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« Power play | Main | Not shouted down »

Aug 01, 2007


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Danny Wright

I had a ball python for a couple of years that was only 2 feet long. It snapped at me a couple of times when I was in the process of feeding it (or soon thereafter). It scared me to death. If that 4-footer bit that poor child, it must have hurt like heck at first. It looks like NC may be getting a seasonal taste of the Everglades problem.


That kind of thinking reminds me of the dog owners who say, "Oh, Fang wouldn't hurt a thing."
No! Even if you believe it, you don't know it. I don't know it.
And it's supposed to be on a leash.
Even if it is on a leash, I shouldn't be the one who has to step into the street to keep the thing from jumping on me.

Ian McDowell

"At least" four feet long? Female ball pythons top out at just over four feet. The males often don't get any longer than a yard. As constrictors go, this isn't exactly a large species we're talking about. The bit can painful, particularly if you pull against the curving teeth (if you have enough self-possession to remain still until the snake lets go, which I'll admit is damned hard, you end up with some pin pricks).

I feel sorry for the toddler, who was certainly terrified and in pain, but I doubt a ball python could seriously injure anyone, even a small child. It's not quite the same thing as the potentially twenty foot pythons that have spread to the Everglades.

Ed Cone

Various reliable looking sources (including this one) make four feet seem plausible.

In any case, we're not talking about herpetologists making a clinical decision about the relative danger posed by different species of constrictor, it's two maintenance guys running over to help a toddler who has been grabbed and bitten by a big-ass snake.


Just lucky it wasn't this one:


But seeing as the 12-ft snake on the loose near my old haunts in PA has been seen "in the neighborhood", it sounds like it is not the summer road-trippin' kind of snake anyway. The neighbors must be thrilled.*

*In the interest of full disclosure, I did have a four foot long Iguana escape its home and slither through Ed's yard at one point. My first and last ownership experience with exotic pets.

Bryan Gates

Blaming the snake for biting the toddler seems like blaming an alligator for biting. It is just what they do.

Ed Cone

Assigning blame to the snake is irrelevant anthropomorphism.

It's the response of the humans that's being judged.

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