Snake ownership and social media

In current times we use social media for everything, and it’s not uncommon to see pictures and videos of snakes on snapchat/Facebook/reddit/tik tok, etc. However sometimes these posts show an unhealthy or injured animal, poor husbandry, misinformation, spider balls being spiders, live feeding, injuries from snake bites, and more, and this only gives ammunition to those who misunderstand or dislike reptile ownership. As we continue to see more possible bills restricting ownership of certain species and now this possible shipping ban in NY, I think it’s important to have a conversation about how we can provide a united front and put our best foot forward on social media. What type of things are ok to share and which type of things should maybe not be posted publicly? How should social media best be utilized to educate and inform about reptile ownership?


This is as close to social media as we get. Sharing our pics here and discussing things here. Things on social media are often distorted. Education is not high on some people’s priority list. If you were to use it for education I would say a good example is like what @mattcookreptiles is doing with his Q&A


Honestly, I myself, don’t put up anything to do with bites or feeding or anything of the sort.
I personally feel it cultivates a “brah” mentality that in my opinion I just loathe.
I don’t mind if you think your balls are bada$$ and you are by proxy, but no brah, you ain’t cool cause you’re showing how “bada$$” you are cause you’re laughing at it chomping down on you… All you’re really doing is making everyone in the herp community look bad…:roll_eyes:

I don’t think this a fight you can really win.
At least not if you try to make one.
The best way to go about in my opinion, is to privately message someone who you think is doing something disagreeable and in your best, most neutrally polite tone, explain why you believe they shouldn’t continue with that behavior.

Don’t make it public thing, that’s just going to backfire on you.

And if they brush you off, or tell you off, just leave them be. I think part of modern society’s problems is that people dont know when to back off and leave others alone.
But, I’m going to stop myself right there before I go off on tangent.

Also, use your own social media account to ,again politely, explain why you don’t think certain things should be put up. And what you think the proper etiquette should be in regards to things like that.

Whelp, that my long winded, two cents about it anyway…:sweat_smile:


I admin a few boa groups and we do not allow any type of bite pic or feeding pictures.

Bad husbandry is tricky because some people just do not know better and need to be taught… but if I see anything that is non negotiable being spread ill put a stop to it like deadly mite treatments like pest strips.


Context is probably pretty important.
Considering the popularity of reptiles as pets, and the looming presence of the state and its desire to legislate the joy out of us all - maybe it’s a good time to consider species specific clubs/associations.
These clubs would have bylaws and codes of ethics that members would agree to follow.
Makes sense to me that USARK would serve as a parent organization.


So in a sense kinda almost like how dogs have kennel or breed clubs but done in a way to uphold the beauty of herp keeping while not giving those against it more ammo.


Yes. There’s a reason why BSL isn’t more widespread than it is. It is not for lack of trying by activists. Dogs kill and maim a lot of people every year, I promise it’s not just pit bulls. Pit bulls just happen to not be recognized by the AKC. Breed clubs, their members and officers provide legitimate expertise to lawmakers. When additional persuasion is needed the AKC steps in. We can still crop and dock, we can also use dogs for hunting, livestock guarding, herding, and tons of other sports that organizations like PETA would like to see abolished.

Back to the subject at hand though, establishing a code of ethics would really be the only way to get a meaningful promise for good internet conduct. It would however also establish best practices for expo conduct, breeding, selling, husbandry, any number of things. A self imposed standard of behavior by breeders and keepers. If we don’t govern ourselves the state will be more than happy to do it for us. You could say the industry is doing fine without something like this but look at Florida and New York.


Oh goodness yes, this so much.
In my rant about “brahs” I forgot to mention that.
It’s one thing to show a snake bite pic with the intention of trying to show others it’s not that bad, but like I said, its another to act like you’re so cool.

Feeder pics to show your that your animal is thriving is one thing, and the less I say about the other reason, the better off we’ll all be.:wink:


I think there is always an exception to everything (for the most part anyway.)

Example: I’ve seen people make posts or videos of them getting their snake to bite them on purpose so they can educate how to get them off or how bad a snake bite really is depending on the species.

Feeding videos to educate on how snakes eat their prey, or how/what to feed them ect.

If you’re doing it to educate then I think it should be fine! Otherwise things like bite and feeding should stay off social media cause it makes us look bad and it makes the snakes we keep look dangerous.

Honesty is the best policy imo. So if you’re going to do something, be honest about it. Many people don’t like large snakes like retics or burms because they seem dangerous. And they very well can be! But that’s where honesty comes in. You can admit they’re dangerous, but generally they’re only dangerous when improperly cared for. So show what they can do, then show how to handle that situation, or better yet, how to prevent it in the first place.


This topic makes some really good points! We don’t want people to fear the hobby. Videos of crazy gross stuff happening are fun to look at and we have many of them but posting them to social media for a frenzy of criticism isn’t going to be good for the hobby​:+1: So tempting and totally understood that it’s Fun! But this topic points out the inevitable negative backlash. So much name calling and judgmental speeches these days. Sad, really sad. It’s like we decided that harsh criticism, labels and name calling, “blasting” each other publicly is a virtue… it isn’t. :v:


If things get worst and they start making ownership of alot of our snakes illegal I think having to much info out there about what pets we have could back fire in us. What I mean is that lately I’ve been trying to not post to much on social media so as to not let the bad guys know what reptiles I have at home… That way they don’t come knocking my door down to take them away someday. I guess I’m just paranoid lol.


I too lost all of my snakes in a terrible boating accident :cry::woman_shrugging:t3:

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I only have a “very small” handful of balls so I don’t think anyone would care much. :grin:


Infinitesimally small collection :wink:


soooo Tiny

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Somehow less than one :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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Funny you say that.
My brother showed me an Instagram post where some rock guy showed of a bel and another ball in his music video trying to be scary.
I couldn’t help but think, boy that’s a ball, a bel, no less, you ain’t scary…:smirk:

Thats because you know and I know that ball pythons are some of the puppy dog tamest snakes of the “big snake” family.
But the common joe doesn’t.
They just see,“snake”, scarey!
And those “brahs” feed into that mentality.
Instead of trying to stop it with some of the things they do.


These are my personal thoughts on this.

  • Assist feeding videos.
    This one gets me. There is enough of these videos already. Unless you have new tips or tricks, I don’t believe it is necessary to share.

  • Bite pictures/videos.
    I feel the same, unless you have something to add education wise then it is not doing anything but damage to the hobby.

  • Feeding videos.
    This is normally the first interaction someone new to reptiles has on Instagram due to the high views and algorithms. If they already had a issue with snakes, seeing a retic take down a thawed out rabbit isn’t helping anyone.

  • Spider Ball Python.
    I think that this is something I may have a different view on than most. I think that these videos need to be done, but in the correct manner… The more someone new to snakes can research a problematic animal, the better informed they are on whether they can care for that animal.

  • Poor husbandry.

Matt hit the nail on the head here.
I don’t think we should hide the bad parts, but rather be prepared to educate… and learn.

  • Illnesses/remedies.
    I think we need these, but only under the instruction of a trained professional.
    Not guesswork measurements or substituted medicines.

I have a legitimate question for this community regarding this subject. We’re all aware that social media content can have a negative effect on the hobby/industry when it showcases poor practices. As OP mentioned, it gives “ammunition” to people/groups who want to see the end of the reptile trade.

So what do we do about someone like a certain youtuber? We have someone who professes a love for the hobby and the animals and who has arguably one of the largest followings on YT and IG. He’s also featured on podcasts and on other people’s YT channels. We know he was mentored by one of the giants of herpetoculture and probably views himself as an ambassador of the hobby.

I just watched two videos where he is cheerfully freehandling venomous snakes. I didn’t even see a text disclaimer at the beginning of the video. Not even a “do not try this at home.”

People with followings that large clearly understand how the algorithms and behind-the-scenes mechanics of social media work. They use it to their advantage to get subscriptions and views, which in turn, equals revenue. We know that in the case of YT, the more outrageous and controversial the subject matter of the video content, the more the algorithms will work to promote it and suggest it to more viewers.

Regardless of what you think of him as a person or how much you think his other material has been a positive force for the industry, how does a community of responsible keepers respond to this?


Speaking for myself, I didn’t even know who the guy is until you just mentioned him.:laughing:

But I would argue that’s probably why the op created this thread in first place.
For as much interest as he maybe creating, he’s making just as big a case against it.

I got into ball pythons through my baby brother, the people he watches the most are snake discovery, Clint’s reptiles, Gerrick DeMyer (I feel so bad, I never spell his name right) and nerd.
And even then, he’s only really interested in a nerd video when its Kevin talking about the animals.

You’re making a good point though, in that to a degree, big personalities like him should behave more responsibly, weather you like it or not, you are role model of sorts, you should act the part I suppose…