A1 Snake relocations
pet snake

Why we should never ever release a captive-bred pet snake…

First things first. Let’s figure out what is meant by the term ‘captive-bred”. Captive-bred reptiles have never lived in the wild they have spent their entire lives living in captivity. It would usually mean that the animal and its parents were produced by breeders. As a result, captive-bred offspring are usually healthier, easier to interact with as they are more tolerant to being handled, and may have better or desired deliberate genetics.

So with all this in mind why not release them and allow them to live in the wild? Here are a couple of reasons that this is not a good idea:

  • IT IS A CRIME! Did you know that? There is a code of conduct with Bio Security that states very clearly that you must not release captive-bred snakes or reptiles.
  • Captive-bred snakes will have a compromised immunity to wild found pathogens. They will never have been exposed to naturally occurring pathogens in the wild. This will lessen their ability to fight them if they do come across them if released. This sadly equates to a long cruel death.

There is not just the danger posed by naturally occurring diseases. There is also the very real likelihood of spreading captive found pathogens. These of course are potentially lethal for the wild snakes that come into contact with them. Just as captive-bred snakes have never come across pathogens in the wild, wild snakes have never come across those that occur in captivity. These are as dangerous to wild snakes as the natural ones are to captive-bred snakes.

  • Another reason that these ‘pets’ should never be released is their lack of survival skills. In captivity, they are provided with everything a snake could wish for. You give them:
  • Food
  • Shelter
  • Water
  • Shade
  • Heat and light source

If they were released they would then need to find all of these critical requirements for themselves. Mammal and bird babies in the wild learn from their mother/father who will show them the necessary skills they need to survive. Mother snakes do not have that maternal instinct. The infant snakes are independent from birth and their own survival becomes the most important aspect of their new lives. They learn how to hunt, how to find a home, and protection. If they are provided with all of these crucial requirements, they have no instinctual need to learn and therefore lack the ability for self preservation.

If you have a pet snake that you no longer want, there are a couple of ethical options open to you that do not include releasing into the wild.

Reach out to a snake expert in your area. Someone like Pat Lazzaro of A1 Snake Relocations will be able to help/guide you through the legal process or put you in touch with someone who can.

You can speak to an organisation such as the RSPCA or DES which can also be a vital connection for you. They are experts in this field and may have some great ideas and resources on how they can help you.

At the end of the day, we all want what is best for the snake. If that means no longer being in your care, then we will work together to find the best outcome. Don’t be tempted to take the easy option. Not only are you putting your snake at risk but also the health and well-being of the whole eco system in the area that you release him. Do the right thing 🙂

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