snakes are released into the wild
- There are any number of reasons that people will release their pet into the wild. The first reason is simply that the snake has grown to large. What started out as a cute 1.5 foot burmese python has over the course of about two years grown to be close to 10 feet of pure muscle. When this happens a few things become evident to some snake owners:
- It is too large to properly house
- It has become too expensive to feed
- It is too dangerous to handle without help
Another reason snakes will often be released is due to a change in the owner’s living situation. Finding a place to live that allows snakes is a difficult task at best (if you tell people you have snakes) and it becomes almost impossible when you try to explain to a prospective landlord that you need three bedrooms because your snake needs a place to live too. A move could be brought on for economic or practical reasons. It’s probably not something you had planned when you got the snake. Even so that doesn’t absolve you of your responsibility to handle the situation correctly.
A health issue is another reason for needing to give up your snake. Sometimes even taking care of snakes (an incredibly simple process) can be too much if we are suffering from poor health. This is one of those situation where you don’t have control over what happens to you, but you should make it your priority to find proper housing for your pet snakes and not just release them into the wild where they will likely die.
- Places that people release snakes
- Earlier I mentioned the Everglades but truth is that people release snakes all over the place. Just in the past few weeks two pythons have been found in the state of Maine. It’s fairly temperate this time of year, but absolutely freezing in the winter. Snakes released in Florida will probably live due to the climate. Those released in places like Maine are on a death row of sorts.
The vast majority of snakes that get released are the “giants” and those snakes are from more tropical climates. They simply aren’t built to survive winter in the more temperate northern states. When people release them in the south the snake is better able to adapt to it’s environment and live.
- 5 things that can be done about the problem
- Turn the snake into a rescue shelter or offer it too a zoo
- Give it away to someone who is capable of housing it
- Avoid impulsive purchases
- Discuss with the breeder you bought the animal from the chance of returning it to them
- Educate other you know about the dangers of releasing snakes into the wild