After a snake attack killed two young boys, we've begun wondering whether or not snakes should be kept as pets.
I read with horror about two young boys, Noah Barthe (age 4½) and Connor Barthe,(age 6) who were asphyxiated to death by an African rock python who slithered into their room while they were sleeping. The boys were having a sleepover in a friend’s apartment when the python escaped from its enclosure and found its way to the sleeping boys through a ventilation system.
Horrific doesn’t even begin to describe what happened. The snake was 4.3 meters (over 14 feet) long, weighed 45 kg (100 pounds), and was found in the same room as the boys it had killed.
There are many people who keep large snakes as pets, some legally, some not. This recent tragedy has sparked debate over the keeping of exotic animals and reptiles as pets.
I am not a reptile lover by any means. I cannot understand why anyone would want to keep a snake as a pet, especially one as large as the snake who killed these two boys. I suppose those who love that kind of pet may find it hard to understand why I have a fluffy, small dog. I usually would say, “to each his own,” but I am afraid I am not as accepting on this issue.
There are some animals that are just not suitable to be kept as pets. It’s not just public safety; there are also ecological concerns and concerns about the welfare of the wild animals. Many reptiles and snakes are put in tiny aquariums or terrariums, and just pulled out every now and then for an owner's amusement. Large, wild cats are caged and have been known to kill as well. These are dangerous wild animals that should be left in the wild. They are not pets, and shouldn’t be kept as such. There may be those who argue that they can safely keep these animals, but the question then becomes, should they?
The bottom line is that two beautiful little boys are dead. If the snake had not been there, they would be alive today to run, play, and look forward to life. The lives of those they left behind have also been changed forever.
For more on parenting issues, check out Maternity Corner.