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RE: Venomoid Discussion

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Posted by: Carmichael at Mon Feb 19 12:42:23 2007  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by Carmichael ]  

there have been many heated debates about this topic and, unfortunately, most of the arguments come from folks who get a tad irrational on the subject. You are right, if done correctly, under veterinary anethesia and veterinary procedures, the amount of pain the snakes experience is probably fairly minimal (and yet, how do we really gauge the level of pain these animals undergo? it based on feeding response, appearance, behavior?...). Many are long lived and it appears that not having working ducts and/or glands does not pose any problems in terms of digestion of prey or overall health but once again, do we really know? The real argument is one based on philosophical differences. Many will say "if you have to remove the ducts/glands, then you shouldn't own a venomous snake". I can live with that, however, those same people are the very same people who keep venomous snakes w/out the proper antivenin (or access to it), improper safety procedures and less than adequate caging. Now, those folks are a bit hypocritical about the argument that they are trying to defend. Other problems include: having a pair of venomoids and breeding them together thus producing fully hot offspring, assuming that a venomoid is 100% safe....regeneration has been known to t ake place although if done correctly, is minimized, keepers becoming complacent because they know that even though its a "venomous" species of snake, it is no longer "venomous" and their handling skills basically suck. There are countless of other arguments. I think that venomoids should be treated no different than venomous herps; in fact, folks not adept at keeping venomous have no business keeping venomoids. No minor should own a venomous species; venomoid or hot. We do, on occasion, take in "voids" from confiscations and such. Many of these have been very long lived snakes but the folks keeping them were barely qualified to keep a corn snake. Once again, the primary argument boils down to a philosophical debate and this is a tough subject to debate with a sense of calm and respect for each other's side. So which side am I taking? Currently, all of the snakes in our collection (Wildlife Discovery Center) are fully armed and loaded with the exception of a couple of venomoids that came to us via confiscations or abandoned pets. I do know of some top knotch exhibits who feature all venomoids but you would never know it by looking at the animals (human grade implants, excellent body weight, normal behavioral pattersn, etc.) and, ironically, some of the worst exhibits I have seen were fully hot specimens kept by facilities whose staff did not feel comfortable working with them on a regular basis (dirty cages, less than healthy looking animals, stuck eye caps, etc.). So, the argument will continue to go on and on and my position is stated somewhere in the "gray areas"

Rob Carmichael, Curator
The Wildlife Discovery Center

>>The following is my sole opinion on keeping venomoid reptiles. This is meant to be a civilised discussion, so please, be able to state you opinion without being hostel.
>> I am not against the operation itself. I belive that if it is done right, it is not wrong. It only actually hurts the snake a few weeks after the operation, and that is without painkillers. It is still completely able to live a normal life in captivity. Peoples' main arguement is that the operation is done to suit human "ego" to keep a venomous reptile. But then one could say, if you want a "natural" or "real" snake, you never ould have obtained it in the first place.
>> Cheers,
>> Joe
Rob Carmichael, Curator
The Wildlife Discovery Center at Elawa Farm
Lake Forest, IL


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