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Thread: Snake fears

  1. #1
    Registered User LiadanCroft's Avatar
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    Snake fears

    Im not gonna beat the bush around, we all know it, people are terrified of snakes. Whether its the kind of person to shuffle into a corner, run away, yell and get angry or straight up try to get aggressive towards the snake, we have all been there. Even those with the most accepting families and friends.

    Now, I dont mind someone being afraid of something or not liking something in general. My deal is the gigantic lack of education. I know tons of people take snakes to school events and talks to educate people. Some even take the risks of taking their beloved pets to local parks to educate the locals, which might work might not. There's reptile lovers everywhere trying their best. However it's highly difficult to educate everyone especially people who would rather refuse to listen or read or educate themselves or simply dont care enough and things go in one ear out the other. Even so, it highly bothers me how I might mention having a pet snake and people imagine a green anaconda and cobra hybrid with the general attitude of a starving zombie. I dont mind them being afraid, even if it is of a cornsnake or a ballpython or even a gecko. I just want more knowledge to be out in the hands of the general public. I wish people knew what they were fearing.

    Im afraid of insects, yet I can understand them, if I had a child that wanted a pet insect Id allow it so long as they weren't truly harmful and the child showed responsability and knowledge. If someone were to teach me something about them Id sit and listen. I know what it's like and I'm not saying lets throw snakes at everyone and force them to be okay with it, no. What I want is for people not to give up so easily, "Oh this person probably wont react too thrilled, best avoid the subject all together." Yes in some cases that's the best course of action, yes some people are horrid and terrible, yes, avoiding conflict is good, it's encouraged.

    What Im trying to get at is that it's too easy to fall into being exhausted of trying to educate people. You dont even have to say much, just try not to scoff at their ridiculous ignorant notions of snakes that hase and kill people and casually mention small facts that help dispell the rampant myths.

    What I try, personally is to say a small tidbit in conversation about animals or mention a "random fact" or maybe even approach the subject, get a feel for the persons reaction, then if its negative I mention how fragile and cowardly snakes can be, these are two things that tend to take people aback and disarm them, if they react stubbornly to this I stop, if they react with curiosity I cautiously add some words of knowledge about how they can only survive in certain temperatures and humidities, or how if fed frozen thawed it needs to be done properly because if it gets cooked or stays cold they can get very sick and die. Ive even mentioned how if one is not careful a rat or mouse can kill a snake. These comments like I said, make them seem like much less of a threat than what they probably imagined previously. Ive even had a guy, to my extreme surprise, claim "Wow then we really need to change the way we look at snakes!" after I told him exactly this. Other things I try to mention is the sizes of commonly kept snakes, mainly weight in pounds compared to human weights, to show just how small of a threat they are to a human.

    I want to reach out I want to help as many people as possible either get over their fears, or at least learn about what they fear, both of which are very difficult but in plenty of cases its possible. The reason I post this is because I've seen it way too often how we tiptoe around people's fears and dislikes. Now I understand it's often for the safety of people's beloved pets and for the safety of keeping a place to live in and avoid confrontations, I encourage that, I just dont like how it translates to avoiding talking about it ever or even bothering to help people understand or learn about reptiles. Plenty of people are not going to care or learn, yet theres also plenty of people who will, if given half a chance, actually listen and learn and even if they still dont like snakes or care much, one more person that understands is always better for the hobby and the animals we so dearly love and seek to protect.

    Sent from my SM-G900P using Tapatalk

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  3. #2
    Registered User Kira's Avatar
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    I'm in agreement with you. I don't mind if people don't like my snake but I still expect them to be respectful. Some people have said some very uneducated things to me regarding my ball python and it drives me crazy. I think it's very important that the general public becomes more educated on snakes. I'm tired of reading headlines for articles like "Python on the loose". What kind of python?? There are so many! That's part of the reason why some people freak out when I say that I have a ball python. They just hear the word python and say "I can't believe that you have a PYTHON!!"

    I've been able to have some reluctant family members and friends meet my snake. So far the first thing that everyone says is, "Oh, she's really small..." They just assume that I am keeping like a 30 FT KILLER SNAKE that's going to go after me and my dogs. It's hard to not scoff when people ask me if my ball python is poisonous (venomous is the word they are looking for anyway) or if I even keep it in a cage? It's really difficult to not say "No I just have it loose in the house and hope that my dogs don't get to it or that it doesn't get stuck somewhere". So part of the problem is that my first reaction is to be very sarcastic. I've been working on answering questions without being sarcastic so that it can be a learning experience.

    These past few weeks have been good because I had some wary friends meet my snake. They quickly realized that she isn't a huge, scary thing with enormous fangs and they actually held her The first step is getting people to realize that the majority of snakes aren't these evil creatures that want to kill everything.
    Last edited by Kira; 04-21-2017 at 01:25 AM.
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  5. #3
    Registered User MissterDog's Avatar
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    I had a really interesting experience with my niece (turning 4 in a few months) about this. Out of curiosity I asked her what she thought about snakes, and her immediate response was 'They are scary" but it seemed like an auto-this-is-what-the-world-says-I-should-say sort of reply. So I decided to show her a few pictures of ball pythons I was thinking of getting, and she immediately said "oh so cute! That's a snake? Can I touch it?"

    That's been the general reaction I've been having with people, they just seem legit surprised how small and 'wow it's actually cute" ball pythons are. I'd say pretty relevant to this picture here:http://i2.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/...69/946/0f4.jpg

    Usually they hear the word 'python' and just wig out. Doesn't help that for SOME REASON, they think movies like Anaconda and Snakes On a Plane is an accurate portrayal of what they are. *coughmyparentscough* But good news is that I think I at least sorta converted my mom. She had a little bit of an extreme reaction when I first told her, (oh no it will eat the cats! It may kill you!") but the more she learned she started to become sincerely interested and excited I was getting a ball python, even offered suggestions and fun ideas what to do with my enclosure
    Last edited by MissterDog; 04-21-2017 at 04:44 AM.


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  7. #4
    Registered User MmmBanana's Avatar
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    So, to be completely honest, I was one of those people about 2 months ago. I can be close minded at times, and I always thought snakes were a weird pet that only odd people kept. Then I started dating a girl that had a normal ball python for 9 years. I still kinda thought it was odd, but I was interested in her so I gave it a chance an was open minded about it. After holding her normal BP Jasper the first time, I was instantly amazed by how cool he was. Then one day we were at petsmart buying something for her snake, and I saw a tank that was suppose to have a banana ball python in it. The snake was sold, so I googled what a banana ball python was. I was blown away! I had no idea there were such colorful pythons. A month and a half later after obsessively looking at different morphs and doing research, I now have my own Banana Pastave BP!

    So, I guess I kinda understand both sides. Some people just wont ever be interested in snakes, and that's okay. But if any of my friends or family show interest and an open mind, I will have zero problems teaching them what I have learned so far about snakes.

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  9. #5
    BPnet Senior Member Zincubus's Avatar
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    Snake fears

    Quote Originally Posted by MissterDog View Post
    I had a really interesting experience with my niece (turning 4 in a few months) about this. Out of curiosity I asked her what she thought about snakes, and her immediate response was 'They are scary" but it seemed like an auto-this-is-what-the-world-says-I-should-say sort of reply. So I decided to show her a few pictures of ball pythons I was thinking of getting, and she immediately said "oh so cute! That's a snake? Can I touch it?"

    That's been the general reaction I've been having with people, they just seem legit surprised how small and 'wow it's actually cute" ball pythons are. I'd say pretty relevant to this picture here:http://i2.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/...69/946/0f4.jpg

    Usually they hear the word 'python' and just wig out. Doesn't help that for SOME REASON, they think movies like Anaconda and Snakes On a Plane is an accurate portrayal of what they are. *coughmyparentscough* But good news is that I think I at least sorta converted my mom. She had a little bit of an extreme reaction when I first told her, (oh no it will eat the cats! It may kill you!") but the more she learned she started to become sincerely interested and excited I was getting a ball python, even offered suggestions and fun ideas what to do with my enclosure
    That's an interesting point about snake photos as I carry a photo of each of my 22 snakes around with me everywhere I go - even to weddings or funerals - as someone will always mention or ask about my snakes and then I'm immediately on the defensive ..


    It's amazing how quickly people change from being scared or repulsed to being intrigued and impressed ...

    So most people are like I used to be - thinking they were either deadly Cobra types as seen on telly or big brown moster Boas as seen at the local zoos . As soon as they see my photos showing white LTRs snakes , vivid Green Rhino nosed , vibrant Red Bamboo rat snake and the Yellow an white Albino Royals a big smile appears on their faces or a look of amazement . The photos on my mobile phone doesn't have the same effect for some reason.
    Last edited by Zincubus; 04-21-2017 at 07:59 AM.

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  11. #6
    BPnet Veteran ladywhipple02's Avatar
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    Re: Snake fears

    I've found that most people are respectful - and even interested and curious - as long as I'm respectful in turn. I've never tried to shove my animals down people's throats. The fear of snakes is an irrational one, and I have plenty of irrational fears that I don't want shoved down my throat. I know they're irrational, I know they're probably stupid, but they still frighten me based on my past experiences; irrational fears are really hard to argue against because you'll typically get irrational arguments for WHY they're afraid.

    I typically let people come to me: a couple women here at work have seen me cruising morphmarket and have made a point to ask "Are you buying a snake?" in which case a conversation can be started about the types I keep and the industry, depending on how interested they are. I even had one woman state that she was afraid of them, but she'd like her kids to come over and see them so they can learn not to be afraid of them.

    Respect begets respect.

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  13. #7
    Registered User craigafrechette's Avatar
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    Unfortunately, for many people, ignorance is bliss. They have these preconceived notions of what snakes are and their minds are made up. However, those who are actually willing to listen will often be pleasantly surprised and sometimes relieved once they know a bit more about the actual species size, demeanor, etc...

    I went into my bank last week to see a woman inside the bank with her pit bull. I wasn't bothered in the least by it, but I couldn't help think "what would somebody say if I walked in with one of my snakes in hand or over my shoulder? They would probably freak and tell me to get that thing out of the bank. Now let's be honest, which could potentially cause more harm to a human? A 40+ POUND pit bull or a 600 gram Kingsnake or a 220 gram BP? Even a 1600 gram BP? But, I just pet the dog, made my transaction and went on with my day...

    It would be nice to see snakes become more "accepted", but I keep them because I am passionate about them, regardless of the "stigma" or "taboo" that will never go away.
    ...life is beautiful...

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  15. #8
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    Re: Snake fears

    Part of it is the way snakes are kind of lumped together, since they generally look similar, a long tapered noodly thing. Big snakes are just bigger noodles and small snakes are small noodles. This is different from fish, which look pretty different from each other. People are generally scared of sharks, but probably not goldfish. Since it is harder to differentiate between dangerous and harmless snakes, it is easier and effectively safer to just assume all snakes are dangerous. The easiest way to 100% avoid dangerous snakes it to 100% avoid all of them.

    Another problem is restraining snakes. Usually when people take their pets outside, they have a harness or leash. That way people who are uncomfortable with dogs or other animals know the owner can restrain their pets from attacking others.

    Photographs are a great way to introduce people to snakes. I sent a few pictures to someone I knew who did not like snakes. Ball pythons are great for this since they are super cute. When she visited, she asked to see my ball python and gently touched him with one finger. She is still uncomfortable around snakes, but progress is progress.

    I actually think snek memes have helped out a little with this issue. It somewhat ridicules some of the fears we have of snakes. When you see a snake is something that can be gently booped like a dog or cat and shies away instead of attacking you, it helps put things into perspective. Even when there is an angry snake, it says something like "heck off". Most snakes are not angry and aggressive because they gain a satisfaction from attacking and scaring humans, but are acting defensive. A snake definitely does not benefit food wise from killing a human, unless it is a gigantic snake, while cats and dogs have been known to eat dead humans.

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