Venomous Snake Ownership

  • Owning a venomous snake as a pet is dangerous. It puts the safety of family, friends, and other household pets at risk of injury or death resulting from snake bites.
  • Venomous snakes are adept escape artists that may hide in the walls, furniture and piping of homes.
  • It is illegal to own a venomous pet snake in most cities and states. Permits for these animals are typically reserved for industry specialists including zoos and research scientists.
  • Insurance companies do not cover the costs of injury incurred from a venomous pet snake and hospital bills may cost upwards of $60,000.
  • Few hospitals carry anti-venom for the more exotic venomous snake species.
  • Releasing a venomous snake into the wild threatens local wildlife, neighborhood pets and community members who may come in close contact with the animal.
  • Zoos and animals shelters are unlikely to accept an unwanted venomous pet snakes from local community members. Contact your local veterinarian for assistance with an unwanted pet animal.

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Sources: Ernst CH, Zug GR Snakes in Question: The Smithsonian Answer Book pp. 149-151; BBC News “German snake comes to sticky end” <http://news.bbc .co.uk/2/hi/8609577.stm>; Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission.

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