Minimum Age for Keeping Venomous

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Minimum Age for Keeping Venomous

Postby Westley Price » Tue Jul 20, 2010 9:48 am

Hi all

I anticipate being crucified for this post, but so be it. I have something on my mind and it needs to be said.

We all know in recent months (years?) reptile keepers have come under fire by numerous groups including the various provincial nature conservation bodies as well as the well-known SPCA.

Also, there is the looming ban on the majority of popular reptile species which we are facing:

http://www.sareptiles.co.za/forum/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=15373&st=0&sk=t&sd=a&hilit=death+of+the+hobby

The last thing we need now is any form of negative publicity and having a young child being bitten by a snake is going to do just that. It might just be the final nail in the coffin for the hobby as we know it.

So what I am proposing, and what I would like us to debate, is to actually try and get a legal age for keeping "highly venomous snakes." (Someone would have to make a list of genera or species which would fall into this category)

Some of the US states have similar laws and I think it's a great idea.

We can propose an age (I personally feel 16 is an adequate age) and make it illegal to sell venomous snakes to anyone younger than that age. Of course it would be hard to enforce such a law, but asking a potential buyer for a copy of their ID can easily solve that. And if a parent thinks that his 13 year old is ready for a venomous snake, he/she can simply buy it on his behalf.

I feel that even just having such a law in place will already portray us in a positive light even if the law is not 100% enforced. At least we can say we do acknowledge the fact that this hobby can be dangerous and we are doing something about it.

What do you guys think of this idea?
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Re: Minimum Age for Keeping Venomous

Postby Lizard-lady » Tue Jul 20, 2010 10:07 am

Agree with 100%. :D
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Re: Minimum Age for Keeping Venomous

Postby nvlooi » Tue Jul 20, 2010 10:16 am

16 I reckon is a decent age. I remember me being a little lighty catching all kinds of things, but my dad ALWAYS was with me on venomous call outs.
Fortunatley I had n good friend that tuaght me how to handle snakes etc.

Also at that age one must do a venomous handling course... and cages must be to a strict standard!
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Re: Minimum Age for Keeping Venomous

Postby Fooble » Tue Jul 20, 2010 10:28 am

Lizard-lady wrote:Agree with 100%. :D


x 1
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Re: Minimum Age for Keeping Venomous

Postby Waz » Tue Jul 20, 2010 10:52 am

Where do I sign?
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Re: Minimum Age for Keeping Venomous

Postby uncutdiamonds » Tue Jul 20, 2010 11:01 am

I'm personally not in favor of more "regulations" at all. Hell, they don't even manage to enforce the existing ones.

In my opinion educating people on the risks involved and needs for keeping those animals is far more important.
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Re: Minimum Age for Keeping Venomous

Postby deleray » Tue Jul 20, 2010 11:02 am

18+ and no compromise. From a sellers point of view this is an @ss covering age. You do not want some very irate parent hunting you down when his 16 year old gets bitten by the snake you sold him. This should be self regulated within the community and common sense really.

How old should you be before you go looking in the field for cobras? That’s is up to the them. Many of us started herping when we were youngsters, but that is the parent and the Childs decision IMO.
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Re: Minimum Age for Keeping Venomous

Postby Waz » Tue Jul 20, 2010 11:06 am

If you think about it, it's actually surprizing that such a law doesn't exist.
We've got a limit on minimum age that someone may operate a motor vehicle, drink alcohol and even have sex, but it's ok for a kid to keep a taipan if he wants.
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Re: Minimum Age for Keeping Venomous

Postby sildargod » Tue Jul 20, 2010 11:15 am

I agree 100%, though an even more fitting test would be a lunacy test (I'm just thinking of the images of nuttyNatie that popped up recently) but we can't really test that now can we?

My gut feel would be to set it at 18, simply because you don't want to have the legal implication of angry parents who can claim that they were "led" into signing for their 16 (or younger) year old child to buy a venomous snake.
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Re: Minimum Age for Keeping Venomous

Postby Rishaad » Tue Jul 20, 2010 11:26 am

:smt023
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Re: Minimum Age for Keeping Venomous

Postby deleray » Tue Jul 20, 2010 11:27 am

And minimun age for this forum should be pretty close to that too!
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Re: Minimum Age for Keeping Venomous

Postby JPWittstock » Tue Jul 20, 2010 11:30 am

Hey Westley,

No crucifying yet, good start.
Those who remember the Reptiles Unlimited shop will remember that anyone 16 and under had to have an indemity form signed by their parents that stated what the snake was and what venom it carried, before they were allowed to purchase a venomous snake from us. This is as much a reality check for the purchaser as it is for the parent that would be sharing living space with the venomous snake.

I had very little resistance or resentment to the concept. Maybe it is an idea.

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Re: Minimum Age for Keeping Venomous

Postby Bernice » Tue Jul 20, 2010 11:35 am

I good with 18... lets keep all the 'legal limit' ages the same so that the officials can remember it more easily... sorry thats just me being facetious but still... Im sorta with uncut... they dont really uphold the current legislation and to add more is not going to help alot... however I do believe that it is absolute craziness that you can sell a rattlesnake to a clueless 13 year old and get away with it!

I say minimum age, with proof of having done some or other appropriate handling course, presenting appropriate permits and equipment to handle dangerous animal, gets any snake he wants...

Personal opinion and I may just get killed for this... BUT I believe that 'giant' snakes should fall into the age restriction as well... if you are not old enough / big enough to handle the snake you are buying you are asking for BIG (no pun intended) trouble... (please note Im referring to ALREADY big snakes, not hatchlings)
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Re: Minimum Age for Keeping Venomous

Postby MISA » Tue Jul 20, 2010 11:35 am

I hear you on the minimum age concern, to be the devil's advocate so to speak, I know some adults I wouldnt trust with a sharp sucker stick never mind a venomous reptile, as they incapable of foreseeing "what could happen" in so much as that they seem to think danger is something other people experience and tend to have a "It wont happen to me" logic.

Age alone surely can not be justification that a level of maturity is reached, experience can be gleened from a young age if the child is mentored and taught correct procedures from the begining no matter how old.

This compared to a say 40yr old male with "SDS" who walks into a reptile dealer's store with his lady sees a potentially dangerous reptile for sale, makes out he is the man (SDS is showing up) buys the reptile as he had plenty of so called experience on the farm when he was a kid catching goggas, takes it home puts it into a fish tank in the lounge until his next braai and rugby session, his mates are impressed by his manlyness of keeping a dangerous reptile, he goes one better and takes the said reptile out of its cage to show off and gets tagged... He is probably not afay with the consequence of the invenomation by the particular species he owns so tragedy lies waiting to claim him as a victim.

The seller/dealer may or may not have tried to warn the buyer or the dangers of the animal, after all the customer is an adult and has the money so the sale will happen irrespective of the dangers involved, Is the seller /dealer to blame for the buyer's death or disfigurement after getting tagged?

Basically anybody with money can purchase anything he/ she wants or needs to boast his or her ego no matter the consequence, we will still be the "drols in die drinkwater" as we "allowed" this fool access to a venomous reptile as we grow the industry through our passion.

Is the buyer to blame as he is old enough to know better?


Irrespective of who is to blame, the industry will catch the mud when it is slung in the media..

IMO> its a very very tricky situation we have, we have to create a balance with the ones that understand and the one's that do not understand the consequence of venomous reptiles and the invenomation by these animals.

Education would be the key, through knowledge fear,ignorance and stupidity can be cured .


Failing which perhaps would an indemnity form not be a possible solution to abscond/ absolve the seller/breeder from reprocussions should any arise? :smt017 as JP said.

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Re: Minimum Age for Keeping Venomous

Postby Nzyme » Tue Jul 20, 2010 12:00 pm

Ditto
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