A cause for concern (PLEASE READ)

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A cause for concern (PLEASE READ)

Postby Herald_23 » Tue Nov 13, 2012 12:14 am

Please note this is not a topic to identify the perp's or those responsible, this is to discuss maturely and synthesize a solution.

With venomous snakes becoming popular and ever so available, teenagers and old beginner snake keepers alike are getting their parents to buy 'hots' for by whatever method of coaxing and deception.

Over the past couple of weeks I have seen some alarming pictures circulating both BBM, Whatsapp and Facebook of really young guys free-handling, tailing and placing their face 20cm away from stuff like White lipped tree vipers, puffadders and Rhinoceras vipers. This, in my opninion, is not who I am, but unfortunately the masses are tarred with the same brush and something seriously needs to be done!

Not only is this damaging our hobby and misinforming to the general public, but also we have careless guys using up antivenom stock that could have been used for a serious case.

I considered setting up some sort of information medium i.e pamphlets etc but somehow I think ignorance is a lot more powerful than logic.

This is a serious matter, please do not turn a blind eye and say 'Darwinism will take effect'. It won't.

Any suggestions, help or opinions, please.
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Re: A cause for concern (PLEASE READ)

Postby Unforgiven » Tue Nov 13, 2012 7:42 am

I agree, but sadly there isn't much that can be done.

A lot of the time, these freehandlers know the dangers and yet still do it. My only thought behind this is that they want to be seen as cool, "hardcore", having a set of "big ones" - hence the taking of photos. I'm sure we all know a few people who freehandle from time to time, but you don't see them taking photos and bragging about it.

That being said, there are probably a bunch of guys out there who freehandle who somehow don't know what could actually happen if they get bit. Pamphlets I suppose are a good way to educate the people, but I don't know anyone who has the resources and would be willing to surrender them knowing that a lot of their money would be wasted on people who just don't care.

Then there's always my favourite - snake shows. A lot of people who don't even like snakes attend them simply because you get to see wierd and wonderful snakes. Sadly though I only know of a handful of people around the country who regularly do these shows. Its too taxing on the snakes to do the shows frequently and also to have to move and travel from show to show. Maybe there is still something we can do there. I'm pretty sure the guyys who do these shows are already trying what they can.

My last suggestion on the issue is that I believe a lot of the young guys who freehandle are just following the example of a lot of the older handlers. The older guys may have the experience necessary, but they do nothing to say that nobody else should try it. What I'm trying to say is that the younger guys seem to think its okay. My suggestion then is to make it a point to let these guys know its not on. To ignore all the pictures they post. Anything to get them to realise we don't think they are hardcore, but then again that's something that requires everyone to participate and sadly there are people who will give the guy recognition.
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Re: A cause for concern (PLEASE READ)

Postby Cyberduke » Tue Nov 13, 2012 7:54 am

Being 16 years old and a teenager myself I can testify that there are really some teenagers that really do not have any respect or true knowledge about snakes whatsoever. They will have irresponsible "fun" with wild caught snakes(witch includes poking it with sticks, free handling and well basically everything that herald_23 said) then kill it or throw it in a shoe box when they are done. There are many stories about such events that I know happened.

You also get these that will buy captive bred specimens, just to sell it at a higher price for a quick buck or two. They do not know how to properly handle and care for the snakes. But remember, those guys aren't real herpers for the love of reptiles, they are probably in it for either the money or some other reason.

But those cases are really according to me in the minority and there are really some true and responsible young herpers around. I personally would not think I am ready for a "hot" snake because I want to do the course first to be confident around venomous snakes. I have met a lot of teenagers witch has done some kind of venomous snake course and are truly passionate about reptiles. And I feel that the moment someone hear the words "teenager" they always think of the irresponsible type because the give the rest of us a bad name.
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Re: A cause for concern (PLEASE READ)

Postby Cyberduke » Tue Nov 13, 2012 7:59 am

Just a quick note, after I posted my post, I saw unforgiven's post. And I agree, I actually know someone that does snake catching that has taught herself how to handle snakes by watching people in the television. She got before and last week she caught a massive cobra(I don't know witch, I wasn't there) with her hands and a broom. That is the example she got and that's how she do things.
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Re: A cause for concern (PLEASE READ)

Postby Lillypod » Tue Nov 13, 2012 8:13 am

I know a 16 year old kid that keeps sending broadcasts saying he wants to buy venomous snakes and he has money. He has only owned a few non-venomous snakes and I told him those snakes are venomous and he should not buy them before he did a course for the safety of himself, his friends and his family, but he ignored me and kept on asking for different venomous snakes.
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Re: A cause for concern (PLEASE READ)

Postby chris w » Tue Nov 13, 2012 9:33 am

I personally believe we in south africa should employ a system much like that in america, where you are required to complete either a snake handling course or a certain number of hours of training with a qualified snake handler, perhaps we could break it down into the form of a drivers licence which would have to be provided to the breeder/seller, and above all the buyer must be over 18. Sadly there will always be the kid who cons his dad or grandparent into unwitingly buying the animal, and that's where the seller has to be informative and let them know exactly what will happen if they get bitten. At one of the expos earlier in the year, while at one of the caging stands a old man came up with a small tub in his hand, he said to the vendor that he was looking for a cage for this snake that his 13 year old grandson had told him was a corn snake, I looked into the tub and low and behold it was a copperhead, and he thought I was full of it when I said so.
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Re: A cause for concern (PLEASE READ)

Postby Davidc » Tue Nov 13, 2012 9:46 am

Unforgiven wrote:I agree, but sadly there isn't much that can be done.


The problem with this is that if we dont do something/regulate this issue it will be done for us by goverment and we may not like the outcome. All it will take is some kid gets tagged and dies and there will be a hugh outcry about how easily HOTS are to come by. Goverment will step in and we will be screwed.
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Re: A cause for concern (PLEASE READ)

Postby boomslang(kaas) » Tue Nov 13, 2012 9:48 am

I agree with chris w. A person who wants to keep a venomous snake should first be proven competent to do so. I think doing a handling course alone is not enough to keep a venomous snake. If you want to keep hots you should gain experience in working with different individuals within the same species. The snake you handle at a handling course might behave very differently to the one you purchase and keep. Most importantly I think there should be an age restriction of at least 18 on the keeping of hots.
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Re: A cause for concern (PLEASE READ)

Postby Herald_23 » Tue Nov 13, 2012 10:54 am

Westley, I have happened upon a few of those in the past but it seems we can discuss it until the cows come home but won't reach any decent solution.

The problem is we can have age restrictions but the guys just get their parents to do it, and I get the feeling it's the guys whose parents are loaded with cash that are the biggest culprits.

May I suggest that we have 'classrooms' where the aspiring 'hots' keeper learns about the general keeping of snakes and proper handling. Perhaps this lengthy process (a month maybe???) will push the parents away from the idea when asked to get a venomous snake.

But none of that will stop poaching of wild venomous, infact, the above will encourage poaching because why get a WDB when you can pick up a puffie in the garden?

I definitely agree with the above statement of the government intervening if we don't fix this, and i'm not ready to give up my collection because some clown decided to show off his Boomslang to his buddies and got all of them bitten and killed.

We need to inform the public to research the snakes first that their children want because if someone gets bitten and it's by an asian tree viper or euro adder, it's not going to be pretty- our doctors can only do so much.
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Re: A cause for concern (PLEASE READ)

Postby Bushviper » Tue Nov 13, 2012 11:26 am

Slowly but surely the laws will change. Gauteng already wanted to eliminate the keeping of exotic venomous snakes. We did come up with an alternative but will have to wait and see. I envision very soon that the other provinces will outlaw exotic venomous snakes. The permits / licenses will have strict requirements which I doubt these people will be able to reach.

Once the medical aids stop paying for "idiot" bites and provincial hospitals charging exact costs as they do with accidents while under the influence attempted suicides etc then these people will have to take out serious loans to cover the costs. Their snakes will be confiscated without a doubt and probably euthanased in any case.

I can see this happening or like so many States in the US and Germany, Belgium, and other European countries the keeping will be stopped in its entirety. Those people tried to fight it but lost the battles. We stand zero chance of winning that battle here.
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Re: A cause for concern (PLEASE READ)

Postby Jamster » Tue Nov 13, 2012 11:28 am

One thing I believe is that no matter how much knowledge and training these freehandlers get, they will freehandle if they want to.

You cannot simply say that if someone has done a handling course and knows the consequences of being bitten that they wont freehandle. Most freehandlers know full well how to handle snakes properly and dont really care about the consequnces. For example, there are many people on the roads, with their licenses, that know full well how to drive safely and responsibly, yet they drive recklessly regardless of the consequences. Many will freehandle even after being bitten by a potent snake.

I think its that sort of risky behaviour that they thrive on, regardless of the consequences.
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Re: A cause for concern (PLEASE READ)

Postby Hantam » Tue Nov 13, 2012 12:14 pm

Bushviper wrote: I envision very soon that the other provinces will outlaw exotic venomous snakes.


Northern Cape have already under their new act outlawed all venomous snakes even indigenous ones. When I inquired what the motivation for this was I was told that the just this free handling and the possibility of being tagged by them.
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Re: A cause for concern (PLEASE READ)

Postby Viper Wade » Tue Nov 13, 2012 12:18 pm

Like the ad in the classifieds right now, trade dogs for anything 'venimous'! :smt017
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Re: A cause for concern (PLEASE READ)

Postby it_bit_me » Tue Nov 13, 2012 3:15 pm

It's more of an parenting problem.
If I'm gonna be an old, lonely man, I'm gonna need a thing, you know, a hook, like that guy on the subway who eats his own face. So I figure I'll be Crazy Man with a Snake, y'know. Crazy Snake Man. And I'll get more snakes, call them my babies, kids won't walk past my place, they will run. "Run away from Crazy Snake Man, " they'll shout!”
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