Large python as pet question

Asked September 10, 2018, 9:24 PM EDT

I want to get a large python, such as burmese, once they get large enough could I just forget the tank or enclosure and let it free roam all day in say a bedroom, would there be any consequences, I ask because a friend of mine has a green anaconda and just let it free roam in his room and filled the bathtub with water and it's still alive.

Carbon County Pennsylvania

1 Response

Thank you for your question. Yes you could let the snake roam free in a room, but there are lots of reasons why you shouldn't.

In my opinion, maintaining large constrictors should only be attempted by experienced reptile keepers who have the appropriate facilities to provide a safe and suitable habitat for these animals. A Burmese python (Python bivittatus), for example, can reach over 20 feet in length and weigh over 200 lbs. While it is uncommon to find many in captivity who reach this size, even a 12 - 14 foot specimen is a formidable animal. Allowing it to roam unconfined and unsupervised in a room presents many potential hazards, both for the snake and other pets and people who may be in the home.

Snakes are excellent escape artists and they explore the limits of any enclosure, whether it's a 20-gallon aquarium or an entire room. If there is a way to get out, they will find it. All it takes is a moment of distraction, and you thought you closed the door behind you, but it didn't latch securely, and, next thing you know, your 15-foot python is loose in the house or has escaped outside. While you may have decided to accept the risk in keeping a large constrictor, an escaped snake now poses a risk to other people. It also exposes the snake to numerous hazards. According to the Humane Society of the United States, since 1978, seventeen people have died from constrictor snake related incidents in the United States. Seven of these fatalities were children, including four babies killed while sleeping in their cribs and three older children. In addition, numerous adults and children have been injured, some seriously, as a result of encounters with medium to large-sized constrictors, both snakes they were keeping as pets or someone else's escaped pet.

Feeding and cleaning a large constrictors enclosure can also be hazardous to the keeper. Some people see large constrictors lying quietly in their cage and assume that they're big and fat and slow. However, when it comes to feeding, these same big and fat snakes can move with surprising speed. If you are on the receiving end of a strike by a 150-pound snake, and you're by yourself, you're probably going to lose.

Other less life-threatening considerations include obtaining enough food to keep your snake in good health. It's one thing to purchase a rat for your snake's meal, but it's an entirely different situation when you are looking for full-grown rabbits and chickens as food for your snake. Also, larger meals means larger quantities of waste to clean up. Also, if your life changes, which it always does, and you need to get rid of your snake, it's much easier to find a new home for your small snake than it is to find a home for a large constrictor. Because of the requirements to safely maintain them, there aren't a lot of people who can keep a large constrictor in a safe and healthy environment.

These large constrictors are beautiful animals and certainly impressive, but there are serious risks involved in keeping them, and they are best maintained by experienced keepers who have adequate facilities. I hope this information helps with your question, and thank you for contacting Ask an Expert.

Jim