Reptile Forums banner

1 - 20 of 37 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
191 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys,

I know this has been discussed in old threads, but I was doing some research online about this and thought I would ask here again for current opinion :)

My partner said to me last night, 'I feel sorry for the snake in that little box', which initially made me feel very guilty and made me realize I had not really considered the ethical question of captivity when deciding to buy a snake.

I guess it boils down to - does the snake know enough to be distressed by it's confinement?

On balance, I take into account the fact I'm providing a caring home, where the snake can live in the absence of predators and, hopefully, diseases that affect wild snakes.

I also believe Gerty, as a captive born animal, was fated to go to somebody's home and, therefore, is fortunate to have been taken by a conscientious owner.

I think in part because I have close friends who keep a corn snake and another couple I know bred geckos this ethical aspect didn't really occur to me.

As snake owners, the view point may be biased, but also as experts in keeping the animals, you guys are more qualified than Joe Public to have an opinion.

Al
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
608 Posts
This is my view on the subject; I believe it unethical if the animal is caused undue discomfort or stress. Stress can be induced by an inability for the animal to express natural behavioural repertoires or through environmental stresses such as inappropriate temperature or humidity, disease or parasites, or psychological stresses such as an inability to remove itself from view or over-harassed by the owner or other persons.

Snakes do not express overly complex behaviours, being ectothermic predators they do not forage and typically adopt an ambush strategy to conserve energy rather than actively hunt (although this can be species specific). Being geared for energy conservation, they spend much of their time resting, meaning they do not require large areas to express natural behaviours but I believe in the case of snakes, environmental complexity is the greater consideration to size. Having said that, I do believe they appreciate enough space to stretch out and explore micro-climatic environments (areas of the enclosure that would vary in temperature and (or) humidity - possibly even UV intensity although research is lacking in snake UV preferences).

My snakes enjoy coming out of their enclosures from time to time, and I allow them frequent opportunity to come out, but oftentimes they will take themselves back to their own enclosures. Just recently I allowed my Norman to come out of his viv, he spent about 10 minutes on the window ledge looking out of the window then took himself straight back home.

I find snakes also tend to develop specific preferences because of personality variation; I personally find my more 'outgoing' snakes prefer to spend more time basking under the heat lamp and my more 'introverted' snakes prefer the cave hides.

My personal approach is to provide a range of options to my snakes regarding hiding and thermoregulatory opportunities and to provide them with the chance of exploring the bedroom for a bit if they want to. Each of them recognise me as the provider so I am not a source of stress for them, they seem energised when they see me and often come out of hiding, in the hopes of dinner mainly.

Because they are provided with appropriate environmental conditions, are not exposed to disease or parasites and are not stressed by me personally, I do not think there are ethical issues in this case.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,504 Posts
Al, with all due respect the last few threads you have started simply resurrect subjects that are both contentious and have been discussed at length on the forum in the past.

Personally I don't think its doing this forum, or the hobby in general an favours by constantly discussing the ethics and morals of keeping and / or breeding snakes in captivity. I'm sure as part of your "research" you will find peoples opinions by either trawling through the forum, or using the "search this forum" option top right.
 
Joined
·
2,039 Posts
I think one could find exception with keeping ANY animal in captivity.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Zincubus

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,832 Posts
I do occasionally get pangs of guilt if someone asks or says that it seems so cruel to keep them in captivity:(


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,041 Posts
When the double glazing salesman came to my house, he said (without any prompting, I did not even mention the snakes) that it made a nice change to see snakes in large enclosures. I asked him if he saw many, and he said he did but they were always in little boxes, which made him feel a bit sorry for them.

So what does anyone who has never kept a snake know about enclosure size? Does it really matter?
Well, if the public at large believe we are cruel, they may eventually get around to doing something about it.

I do find the longer I spend reading reptile forums, the less I believe some people should be allowed to keep them. That may include me too. It all depends who happens to be making the decisions.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
422 Posts
Same could be said for pretty much any and every single animal...

"I feel sorry for the goldfish stuck in tiny tanks or bowls"

"I feel sorry for any fish that gets thrown in tap water, no water testing, no cycling beforehand"

"I feel sorry for the fish stuck in over crowded or too small tanks slowly dying of ammonia poisoning"

"I feel sorry for the dogs with long nails that tap on the floor, causing them to alter their gait to compensate which puts them more at risk of injuring themselves"

"I feel sorry for all the dogs bred without genetic health screening, temperament testing, hip or elbow scoring for their breed"

"I feel sorry for all the poodle mixes that don't get groomed and are left with a huge matted coat"

"I feel sorry for all the overweight dogs and cats who will be more prone to many more health problems"

"I feel sorry for the dogs that don't get walked"

"I feel sorry for the elderly cats and dogs who aren't taken to the vet and symptoms are simply put down to "they're getting on now" instead of making an effort to keep them comfortable"

"I feel sorry for the moggies who are allowed to roam, breed and breed, further increasing the over-population and demand on the already struggling rescues"

"I feel sorry for the many common pet rodents, brought on a whim who get stuck in tiny cages unsuitable for their needs"

"I feel sorry for all the rabbits and guinea pigs stuck in tiny hutches unsuitable for their needs"

"I feel sorry for parrots and birds stuck in tiny cages unable to even spread their wings"

Honestly could do this all day...


Instead of feeling sorry for them - be proactive. Educate. Change people's thoughts. Sure education takes time but slowly things can be improved for many animals.

Praise those who go above and beyond for their animals - they bloody deserve it!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
33,050 Posts
Al, with all due respect the last few threads you have started simply resurrect subjects that are both contentious and have been discussed at length on the forum in the past.

Personally I don't think its doing this forum, or the hobby in general an favours by constantly discussing the ethics and morals of keeping and / or breeding snakes in captivity. I'm sure as part of your "research" you will find peoples opinions by either trawling through the forum, or using the "search this forum" option top right.
There is also the danger of attracting the unwanted attention of any lurking anti's in here.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,041 Posts
There is also the danger of attracting the unwanted attention of any lurking anti's in here.
Yes there is, I completely agree.
But shouldn't we try to change things for the better from within the hobby, without waiting for someone on the outside doing it for us without any consultation?
Burying our heads in the sand will just get us a kick up the ar**. :whistling2:
 
Joined
·
2,039 Posts
I have said it before on this forum but the way in which we keep our animals should be beyond reproach.

Failure to acknowledge and address the issues from within the hobby will surely lead to restrictions being imposed upon us from the outside.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Paul F and Tarron

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,504 Posts
Yes there is, I completely agree.
But shouldn't we try to change things for the better from within the hobby, without waiting for someone on the outside doing it for us without any consultation?
Paul,

We've covered this in previous threads, and I agree with you. However, as individuals we have no power to enforce any agreed requirements. Even if official bodies such as the IHS etc set down guidelines or standards it deemed as the minimal accepted criteria it couldn't enforce it. There is nothing to stop anyone setting up a collection of non venomous or non endangered snakes, in racks of tubs that offer restrictive space, sanitary substrates, and feel that just because this is how its featured on youtube channels its the right way to do so.

I've already mentioned that I try and offer the largest volume vivaria I can for the given space where the vivarium is to be placed, and IMO the length of the viv should equal that of the snake up to 6' in length. I know that where I keep my royals in 120 x 50 x 35 cm (LxHxD) vivs, you probably house them in larger vivs. Who's to say my thinking is adequate, or inadequate. Who's to say your logic is wrong... not me.

Esiuo mentioned fish. I keep tropical marine fish. I have four small fish (common clowns, chromis and a royla garma) in a 120 ltr tank. Some people keep the same fish (and more) in 500 ltr tanks. Am I any worse a person for keeping them in a tank 1/5th the volume? My tanks been running five years, corals have grown and now cover the tank, the fish are healthy etc, and water chemistry is where it should be. Agreed I wouldn't keep a large fish in such a small tank, in the same way we see 18' burms or retics housed in 8' draws (aka BHB), but by keeping my own little bit of the reef in my living room helps me appreciate the beauty of these fish and corals. I would love to have a 400ltr system, but I was restricted by the given space, which is still IMO practical... but I'm digressing...

Personally I think the likes of the BHS and IHS should work with RSPCA to have agreed guidelines on vivarium size, heating methods for individual species, and the lighting requirements for lizards and snakes. But then, given the fact that the RSPCA have been less than supportive of keeping exotic animals in the UK, I doubt that would every happen.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,041 Posts
Yes Malc, I agree with your post too.
We have covered it many times, and we do agree on probably 95% of subjects anyway, as you know. : victory:
I accept we cannot force people to take up "our" keeping standards. But I don't think we should just give up trying to educate (probably not the best word for the job) new hobby keepers a little bit into other methods of "hobby keeping" rather than the almost battery farming style set ups that are becoming so popular. It can't do any harm, surely?

I understand why you feel frustrated by some of these discussions that seem to get recycled over and over again, but I always think it is worth trying to get new keepers to see that there is more than one way to skin a cat.
A big part of me actually couldn't give a toss how others keep their animals, it has no effect on mine what so ever!
I don't pretend to be an expert on anything, but doesn't it help people to get an understanding on something if they hear every side to the story?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,036 Posts
Personally I think the likes of the BHS and IHS should work with RSPCA to have agreed guidelines on vivarium size, heating methods for individual species, and the lighting requirements for lizards and snakes. But then, given the fact that the RSPCA have been less than supportive of keeping exotic animals in the UK, I doubt that would every happen.
In a petfect world yes. But the IHS and BHS are simply private clubs and unlikely to hold much sway with another society that is heavily politicised.
People forget that the RSPCA are simply a charity. They have no power at all. In fact when the Animal Welfare Act finally introduced the statutory legal role of Animal Welfare Inspector, with powers of entry, authority to swear out a warrant, powers of search, powers of seizure etc, the Act specifically states that employees of the RSPCA are NOT entitled to take this role.
The legislation itself requires a vet to certify that an animal is suffering, or is likely to suffering, if its conditions remain the same. So as long as it has water, the right temperature, food, not able to immediately injure itself etc, then no offence is committed.
Believe me, a vets view is very different to you or I. Very often i have been on warrants and thought animals would clearly be deemed suffering yet the vet says no.
So a couple of keepers societies saying that x y z is the ideal and correct way to house a species to ensure no suffering is not going to change bad keeping.
Ultimately if a vet says no suffering there is no offence no matter how poor the husbandry.
And as for the RSPCA, well here is an example.
A few years ago i was involved in a council case in which a couple had left a pair of bearded dragon with no heat or water. There were boxes of dead crickets and dried, crispy veg in the tank.
I had a call from the housing officer who was there asking for some advice.
I went and it was clear that this was the tip of the iceberg. Both were struggling to move and had legs at odd angles. Both were seriously underweight.
Both were seized and handed over to someone i often work with for treatment.
The RSPCA were contacted by the council. The local "inspector", who I had worked with before and thought was quite good, called and asked me if I would be able to sit in on the interview with him as he knew nothing about reptiles. I agreed and grilled the owner on issues such as temperature regulation, UV, diet, gutloading etc.
At the time i wasnt aware of the Vets report.
I was left believing that the owner was to be prosecuted.
I found out after the "inspector" had retired that the dragon both had broken legs.
And that he wrote the case off as no further action because it would have been too much hard work!!
So I have no faith in this charity.
Perhaps better progress would be made by lobbying councils who appoint Animal Welfare Inspectors. I know that if this happened a few months later, with the council leading, the owner would now be banned from keeping animals.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,036 Posts
**** 'em they're only snakes. They are probably better off in a rub than in the wild, or as a handbag
Not quite sure how to take this. I am sure it is tongue in cheek BUT on a thread about ethics, and given the way the likes of Clifford Warwick, Elaine Toland, et al, work, such a comment is, frankly, irresponsible.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,203 Posts
my opinion for the infinitesimal amount it matters

is keeping another species in a box or tub for decades till it expires ethical? no its not, but if humanity was ethical we would all be vegan wearing grass skirts in huts.

i was around when the snake bags came in with the living sitting on the bodies of the dead, those lucky few became the foundation of many of the species you own, and ethics didn't lessen that slaughter, economics did.

if we were ethical the hobby would be unrecognizable from its current image, but we are homo sapiens, the lucky shaven ape that discovered fire and hasn't stopped the burning since.

rgds
ed
ps u caught me on a dark day, on a brighter day i would say if you could, ask the snake in the tub to choose, tub life or being eaten alive by a predator sooner or later but free till then
 
  • Like
Reactions: StuG

·
Registered
Joined
·
33,050 Posts
What impact have either Toland or Warrick had Ian on how you keep your animals?
Granted none as yet. But read what Fraser has to say about those 2 clowns in the 'Ban the public from keeping reptiles' thread in the general herp chat section. It's quite disturbing, tbh. When I get home I'll provide a link, I can't do it right now as I'm on my phone waiting for the bus home, and the phone won't do links.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,036 Posts
They're a business Wilks, if they got keeping exotics banned they'd be out of a job.
There is no need to keep reptiles as pets or in collections, we do it because we like it. There's too many variable factors to be able to judge the ethics of it, mixed in with a fair amount of anthropomorphism.
Keep reptiles and don't be Pauline and it's fine.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
33,050 Posts
They're a business Wilks, if they got keeping exotics banned they'd be out of a job.
There is no need to keep reptiles as pets or in collections, we do it because we like it. There's too many variable factors to be able to judge the ethics of it, mixed in with a fair amount of anthropomorphism.
Keep reptiles and don't be Pauline and it's fine.
As promised, here you go, Stu:
Ban Public from Keeping Reptiles

Read it all if you can, in particular Fraser's response to me writing Warwick & Toland off as mere idiots.
 
1 - 20 of 37 Posts
Top