Why Is It OK To Starve A Snake?
I was recently browsing Craigslist and this question caught my eye as a heading. People there and elsewhere say it’s “cruel” to take mice, rats, rabbits, gerbils, hamsters and other small animals and feed to snakes. Snake owners don’t have an easy to dispense kibble to give their pets – they require something to directly die.
Many find this objectionable, and perhaps that’s what is behind the people wanting to ban snakes. It can’t be on the number of people that pythons have killed, for statistically snakes kill fewer people in 20 years than horses do in one, but we don’t ban horses!
Many people are afraid of snakes, which is understandable. Many are also afraid of mice and rats. Many don’t want any of them in their homes. The fact is, however, the lowly snake in all his forms is a valuable resource for control of pests that would quickly overwhelm us all.
Some pet stores refuse to sell feeder mice, but sell reptiles. So that indicates you can buy a snake but not feed it – and it can take a year for a snake to starve to death. So how is that not cruelty?!
Snakes are a low maintenance pet. They aren’t cuddly like puppies and don’t do tricks. They can be very picky – for example when we lost the litter of bunnies a while ago in a cold snap, think the snake would eat one? Not a chance! The food he recognizes is white mice – so if you’re not a white mouse you’re pretty safe!
In the wild, snakes keep the rodent population from exploding. There are thousands of rats and mice looking for free meals on farms and ranches and somewhere out there are also snakes. They require food, shelter, water – just like other animals.
Many farms don’t discourage non toxic snakes like bull snakes or black snakes as a means of controlling the rodent population. The damage and contamination from rodents harms human health as well as being an unwelcome presence around the barns, contaminating livestock feed.
When kept as pets, snakes still need to eat. The people who bemoan feeding the snakes don’t have an answer as to what they should eat. Like us, they survive by consuming other animals.
So if it’s wrong for a snake to eat their natural food – often rodents – why is it ‘right’ for us to dine on other animals? And if it’s seen as wrong for snakes and a practice to be banned, that affects your food supply. If it’s ok to starve a snake it’s ok to starve people, and many comment sections are littered with how people are the blight of the earth. If you are vegan or vegetarian, billions of rodents will wipe out and contaminate your food supply too if unchecked.
Balance is good! In food and in nature.