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April 20, 2016


Lisa West-Evans

I totally agree!! My children are now grown, but I still have other peoples children in my home, and can't imagine anyone being ok with a large python playing with their child!! (and I even had a snake as a child).:) I think if my children were young enough for play dates, I wouldn't allow them to go unless I spent the first two play dates with the other parent and the child. We call all trust another child, after all they are only five right? Then I see the article about the five year old that shot their best friend or brother. I think as parents, and/or care-givers, we need to ask questions about things that may seem a little intrusive (after all it's just a play date right)? My children thought I was overly protective until they grew up. Now they see the same potential issues that I saw as a young mother. We can't just "hope" that the parent of that very sweet child from school is as concerned about our children as we are. I think taking a little extra time, or asking that not quite so easy question to ask is a way to ensure that we are doing our best as parents or care-givers. Great article!!


I agree that children should NOT be left unattended with snakes, but calling them "deadly" is a bit extreme. I have a ball python that is about 4.5 ft long. I do NOT let children hold my snake simply because I can't predict the behavior of the "deadly" child. I'm pretty sure MANY more kids have killed snakes than the other way around. Just saying...


You state the real problem well: you are a hater. You are no different than those moms who want all pitbull dogs killed.
We have a neighbor like you. She found out we have a 18 inch king snake and is currently petitioning the HOA to have reptile pets disallowed. The greatest stupidity is fearing something that is harmless, wether it is birds (yes I know someone who fears canaries), spiders, reptiles or pit bulls.
You are an idiot.


As a former snake owner (don't have the time or money now), I would consider it irresponsible pet ownership to NOT have a cage that locked in such a way that my kids (or their friends) could not access it when I (or their father) was not present. And all of our cages we (my parents and I) had when I was in high school did lock, often with a pad lock, for the safety of the animal and the safety of the owners and any guests.


I don't usually comment on these, but I can't not say something here. Is an 8ft python potentially dangerous...probably. But I am WAY more worried about your 8lb dog who is "so sweet". This whole post smacks of someone scared to death of snakes. Let me give a little advice from a wild life educator and scientist (yes I have both a bachelors and masters in these fields): "If it has a mouth it can bite...if you don't make it want to bite you it won't" Simple, don't piss the snake off it won't bite you, don't get in the dogs face they won't bite you either. I would venture if they have a snake that big they are responsible owners. An no your little one is not a meal for that snake...too much work. Please thing before you post fear-mongering things like these.


What others have in their own home is none of your business, if you are so concerned about your children getting into something then NEVER let them leave the house, in fact place them in a bubble while you are at it, because you simply CANNOT control any and all things. I understand that you love and want to protect your children ALL good parents do, but you are part of what is wrong with the world today.


Responsible reptile hobbyists will have strong locks on the enclosures of their animals and will keep the keys hidden. Children should never be able to just help themselves into the cage to hold the snake. Large snakes have the potential to be dangerous, yes. But when kept responsibly, there is no reason for you to be concerned. I don't keep large snakes, but I do have 5 smaller pet snakes. They are still contained properly. Don't be so quick to judge. If someone is keeping a snake in an unsecured enclosure, they shouldn't be keeping the snake at all. Again, responsible keepers are not causing your child to be in any more danger than the family dog.

Katie M

Amen! An ex-boyfriend of mine knew a family that had a boa constrictor. The snake was actually kept in the kid's room. Well, after sometime the snake stopped eating the mice they were feeding him, but yet he still appeared to be growing. Then on two occasions they found the snake in bed with their little girl. At some point, something tipped them off that not everything was right and called the vet. The vet said get that snake out of the house immediately. The snake was sizing up the little girl and growing to enjoy her as a meal. If that doesn't give you the creeps I don't know what will. I am also an admitted snake hater/scared of snakes but they ARE NOT meant to be pets!!! And they're certainly not to be around my baby!


Never ever has a pet Python killed a child. Please have some facts to back up your claims. Pythons are not 'deadly' unless your are a rat or a mouse. Dogs attack and kill far more children. If you are going to keep your child away because of a pet make it one that is actually known to hurt them.


First, the snake does not "love" you unless it would love to eat you. Had a friend whose snake was sick, it was lying next to her stiff as a board. She called the vet to fix the problem. He said it's time to put the snake down as it is sizing you to see if you will fit. Sorry, an 8 foot python would make a quick meal of a 10 year old. That's when it would love you.
Now how to know if the environment is safe? Ask what animals they have, are guns disabled or locked up, what chemicals and flammable are around. And tools locked up (power kind).
Always enter and use all your senses, it's easier than asking do you do drugs, alchohol, etc.


I would actually be rather impressed if your 10 year old could pick up 100 lbs of dead weight. I would be more concerned with dogs, cats, older siblings, and older relatives than I would of a large snake or a responsibly locked away firearm. I understand that you have an irrational fear of snakes, I get it, I know others who are afraid of snakes. It has a lot to do with a lack of knowledge about snakes or an upbringing of fear about snakes. I feel this article is attempting to push your fear of snakes onto other misinformed parents.


To the people who think snakes size up their food..YOU'RE ALL IDOITS!!!! I have raised and bred snakes for 10 years. Sizing up prey night after night is not what snakes do. With 99% of snakes they give a sign that they are stressed or do not want to be touched. If you cannot read these signs then you need to educat yourself before owning these animals. Snakes, focusing on constrictors as this is what the story is talking about, strike their prey then wrap it. Thats it , its that simple. If the prey is too large they will not try to eat it. They may strike at it to let it know to stay away,but will not wrap it. Humans are not a viable source of food for these animals, and all the fear based media are a group of misinformed morons for spreading this rumor. So before you start banning these beautiful animals, remmeber they are less dangerious than your cat/dog.

Steve Hubbard

This is pretty timely, coming after the latest Grey's Anatomy episode with the child-inflicted GSW. And definitely an important topic.

Some objects, such as weapons (guns, throwing stars, knives, swords, etc.), explosives (including but not limited to fireworks), and many chemicals are clear threats. If it's on the FAA's restricted items list, it probably should be considered dangerous for kids.

But some dangerous items are much more difficult to recognize. What about modeling glue, nail polish remover, lawn pesticides, or electric train rails? There's a lot out there that can cause harm. You might save your child from being suffocated, but only to be electrocuted or poisoned.

I don't have a magic bullet for this issue; there isn't one as far as I can tell, short of turning your child into a Rapunzel. But you can teach your child about the obvious danger objects. You can encourage your child to use common sense, and you can encourage your child to engage in activities that *are* safe, thereby reducing the amount of time available to engage in activities that aren't.

Kathlene R

I feel like those you who have an issue with Sheila's post are missing her point. You obviously love your pets and are responsible owners. But, you can't assume that all pet owners are as responsible as you are. Before that play date, I will want to know what the parents have in place as far as safety precautions. If Slinky isn't in a locked cage, or Tweety bird with the sharp beak is allowed to fly about the house, or Fido who gets nervous with too much movement and noise (I agree that I'm more afraid of an 8pd "nippy" dog than I am of a boa constrictor) then I probably will want to be there for the play date, or host it at my house.

John Fulwood

Our son has a beautiful albino Corn Snake and she is one of the most docile creatures I have ever seen. We also have three cats, a rabbit, a mouse named Lucky (did not get fed to the snake), three ducklings and plenty of fish. So far, the cats, rabbit and mouse have done more damage to me than the snake ever could. I agree that a large constrictor can be very dangerous in certain circumstances but a smaller snake is a great pet. They are easy keepers and, you may find this hard to believe, they do have a personality.

amber raynes

This is the stupidest post I may have ever seen. I don't even own snakes and I find this to be absolutely ridiculous. Personally, as a mother, I am far more worried about what children have access to within medicine and liquor cabinets. Let's put the number of alcohol poisoning deaths next to the number of deaths caused by pythons. Really? Pythons are terrifying. That's what ignorant people would say. I personally only keep geckos and frogs, but I have no aversion to snakes. And with your ignorant attitude I think your child would be safer in my home to play than my child would be in yours.


If that's the case, never let your child out of your sight, you know those crazy snake loving neighbours may have bleach, gasoline, cleaners, kitchen knives, or OH GOD scissors just laying around. As far as snakes "sizing up prey" by laying next to said "prey" get a clue, read book, do a little research, snakes do not use their bodies as yard sticks to determine if they can eat something. The snake is laying next to the person to get the body heat, remember snakes are COLD BLOODED, they do not generate their own body heat, they need an outside source of heat, so if a snake escapes it's enclosure, it will attempt to find the warmest spot in the house (your bed, next to you) to hang out. Please quit fear mongering about reptiles because you have a fear of them, they are no more (maybe even less) dangerous then someone's pet fido.


I usually don't comment on these type of posts as other have said, but this is a completely ridiculous statement...deadly? Have you ever actually seen a python? I have raised literally thousands of snakes, and while I would never condone leaving a child alone with a large python, or a large animal of any kind for that matter, you obviously know nothing of snakes.

I have seen dozens upon dozens of huge pythons that we completely tame. I have done reptile presentations where children of all ages have handled and petted snakes up to 15-feet long.

As other have said here, especially Derrick, just like with a cat or dog, snakes do not view you as prey, and they will always give you a clue with their attitude and posture if they are going to strike (which is in most cases defensive).

And by the way, as far as a snake "sizing up" a child to see if it was ready to be a meal, if a vet told you that, you should get a new vet. That is patently ridiculous, and if a vet said that they are clearly clueless.


wow. just. no.

First of all, why aren't you having a conversation with other parents about what's in their house?

My bestie growin gup had a python in her house. At no point did we attempt to play with the python by ourselves. In fact, like a gun, the cage was locked and could only be opened with a parent around.

We did however, drive around her parents spare car around after finding the spare key. We were about 11 or 12 and quickly crashed the car. Luckily, there was no longer term damage, but I think a spare car is actually much more dangerous than a snake. This article is inane.

Josh Olive

For anyone believing the stories of snakes sizing people up: Call your veterinarian, or any vet, and ask them for verification of this behavior. When they are done laughing, they'll tell you this is an urban myth and a biological impossibility.


I have 6 kids all have been around reptiles of all kind even our 18 foot reticulate pythons since they were babies. We breed reptiles for the last 19 years. We used the reptiles to teach our kids responsible they had there own pet they clean feed water an hold them, Never had any problems to much misinformed people even our 18' python never strike at anyone our wrapped them up loved being out being handle. 2 of my kids where attacked by neighbors dogs one had to have 80 stitches an the other 18 stitches. My kids run when they see a loose dog running around... They say they'll stick with a snake there better pet.


Really Robert? "You had a friend" bs! That story has been around for months and is completely false. Also an 8ft-10ft snake wouldnt even be able to eat a medium sized dog, what makes you think it could eat a 10 year old? Quit talking about subjects you obviously know nothing about.

Jennifer Breese-Kauth

This is the worst post I've ever read on your forum. Clearly the author is afraid of snakes which is fine but also means she is not rational about them or a reliable source. Please use a fact checker in the future.


i remember playing with pythons as a kid, and other snakes, we use to hunt down copperheads as kids, they are dangerous, they can kill you, actually had a few kids in the county over that did die from bites, but never knew of or heard of anyone that got killed by a pet python....matches are not really comparable, you don't have to look far to find some dumb ass kid that burned down his parents shed playing with matches.

Laura S

There is no recorded instance of a snake eating a person, child or adult. The worst that can happen is a snake bite, and that's only if the snake is harassed or antagonized. Sure, snakes have teeth and can leave marks...but you know what can leave some real damage? Dogs. Dogs and cats are MUCH more dangerous than a well kept python can be, ecspecially when you consider the bacterial infections that set in AFTER the bite. I was bite by a dog in the face when I was 7 and needed corrective plastic surgery to fix my face. This was a tame, friendly dog that displayed "minimal aggression" prior to attacking me. A snake can't do anywhere near that damage. Are you going to ask about cats and dogs too?


Katie M your ex is full of it that story has been on the Internet and disproven time and time again

j Hernanez

We are animal lovers and believe pets are good for kids: all kids . It teaches life and responsibility to your children as well as teaching them how pets behave and they are in fact : animals, not humans. Kids should know the difference. With that being said, many people, moms, dislike all kinds of pets, especially the ones they are not fully educated about and do not have the facts about. We, have a large puppy, soon to be a dog in our home . I have small children, grown children and do daycare as well as foster care for children 5 and under in my home. our puppy is a mastiff. the kids call her horse puppy, because shes huge, bigger than the kids. can she hurt them? yes, has she knocked over small children? yes, but when we, the responsible pet owner are supervising properly, both the children and our pets, all is safe. We do not leave our horse puppy alone with other children, and we teach our children not to trigger her craziness. This comes from educating ourselves about the breed, and the fact that she is an animal and has instincts. As far as snakes, we have reptiles, and have had 16 ft pythons and 12 ft boa's as pets. Snakes make great pets as they are low maintenance, and when cared for properly DO NOT each people. if you feed your pets, they will not be hungry and attack your children with food or look at them as food. Constrictor snakes do not kill unless they plan to eat or feel threatened. So, if you allow your child to antagonize the snake, pit bull, or other pets, its instinct will kick in and yes it will defend itself. But be a responsible parent, and educate yourself about the pet, then teach your kids how to behave around that pet. Its very simple. just saying "theyre kids, or they're snakes, " they attack and don't know." is a cop out. Its the responsible parent who often does not do their homework and teach their kids the facts about the pets and behavior. Many moms read to their children, this is the perfect time to educate your kids about these pets....all pets, some spiders and lizards are not safe pets, but pythons and pitbulls are, so get some books and teach your kids. Also take some trips, many trips to dog parks, shelters, and aquariums so your kids learn the true behaviors of pets..and that it usually is the owner who makes the pets aggressive.


I don't typically comment on blogs, but this was so unprofessional and down right ignorant, I had to. Cats and Dogs can be much much more dangerous to children than snakes, but i suspect you won't hear anything that anyone writes because you are a 'hater.'
You did nothing more than encourage people who are afraid of snakes (for little to no reason) to be even more fearful meanwhile, dogs bite children (and I have dogs as well as snakes) cat maul them, but none of mine have done anything harmful. And If I had to lay a bet with any of my animals and children I would put thousands of dollars on my snakes being the least harmful of any of domestic pets. YES I SAID THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS!!
I would venture a guess you children eat fast food, which is WAY more harmful than a snake can ever be, but not my squirrels, not my nuts! :D do as you please!
Thanks to this blog I would never consider Care.com as I pride myself on aligning myself with more intelligent people. Thanks so much for doing this blog so that I could make my decision to stay clear of this company!


Meanwhile on FB the care.com has a child laying right next to a dog. now THAT is way more dangerous than a snake. WOW you guys are doing excellent work (NOT)


I rarely comment on any blog, but I can't help myself. This post is so idiotic I can't believe it! My 8 year old just got a 2 foot long ball python and it's the best pet we ever had. We have also have an 8 pound small house cat that has made every member of our family bleed from scratching and biting. My daughter has a scar right above her eye from our 10 pound toy fox terrier that scratched her (barely missed her eye). We rescued a rat terrier that attacked and hit two house guests without warning and drew serious blood.

One time my daughter went to reach for her snake when it gave her all the warning signs of "leave me alone right now". She ignored the warnings and the worst thing that could happen with the snake actually happened. It gave her a warning bite! It scared her at first and then she laughed. It didn't even draw blood. I wish our cat had such a mild bite!


To j.hernandez: you are a childcare provider and a foster parent for young children, and your best choice of pet is a mastiff and big pythons? Which state do you live in? Who gave you license to care for other people kids? You tell others to educate themselves about animals and pets? To you, and others defending here "harmless" pets: google "mastiff attack", "child killed by the snake", "child attacked by by snake", "child killed by pitbull" etc. Pets like this are harmless, until...proven otherwise. Tempting fate by keeping them around is asking for trouble. Most animals do not attack. But if provoked, by let's say young child ( who's caregiver is busy with other child needs, or who is in the bathroom for few minutes, or who fell asleep, or who is preparing meal....) they will attack. Sometimes unfortunately they attack unprovoked too. They snap. Like ....some normal people snap too. We can't always predict what will happen, but we can avoid many troubles, by thinking about worst case scenario. We can clearly see that common sense is not so common.
The author is right, we need to know what we expose our children and ourselves to at other people houses. (Before playdate or sleepover think how well you know this people. Unfortunately children get often sexually molested at friend houses too.) Never assume anything. Just because you are informed and educated parent that doesn't mean that others have that knowledge too. Better safe than sorry!


I have two boys and a ball python my oldest son and his father brought her home I was against it at first with a baby on the way but there no different than any other pet any animal can turn I've heard of more dogs hurting children then a Python and honestly she is the best pet we have ever owned and she has a locked cage so there is no way a child can get her out everyone without an adult

Katie M

To Derrick, before you call anyone an idiot or a moron, use your spellcheck. You're way less credible when you write like someone with a fifth grade education.

To everyone else who has bred snakes, has snakes, etc - the story was told to me and it appears others (Robert) knows of a similar situation. I have not bred snakes and I do not know if that's something that is not likely. I heard the story and considered it true. I have no idea why anyone would lie about such a thing?

To Kathlene's point, I think the issue is being missed. Just because you're a responsible snake owner and I am a responsible dog owner for that matter, not everyone is. It's important to know who your child is hanging out with, and speaking with their parents. For me, snakes and people with mean (admitted by owners) dogs raise alarms. That is my opinion and I'm entitled to it. That's not to say I haven't met a parent who hasn't proven to me they're responsible and trustworthy despite me not understanding his/her lifestyle choices. This is my kid though and I want to ensure his safety to the best of my ability at all times. I think that's what anyone wants.

Dan H.

Thanks for this article. It's saving me some money. It was so offensive to snake owners that I finally got around to downgrading my Care.com membership.

Sue M

CNN: A python has killed a security guard near a luxury hotel in Bali, Indonesia.
OMAHA, Neb. -- A suburban Omaha man has died after being strangled by his 9-foot, 25-pound pet boa constrictor, authorities said Thursday.
Cory Byrne, 34, of Papillion died Wednesday night at a local hospital, just hours after police and paramedics pried the snake from around his neck, police said.
Byrne had been showing the snake to a friend when it wrapped around his shoulders and neck and squeezed, Sarpy County Attorney Lee Polikov said.
A 10-foot Burmese Python killed a student zookeeper in Caracas on the weekend and was caught trying to swallow its dead human prey when horrified coworkers arrived, Venezuela's El Universal newspaper reported.
From anacondas to pythons to boa constrictors, there have been countless reported attacks as such on people over the decades. Many have come face-to-face with these dangerous reptiles in the jungle, in town and sometimes even in their own homes.
Some were pets, some were contained and some were wild, but they all eventually turned into hungry, untamed and ravenous creatures to attack, kill and sometimes even consume the people that got in their way.
In the town of Campellton, New Brunswick, there was a horrific attack by an African Rock Python in 2013. This particular breed of snake can weigh up to two-hundred pounds, reach lengths of up to sixteen feet, and easily claim its prey with strangulation.
The victims in this tragic case were two young boys, who were in exactly the wrong place, at exactly the wrong time. They were staying the night at a family friend’s apartment, which was in the same complex as an exotic pet store.
The death reports stated the cause of the boys’ deaths as asphyxiation, and the escaped python was identified as the killer.
In Oxford, Florida, the owner of an Burmese python is facing prison time, after her pet escaped from its containment to kill her daughter.
On the morning of the incident, the python, named Gypsy, was found tightly coiled around the two-year-old victim, with its mouth beginning to overtake her head.
Even when a snake is trained, familiar and consistently tranquil, it does not change the fact that it is still a cold-blooded predator.
A Texas woman, who had years of experience handling large snakes, was attacked by a fourteen-foot boa constrictor. The victim, Debi Grudzinski, was trying to give the snake, named Icenia, some water when it happened.
It was a routine practice she performed daily, as she had cared for Icenia for nearly eight years. In a shocking instant, the constrictor grabbed Debi’s arm and began to wrap. By the time Icenia got at least half of her length around Debi’s arm, panic ensued, and her daughter immediately called 911.
Still new to having such a large snake in the house, the parents slipped up and failed to properly contain the python one afternoon. After only a few weeks at the residence, the reptile was able to slither free from its enclosure.
Shortly after gaining its freedom, the snake came across something that struck its interest. Melissa and Anthony’s three-year-old son was alone in one of the bedrooms of the house.
Without much hesitation, the snake proceeded to bite and begin squeezing the toddler. By the time Melissa discovered the incident, her son was already slipping into unconsciousness.
She immediately called for help. It took six police officers, an animal control officer and Melissa with her handy kitchen knife to finally free her child from the aggressive snake.

All animals need to be wtched carefully and I would not want my child in the home where there was a large snake! There are many more instances of death by large snakes!


I never comment on these things but today I am. A little about me. I own 13 ball pythons 1 red tail boa, 2 bearded dragons, a dig, tortoise and 3 fish. I am also the father of a 3 year old, and 2 months old. I also have multiple rifles and pistols, so I guess my house could be this article be considered a death trap.

Now for more history. 1996 I was mailed by my own dog, landing me in the hospital for 3 hours of plastic surgery to close 14 bites on my face. The dog came 1 cm, from hitting my jugular vein.

Now to my life now. I fear that snakes get terrible reviews due to people not knowing what they are getting into to when purchasing a snake. But to call them deadly compare them to gun, that's funny, household dog and equally as deadly. Very few people want to discuss that though. In the years of having Snake my 3 year has heald my smaller Snake with direct supervision, and has been told to never mess with them with out supervision. But owning a snake does not stop there each one of my cages have a lock, weird so does my gun cases. Maybe before ranting about how deadly a snake it consider the precautions that need to be taken to protect both your family and the animal. I do agree that a 8ft Snake playing games my little pony is pretty dumb, but people tend to do a lot of dumb things, thing that it can only happen to the next person.


Here is a random scenario,

Visitor "Hey let go play with your dog."

Dog Owner "Ok"

Now let look at how deadly this example can be. As a person who owns 13 snakes, has 2 children (3yrs old and 2 months old) and has been mauled by his own dog landing me in plastic and reconstruction surgery for my face, I seem to believe that dogs do way more damage.

Yes, big snakes can kill, so can taking a massive crap (look up vaso-vago) but I'm not comparing that to pistols and calling my model movements "deadly." It's more likely that you get bit by a dog, than a snake for a few reasons:

Most Snake owner keep snakes in cages

Most Snake owner realize the threat of a snake
(This should go for any animal)

Most reptile owner invested in their reptile and equally done want anything happening to their reptiles.

There are those example of bad Snake owners, but hell, that goes for dogs, guns, weed, and just about anything else. Yrs, if you want to know where your child is going for a play date you should probably do some homework in advance. And just because it's in YouTube does not make it a common practice.

Individuals that are willing to lose a friend over something so trivial are truly ignorant. Snakes are pet, usually an investment, but are part of the family as well. You keep your dog's and cats, (research cat scratch fever) and call them safe and loveable, and leave reptiles and their owners alone. Simple. You don't like em, that's your problem. We will probably never have a play date, that's sucks....right.

Lissa Gilson

I suppose, truthfully, I can see the point in asking some pointed questions....though I wouldn't have thought to even ask about a reptile. Most likely, I'd already know, since Susie and Johnie would've already told me how their buddy Jack has the COOLEST pet. Which, honestly, puts me where I am today: if you are someone I've not met, and your little one (or big one) comes to my house, I will mention I have a dog. (this is usually followed by the ubiquitous: what kind?) For the record, she is a slightly obese 8 year old beagle, who's deadliest weapon is her gas. I have a best pal, who's hubby is a State Trooper: guess what, I already KNOW there are guns in the house. I already know, that yes, there is a safe; but here's the rub: If I am leaving my baby at your house, I already trust you to know how to do the right thing.

So, sure, if you have a giant python, and I've not heard about it already (really?!) I might be so inclined as to ask if you let it roam free. The same goes for that wicked cool spider (shudder) or scorpion you call family. Hey, so long as it's not eating out of the same popcorn bowl while watching Snow White, I'm good. That info, also falls under the "How Can I NOT Know That?" category, since, really, Susie and Johnie would already have regaled me with Tales From Beyond The Cage if those guys had gotten free.

I suppose, long winded story short: I'm trusting the other parents, to take good care of my precious; the same way when someone trusts me with their precious, I'll let you know if you don't, I have a dog. If your babe is afraid of them, I'm happy to keep my obese couch cushion elsewhere for their visit.

Honestly, I'd rather you tell me, or listen to me when I say, we have a (add yours here) food allergy. I don't want to accidentally send your child into a hives fit, or worse.

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