Philly zookeeper warns against keeping exotic pets after Beaver County man found dead with over 100 reptiles

Philly zookeeper warns against keeping exotic pets after Beaver County man found dead with over 100 reptiles

A western Pennsylvania man was located useless very last week inside a household that contained a lot more than 150 reptiles, such as dozens of venomous snakes. An autopsy to establish the result in of loss of life normally takes six to 8 months, the Beaver County Coroner’s Place of work reported, but the scene illustrates the dangers of dealing with exotic animals.

This scenario also comes on the heels of a recent caiman sighting in FDR Park in South Philadelphia. That reptile, believed to have been an deserted pet, was afterwards euthanized after ACCT Philly removed it from the park.

Operating with exotic animals demands endurance, instruction and even some courage. Most men and women dealing with them at zoos have researched zoology, biology and other animal-related fields, this sort of as conservation, and had considerable practical experience in animal administration teaching. 

But Lauren Augustine, curator of reptiles and amphibians at the Philadelphia Zoo, says that even with the appropriate schooling and protocols in spot, tin this article are still assumed pitfalls to doing work with exotic animals, which is why their treatment must be left to gurus.

“I personally never believe that people today who do not have the proper teaching and crisis protocols in location should be in a position to get or work with harmful animals this sort of as venomous snakes and crocodilians, because of the threats not just for on their own, but to the people all over them and animals,” she stated. 

Unique pets are a lot more normally to escape properties or be deserted by proprietors, a examine from Rutgers College indicates. 

Scientists kept details on 1,722 reptile and amphibian species in the U.S. exotic pet trade between 1999 and 2016. They concluded that several of these animals are offered for low-priced when they are nevertheless tiny, but are usually dumped when they increase much larger.

In Pennsylvania, the Boat and Fish Fee only regulates native species, so it is up to the jurisdiction of nearby municipalities to handle animals. For case in point, a boa constrictor is not indigenous to Pennsylvania, so hence, it really is not regulated. But a timber rattlesnake, native to the condition, would be.

Augustine mentioned that she understands that the reptile trade is big. Still, however, lethal incidents are certain to take place when these animals, which have distinct conversation patterns than people, are kept in unfamiliar environments.

Past summertime, police in Lehigh Valley shot a 15-foot pet snake that was wrapped about a man’s neck, resulting in cardiac arrest. The 27-yr-old died days afterwards thanks to a absence of oxygen to the brain.

About 7,000–8,000 individuals are bitten by venomous snakes in the United States every single yr, with about 5 people today dying, the CDC states

“We utilize a ton of diverse resources in zoological configurations to minimize the hazard of these animals,” Augustine reported. “We use hooks, we use tongs, we use properly prolonged resources to aid us do our work. So we remain out of the animal’s strike selection. We have shifts and the capacity to move snakes from one room to a further to safely clear and handle them. 

“So once more, without the need of figuring out how this individual was taking care of these animals, it appears to me that he bought in more than his head.”

If you occur across an deserted exotic animal, speak to ACCT Philly or one of the accredited removing firms detailed on its internet site for support.