Snake Found on a London Street Reminds Us Why Reptiles Shouldn’t Be ‘Pets’
Passers-by where shocked to see a Boa Constrictor squeezing and devouring an already dead pigeon on a high street in east London. Not an everyday scene in the city – but it is becoming increasingly common as more and more households are keeping exotic snakes as ‘pets’.
A snake has eaten a pigeon on a street in east London, and the RSPCA is trying to figure out how it got there https://t.co/lDipNJ1ji6
— HuffPost UK (@HuffPostUK) August 5, 2018
Like all exotic animals, snakes suffer immensely when kept captive. Even the largest, most “enriched” tanks cannot begin to approximate their wild homes and experience and few people have the space, knowledge, and money necessary to properly care for these animals. People may do their best, but even under the best of circumstances, captivity can be hell for animals meant to roam free.
Many escape their enclosures or end up cruelly dumped – as this snake likely was. They also put the unsuspecting public in danger as the Boa’s prey could easily have been someone’s beloved cat, dog or a small child. Recently, a woman woke up in London to find a Python in her bed.
The disorientated snake was rescued by the RSPCA and taken to a nearby wildlife centre for a health assessment, but the story underscores why not all reptiles are this lucky. Many captive exotic animals who are released in a non-native habitat quickly succumb to starvation or dehydration or predatory attacks, or they fall victim to local parasites and diseases to which they lack a natural immunity. Released exotics can also wreak havoc on local wildlife populations by consuming food sources, introducing disease, and preying on animals in the area.
Reptiles shouldn’t be kept as ‘pets.’ Snakes belong in lush jungles, swamps and other landscapes that they are attuned to – where they can explore and experience the habitat using their incredibly intelligent senses.
They are ill-equipped to live their often lengthy live in captivity, stuck in a glass box, with no freedom to slither around, no natural sunlight and the inability to hunt for their own prey.
The reptile industry itself is truly horrifying, discovered in a PETA US investigation which shows the inhumane treatment of animals at a reptile mill. Tens of thousands of reptiles were found to be suffering systematic abuses; confined to filthy, cramped plastic tubs and suffering from food, heat, water and other means of deprivation. Hundreds were left dead and rotting. The problem is that unsuspecting customers no idea about the horror from which these animals have come – or what kind of industry they’re unwittingly supporting.
What You Can Do
Please, never buy a snake or any animal from a pet store.
You can help by sharing this post and asking friends and family not to support this deadly industry, either.