Snakes cause nightmares for some, but for other people they make great pets. In this edition of Pet Pointers, YNN's Lisa Chelenza tells us about the Burmese Python.
The Burmese Python is one of the largest species of snake in the world, commonly reaching 15-20 feet long. These beautiful snakes are relatively easy to handle when they are young, but as they grow, their size makes them a difficult pet to care for properly.
Reptile rescuer and educator Diana Sleiertin shares more details about the species.
"It's a pet that has a tendency to get extremely large if they are cared for properly, unfortunately people neglect them so they don't acheive their full size. But otherwise you are talking about a 14-20 foot snake and that is not manageable by your average pet owner," said Sleiertin. "They are actually illegal in New York State now, as of 2005. If you did own one before that time you can get a DEC permit, otherwise the only way to own them now is if you are a zoo or a private owner who does education, and you do have to have permits from the DEC."
Native to Southeast Asia, these massive reptiles can eat prey four times wider than themselves because their jaws can separate to allow for the extra girth. Once they have had a meal they will digest it while soaking up the sun, and may not eat for another two weeks.
The Burmese Python is also endangered due in part to the pet trade. They are also killed by the thousands because of the popularity of their skins for use in making shoes, belts and bags, and for fear of them in their native lands.
In many states you must have an exhibitors permit to own these snakes.