Keeping Ball Pythons as pets... Are we right?

Before we begin I would like to state a few things:

  • I myself keep Ball Pythons (and Boas).
  • I use both tank and rack set-ups.
  • I don’t wish to cause arguments, however I do expect strong and heavy debate.

So, let’s kick this off.

A lot of people, both inside and outside of the reptile community don’t know where captive snakes come from originally and how they make their way over to countries all around the world.

Also I would like to know everyone’s thoughts and opinions on why you believe we are ok doing what we are doing.

So I present you this -

Before heading I to the video, please note a few things.

As with all documentaries, there is already a narrative that the film maker wishes to feed upon. By such I mean a lot of the good things are skimmed over and the bad is emphasized to help push their beliefs and views.

This is one singular source of information, not every situation is the same and I guarantee their are better and worse examples out there.


Thank you to @nathan_e for sharing this with me :+1:.


No problem @eaglereptiles! Glad to be able to share things like this with my fellow reptile lovers. As far as what I think of this video is that it is obviously biased and wants to paint reptile keepers in a bad light as if we are in the same class as people who abuse animals which is obviously not the case. Not only do I think this is unfair but it could severely tarnish the reputation of reptile keepers especially since we are going through a global pandemic and people have been documented throwing out their reptiles for the fear that they may have Covid-19 (which is not true) and I believe that after this pandemic is over people will point fingers to the things they are afraid of such as reptiles, but thankfully we have organizations that have our backs such as USARK. I also observed that they made it seem as if ball pythons are extremely active snakes that need a huge enclosure and other things of that nature which is not true at all, they are ambush predators that SIT AND WAIT for prey and it seems unfair that propaganda such as this is allowed to be spread but if it were something like religion or political propaganda it would have gotten shutdown right away but I cant really say I’m surprised because some lawmakers are already wanting to ban snakes. I would really like to see everyone else’s response on this video and just like @eaglereptiles said, this is meant for a educational discussion and not meant to cause arguments and if you agree or disagree with me or Tom that is fine but do so respectfully!


The main reason behind posting this is, if this isn’t discussed on a open platform like here then people that are against reptile keeping will never find correct and perspective changing opinions that they need.

We as keepers and breeders represent the hobby and need a place to send people when they would like to see the bigger picture, or at least from our point of view.


I agree with every word you said. Us representing the hobby is key to the continuation of reptile keeping


I doubt any of those people are on here. We are in an echo chamber my friends. Not a bad one, but one nonetheless.


This craptastic piece of propaganda is just as infuriating the second time as it was the first. Admittedly I had to force myself to keep watching when she started blathering about changing the genetics of the species. First of all we play around with the phenotypic expression of the species, but arguably there is no evidence that we are significantly altering the genetics. Now I am aware that there is currently a topic of conversation regarding doing just that in the forums but that is a completely different topic. Even for the sake of argument we were doing so, how exactly do these geniuses think every domesticated animal came to be domesticated, selective breeding for ideal traits. That actually goes for plants as well as animals.

They also devote a bit too much time to claiming that reptile keepers do not view them as sentient beings, without bothering to really explain the definition. Snakes have a complex nervous system which by definition makes them sentient. However, colloquially, the term is used to describe advanced reasoning or deduction skills, which they do not posses. As with pretty much everything in this video context is obscured in favor of their “pet” narrative.

As to quality of life take just about any ball python in the wild and compare it to just about any captive bread ball python. The elimination of their parasite load alone is an improvement. They are no longer subjected to predation. They no longer run the risk of starvation due to inability to catch prey. Comically the narrator points out the confined space that the one breeder was keeping them in, without actually showing the size of snakes in the tub, yet ignores the fact the one caught in the wild was pulled from a burrow that was narrower than the breedrs tub.

I am not going to pretend that all owners and breeders are both knowledgable let alone ethical. Every single trip to one of my local pet stores I end up in at least one 30 minute to hour discussion with someone that just “rescued” or was given a ball python, or worse got one without even the most basic research. Yes, people suck. It’s true in the dog world, equestrian, aquarium, ranchers, you name it. I am not responsible for some other morons actions, even as a breeder, well first year breeder, I cannot dictate what someone else does in their own home. Locally there are a handful of people I would never sell a pet rock to let alone a ball python.

I also like how they had to go overseas to show a burned snake because of the heating rock. Yeah I know it still happens even here, despite being well known for 30 years they were dangerous. I’ve been fortunate enough, at least as far as reptiles go where I’ve lived even the big box pet stores won’t sell that crap. I haven’t seen a burned snake in almost 20 years. I know it still happens and it pisses me off.

I guess what really grinds my gears is the hypocrisy of trying battle extreme ignorance on one extreme by by promoting ignorance from the opposite extreme. I’ve seen, first hand, the damage ignorant exonazi groups like PETA and the Sierra Club have done.

In over 30 years I have seen a dramatic improvement in the reptile “industry”, no change happens overnight and to expect it is either naive or ignorant. However, collectively we’ve shown a great capacity for self correction. I fully expect in the next 10-15 years there will be things that I will end up doing differently as we learn new things.

As far as trade shows, that was the one thing I actually agree with to fairly large degree. We make a big point of focusing on proper husbandry including providing a sense of security, yet stuff snakes in small clear containers under bright lights. I don’t claim to have an answer to that, but hopefully it is ine area that gets addressed. Which leads to what will probably the most offensive comment of my post, how many breeders did they interview before picking the one they showed? Seriously, was like watching the same inbred hillbilly in a moomoo being interviewed for the 4th time in as many years after a tornado has leveled her trailer house. Yeah I’m paraphrasing Jeff Foxworthy, but come on…


I think that us having a overall good look to how we do things would still help at some level because just like in the video I have seen people that are not for reptiles still go to shows to see what it’s all about.


With respect to the expos, I think the duration of all that stress is short enough and infrequent enough that it really doesn’t start to affect the health of the animals. The “documentary” (word used loosely) doesn’t even address the biggest actual concern about expos, which is the spread of desease, viruses, parasites, etc.

Everything in this video is just so, so poorly researched. I laughed out loud at how many times he said “I know nothing about snakes,” or “I don’t really care for snakes,” or “I’m not an expert.” So why should anyone be listening to you?? :laughing:


I find that, when I watch things along those lines, I get so worked up and angry that I have trouble engaging in productive discussion with those who disagree with me. Does anyone else have that problem- having trouble keeping your temper in those situations? I get frustrated by it because I generally have a perspective I think could be worth sharing. And occasionally my silence is interpreted as some sort of admission of wrongdoing.

I admit I didn’t make it all the way through because I felt my blood pressure rising, hehe. The minute I saw a big cat being grouped with a leopard gecko under the label ‘exotic pet,’ I got a twitch in my eyelid. :wink:


There are things out there that are so disingenuous and baseless that engaging it with debate is a waste of your time and detrimental to your health.

If someone came to me honestly looking for some answer I’d engage with them. But responding to this video itself? It’s pointless. It’s like trying to refute the flat earth or hoax moon landing stuff. Reason and knowledge didn’t get them into that position so it sure as hell won’t get them out.


Yeah I agree. It’s not a reasonable, rational argument. Not worth the time of day to even acknowledge.


One small thing here… This is most assuredly NOT a documentary. It is, as @gov_balls noted, a propaganda piece dressed up to look like it is a documentary so as to make it look more credible to the layman. Fundamentally, this is not different than the ‘Alien Autopsy’ documentary from years ago - shot in a legitimate looking style, but still complete and utter malarkey at the end of the day.


Animal right activist propaganda comes disguised in many forms from children’s book distributed freely to so called “documentary”, they will also try different approaches, from scaring people and the danger certain animals pose to them, to make them feel sorry for the animals.

They are that predictable and considering how much moneys it brings in they will never stop, sure at the bottom of their ranks they have some good hearted people that want to make a difference but are too naive to understand it is a money making business that does not even care about animals and keep spreading the narrative anyway.

Once you’ve seen one or their videos or read one of their articles you’ve seen them all.


The funny thing is that even though these so called “animal rights” organizations and activists try to seem so genuine when in fact organizations like PETA has even come out and said they put down a vast majority of their rescues because it is considered a “mercy killing” and not only that but they believe that people shouldn’t even own dogs or cats because they consider them wild animals. My point being with saying this is that people have such clouded judgment sometimes and are also naive to the point that they dont even know about a organizations ethics that they are backing so this is why crap like this youtube video come out because it seems to come from a “official” source.


I think this is another mockumentary filmed by PETA to fill the void of their own insignificance… the worse thing about it is it works. To the untrained eye people who had no opinion on this matter will now have a very jaded opinion of what the reptile community is about.

I personally have mixed feelings about expos, I haven’t been to one yet but have watched them on youtube and always find watching the animals I love in small enclosures unsettling, yet I really hope to go to Doncaster when this virus thing has settled down. Then I can make a fully formed opinion on the subject.

As for the rest of the video… absolute tosh!!

PETA can suck my balls :wink:


This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.


Films like this are why we need to make sure our schools teach people critical thinking skills. Not just reptiles, one can find this kind of propaganda about many subjects. We need people to be able to see the prejudice, lies, and exaggerations shown in this and other films, do their own research, think for themselves and then make a educated decision about how they may feel about whatever subject it is. (and I have to confess, I only made it through about 2/3 s of the film) I agree we are lucky to have USARK. we all need to support and join. I joined a while ago, everyone here who us able should too. because there are a lot of people out there who don’t know how to think critically and a lot of low people who take advantage of others ignorance.


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Absolutely brother… it is a shame that we live in a time when spoon fed indoctrination is so easy. Well said👍

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While I agree with everything everyone has said so far, I do think we should consider the ethics of importing ball pythons from the wild and whether we’re doing in it in a sustainable way.

This article does a pretty good jobs of exploring the positives and negatives of the ball python trade. We all raise ball pythons because we love the breed, and I think that should extend to making sure that wild populations are thriving as well as improving important practices to limit death and stress of imported animals.