Hiss, Boo: Snakes In The Hood

Granted, we probably need a break from the usual news. Coronet, TECO poles, Acton, STAR project, desal, Toughman, taxes, coyotes, stormwater, Al-Arian, Zook and garden variety accidents, stick-ups, murders and fires. But enough of snakes — as news and as neighbors.

Within the last two months a 12-foot Burmese python and a six-foot boa constrictor escaped into neighborhoods. And then there was the guy who was bitten by his own black mamba.

We now know you don’t even need a permit to own a (non-venomous) constrictor — same as for Lhasa apsos. We now hear that among a certain set, anacondas are all the rage.

It’s enough to get the County Commission’s attention. It’s enough to get Kathy Castor and Ronda Storms on the same side.

The question “Who would want a really big or a really deadly snake?” should be a rhetorical one if it’s not being asked of a herpetologist. But it’s not. And here’s an actual answer from a guy who has maintained a home collection of venomous snakes for more than a decade: “Keeping a venomous reptile isn’t as insane as it sounds,” explained Larry Lemon of Sarasota. “More people are killed by horses than are killed by venomous snakes in this country.”

Wrong, Larry. That does sound insane. I’ll take my chances with Mr. Ed or Seabiscuit.

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