Advice for those wanting a giant Snake

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By a giant snake I don't mean a 50 foot long mythical monster but rather those people that think big is beautiful.

People who want a snake as thick as your leg and as long as your family room sitting on display for them to admire.

Even more for them to show off to their friends.

I understand the attraction of "big" herps - 6 foot iguanas, goliath bird-eating tarantulas as big as a dinner plate - and yes - huge pythons.

But there are also limits to what can be kept successfully in the home - in terms of safety as well as space.

To give you a few examples a reticulated python can reach 9 metres in length, the burmese python 6 metres and the green anaconda 10 metres.

Yes, I know they're all highly attractive snakes and make a big impact in your home, but even if your snake only just about has space to stretch out in it's home you could be looking at a cage of up to 10 metres (30 feet) long and half the width just to accommodate it at the bare minimum.

And even if you decided to build your own snake cage on a budget it would cost you thousands of dollars to do.

Think about the glass. The reinforced walls, vast heaters and other electronics required.

No, it's a sad fact that no matter what you honestly think and no matter what a pet store owner may have told you, the giant snakes really do require a room-sized cage as adults and vast investment.

I don't know many people able to spare the cash or the space to be able to pull such a feat off properly.

Yes, they're small to start off with and I know it's easy to tell yourself that as he grows you'll be able to save up enough to build a proper cage - but you won't.

That's why there are so many unwanted boas, pythons and anacondas sitting in rehoming shelters.

At least that's half the reason.

The other is the day to day management.

Giant snakes will eat whole rabbits and chickens for dinner.

They require cleaning out like a horse stable.

And many, like the green anaconda, can be very aggressive indeed.

Nobody but a professional snake keeper with years of experience would even consider wrestling an angry 10 metre snake.

But what if it's a "pussy-cat"? You've held the baby python in the shop and it's as tame as a corn snake. What is that crazy guy on the Internet talking about?

Not only can personalities change but remember that these are inherently wild animals.

They'll get used to you. They'll learn to tolerate you. But very few, if any, will actually look forward to your company half as much as you'd think.

They're not like cats or dogs in this respect.

So even a "friendly" snake can turn against you if it's in the wrong mood.

And even if it isn't, a 5-10 metre snake is big enough to kill you accidentally - slowly crushing your rib cage till you suffocate.

Now I don't want to give these beautiful snakes a bad name - I'm a huge snake fan and I'll do anything I can to improve the PR they get and further the hobby, but part of that is being honest.

Dozens of snakes that need rehoming because they've grown too big for their owner to manage or a human casualty are a much worse possibility.

So please consider choosing one of the smaller, more docile and more easily accommodated snakes as featured on this site - such as corn snakes or king snakes - or if you must have a python try one fo the smaller and more friendly species.

Snake keeping should be a hobby you enjoy - not one that bleeds your wallet dry and risks your life!