Age Limit for Snakes

Thach - Americus, Georgia
Entered on November 29, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

Snakes have become a popular animal in the pet trade. They are both wild caught and captive bred to be pets. Many parents are buying their child pet snakes to teach them responsibility. This is a good idea if the parent is willing to help the child along the way and know about the snake they are buying. Unfortunately, many teenagers have been buying snakes from local pet stores without doing research beforehand. There should be a law preventing anyone under sixteen from buying any kind of snake at all.

Snakes require whole rodent meals weekly. This can be very difficult for a child to be able to provide. If the owner of the snake is unable to drive, providing for a snake can be very difficult. Many snakes can grow very large and require meals as big as a young pig or rabbit. Most people only consider how much a snake costs but not how much it could cost in the future. After purchasing a snake, you must take it to a vet to get it sexed and make sure it is in good health. A vet trip every few months can be costly and simply something a child can not provide for.

The husbandry for any snake can be simple if the owner does research before they purchase the snake. Many pet shop owners do not warn buyers of the dangers they could be getting into. Some snakes are not meant for beginners such as venomous ones or large boas. A python that is regularly sold at a pet store is the Burmese python. When it hatches it is no longer then two feet long. After only one year, it can grow up to six feet. In 2004, a child purchased a three feet Burmese python and just eight months later the python killed the child while it was being handled. A large snake can be very dangerous to own if you do not have the knowledge of what the snake can do. Parents should only purchase a pet for their child if they are willing to help with the responsibilities.

Parents should really consider a different method to teach their children responsibility. A snake can grow at a much more rapid rate then a human child. In only three years, a snake can be full grown. Keeping a full grown snake in a home with a child can not only be dangerous but expensive. Congress should come up with a law prohibiting the selling of snakes to anyone under the age of sixteen. A child can not provide enough to keep a snake healthy and the snake could potentially harm the child. It is unsafe for both the snake and the owner if they do not know what they are getting themselves into.