The holding of
animals in wildlife education is critically important.
TV “documentaries” and the like invariably exaggerate the “danger” of wild animals, including most reptiles and especially snakes. The end point is a general fear and loathing of reptiles by many members of the public.
Snakes are portrayed as one-dimensional animals that want to do nothing more than kill the first human they find.
The reality is far different. Snakes in particular are not interested in people. Well-adjusted captives, as so different to what is portayed on TV, that most people display a sense of stunned disbelief as to why the snakes aren’t aggressive.
At Snakebusters, Australia’s best reptiles displays, the most common question we get asked is “why don’t the snakes bite”?
Our answer, “Why should they?”
This answer fails to satisfy many people, expecially those from older generations who have spent a lifetime being indoctrinated to the fact that all snakes want to bite and kill people.
Captive snakes (and other reptiles) are more than happy to be handled by people for hours on end. Snakebusters snakes often spend up to 8 hours a day being handled by people and are ready for more of the same after a good night’s sleep.
The educational impact of people being able to hold reptiles in a non-threatening situation is unrivalled. Nothing else de-demonizes reptiles more than good hands-on reptile education like Snakebusters does at reptile shows, reptile parties in Melbourne, kids reptile parties and corporate reptile parties.
Notwithstanding the value of this education, less experienced rivals that don’t practice hands-on with reptiles white-ant our educational message by continuing to demonize reptiles to their audiences. Worse still, local “competitors” to Snakebusters, including the DSE and their branch office in the form of “Zoos Victoria”, which includes the Zoos at Melbourne, Healesville and Werribee are now seeking to outlaw all public contact with reptiles.
Snakebusters has spent over $30,000 fighting to maintain the public’s right to have hands-on with live reptiles in 2010 and this fight will continue as long as needed.
Hands on reptile education will always be superior to the hands-off reptile displays of our less experienced competitors.
There is a plan to outlaw all private ownership of reptiles in Victoria in 2012 (announced by the DSE at end 2008), and Snakebusters has spent a huge amount of effort trying to prevent this from happening.
Unfortunately the tabloid media have not reported the story, except for a few pieces in “Leader” newspapers, that were run after Snake Man Raymond Hoser featured in local stories when educating local schools and children about reptiles.
If private ownership of reptiles is banned in Victoria, it is likely this will also impact on future availability of childrens reptile parties Melbourne, kids reptile shows and kid's reptile incursions, with the end-point being that if anyone in Victoria wants to see a reptile in future, it may only at best, be some mite infested snake behind glass at the Melbourne Zoo.