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Not a punch but some questions (and my own rant)...

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Posted by jared w on May 16, 2003 at 14:12:50:

In Reply to: Not a punch but some questions (and my own rant)... posted by Rob Carmichael on May 14, 2003 at 08:37:14:

Sure, I can run with this. My animals do have basking sites, In natural and simulated sunlight. I do simulate rain, opening my the windows and vents to let the barometric pressure change in and then mist my animals, some more than others. Unnatural diet, hmmmmmmm, a mouse is a mouse either way right? My coppers eat mice, and are sometimes treated to cicadias which they love. My snake eaters eat snakes and my caging set ups are all very naturalistic and it is hard to see my animals in there cages unless you go in and pull them out. I do use some pine needles as well, tree bark, etc etc. All sprayed and treated for mites before entering the cage. The only way these animals will survive is through captive propagation and release, and so far it has worked very well in this area. Seeing juvies and adults on a regular basis that we have released. I do sell offspring, but I also give back to the enviroment as well.

:I don't necessarily disagree with your rant (with some of your points as they are well taken), however, I have some questions:

: 1) You say "Don't force wild animals to play by your rules"...well, when we put a snake in captivity against its will isn't that forcing them to play by our rules? We force them to accept a certain "unnatural" diet. We force them to: live in cages which may not have the proper heat, don't allow for opportunities to cover large tracts of habitat, may not have proper humidity levels, lack of suitable dens, improper basking sites, opportunities in finding a mate, feeling wider temperature variations, feeling rain, heck, even feeling fear from other predators, etc. The bashing I have seen throughout the years on this forum dealing with the venomoid issue shows how volatile it is but it also shows how reasoning sorely lacks on this forum. When I hear about death threats towards those who have differing opinions shows me just how messed up some of these people are.

> SOme venomoids do live a long time,but how many dead snakes did it take to get it right? ALso, I know ya cant tell me they look great, as I have attended every east coast herp show since 97 and have yet to see a venomoid that didnt look deformed and had his head pulled apart. I mean dont you think this devalues a very dangerous animal in the general publics eyes. I dont know how many 16yo kids I have seen at shows trying to buy and handle venomoids. Natural is relative, as most other things, and to compare keeping and breeding snakes for conservation efforts to venomoiding snakes, I dont think is a valid comparison at all.

:2) There isn't any evidence to support people's claims that a properly performed "venomoid" procedure puts the snake at harm's way. In fact, some of our oldest snakes in our collection are venomoids and they are the picture of perfect health. The person who performed this procedure (whoever it was, we obtained these animals as a result of confiscations and did NOT initiate it ourselves) did a superb job with no noticeable scarring, etc. These animals feed exceptionally well, defecate well, are active, alert but at the same time very placid animals....this leads to my own RANT...

Yeah I am happy to go with this rant. Antivenin, much like paxil, the little purple pill etc is pushed by drug companies because ITS THERE JOB. I have never taken antivenin and only recommend the use in life or death cases. I have also heard that for elap bites that certain hospitals overseas are putting people on life support without AV and letting them ride it out with no ill AV effects. Personally, I was offered AV and Declined (yes I have had 1 severe envenomation, but it didnt warrant the use of AV). Many people (I will not say who what etc as this brings forth many other issues) ride out bites, with no problems at all. Many local country snake hunters get bit multiple times, never take av and have much better reactions to the bites, I again would only use AV as a last resort, it is not a drug just to be passed out. I know where to get it in the area and It is not necessary for every hot keeper to have it in there house. THat is just another way certain zoological societies try and use there access to drugs (due to USDA and OSHA standards) to make private keepers look as if they are unprepared. I can get AV in minutes, I dont need to keep it here. Also, there should be no question that your animals can get out. That is a husbandry issue. My problem, many zoological organizations think because they have funding they are the only ones capable of keeping venomous, while in the last 50yrs, most zoos could care less about herps and were more worried with pandas, now everyone is keeping they are feeling the pressure of looking like they dont have experience, thus they would like no private keepers so they can block the market. I am not saying that is you or your facility, but at least in NC thats how our zoological director sees it.

:2) I hear all of these people bashing those who support the procedure, HOWEVER, most if not ALL of these very same people keep venomous herps WITHOUT keeping the required antivenin for each of the species that they keep? Doesn't that seem a bit hypocritical? Personally, if I lived next to someone who kept cobras, without keeping a supply of antivenin, irregardless of their level of experience and expertise, I would have a REAL problem with that (even though I keep venomous herps at my wildlife center with the proper security systems in place). How can this be any better than the procedure? It isn't! So we should just assume that the hospitals will keep the necessary supply or that the zoos and wildlife centers like our's who do keep antivenin should gut their own supplies just for the sake of an irresponsible owner? We should just assume that in the unlikely event that one of our venomous snakes gets loose and tags someone outside, that it's someone else's problem to find antivenin? Once again, seems hypocritical to me.

Ok I have done hundreds of presentations, and never once used a venomoid, its not necessary if you are confident inyour ability. Keeping av again, is a zoo issue, they know not many private keepers can get access so that is a way they try and block of a field which most zoos haven t even been contributing to until the croc hunter came out. Again, if your keeping tons of exotics you do need to have specific AV available, isnt it greedy on the zoos part to hold all the av and not want anyone else to have access? I mean, your comparing money to lives? Again, I just feel many zoos are intimidated because lots of private keepers have much larger collections, with much more experience and did not need AZA approval to get there. Ask Haast, Ripa, etc. Those are significant herpetologists, and I respect the fact that they did not need some zoos name to put them where they are today. Again not bustin chops just answering the rant, as always Rob, I appreciate your imput, and your right a civil debate can be conducted without death threats and bigotry. Not trying to flame, its good to have all perspectives before tallying up the votes though,

Jared L Watts

:Now, I have to admit that I am still not in full favor in one way or another. In some cases, having a "venomoid" may be a better alternative if the snake is being kept for the proper reasons (education, display, etc.). If these snakes are undergoing this procedure just so that some idiot can take his king cobra to the park and show off how cool h/she is, then that is just plain wrong. But, we cannot control idiots. Sure, it would be great to see this procedure done only by licensed veterinarians and perhaps that is the best alternative (and as someone said, unlikely to happen because very few vets will do this procedure). But, in my opinion (worth only .02), it seems that if you don't keep the required antivenin on hand, you shouldn't own a venomous snake and that, to me, is just as bad as an improperly peformed procedure (and I am the LAST person on earth that would want to see any harm done to a snake). If someone can give me a reason why they should be allowed to keep a venomous snake without keeping the required antivenin then I would love to hear it.

:Thanks for hearing my rant,

:Rob Carmichael, Director of the Wildlife Discovery Center - City of Lake Forest


::Ok, I do have a rant, I said I wouldnt do It but I will> I have serious issues with venomoid animals and here goes.

::I would Like to see all venomoiders surgical Licenses, and the vet schools they attended

::I Would also like to know, out of curiousity, how many of those venomoid keepers routinely see these animals at shows, and they dont look like there heads have been pulled apart.

::Where do these operations occur, does anyone have photos of your surgical set ups, are they sterile, is everything rocaled on a daily basis? Personally I have assisted 400+ surgeries, ranging from HBC, spays, neuters, and DECLAWS etc etc

::The animals are devalued as people pick them up like cornsnakes and even let them get bit?!?!

::In my eyes, its the keepers problem, they obviously have an issue and are either afraid (in which case you should reconsider what your doing) of the animal or do not understand the individuals behavior. And instead of taking some time and learing more about it, they choose the easy road and cripple the animal.

::Venom aids in digestion, and yes they can be digested without, but why would nature give it to the animal in the first place?

::I Have never seen a venomoid that couldnt easily be pointed out, the surgeries are sloppy, and anyone can see that.

::I dont agree with declaws, canine pulling, venomoids, etc. If you are not confident in your private, tech, or vetrinary capabilities you should not punish animals based on your lack of ability. Big cats, are SUPPOSED TO HAVE CANINES, SO ARE WOLVES, BEARS, And Baboons. It REALLY reflects on the keeper if they feel it necessary to preform such barbaric actions. Also, most vets (as stated, some arent very good, and need money anyway) will not do these surgeries for various reasons. Personally, I would hope they have better ethics. WHAT alot of people dont understand is, THESE ANIMALS ARE NOT PETS< get a dog or cat if you need a companion, my animals are all specimens, that I observe monitor and record spending routinely 6hrs a day working with herps. This isnt a game, dont try to force WILD ANIMALS to play by your rules, jesus am I the only one here who has seen jurassic park LOL! Nature has reprocussions, and the first time part of a gland is missed, it regenerates, and some no nothing lets his now hot cobra chew on his arm the s@&# will hit the fan. I dont think this is based on personal preference, I mean, are roundups based on preference? They all consider themselves to be herpetologist? Its one thing to work with animals that you love (trust me, I dont do this for the money) its another to cripple them to increase standard market value. I Know I will get bashed, but thats ok, I dont need to give you my experience, etc etc as its not necessary. I know most of the people on this forum, and I understand as long as snakes are considered nuisance animals you can do whatever ya like to um, but personally it does not represent well on the keeper. My 0.02 on this pathetic subject,



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