A few nights ago I happened to catch Monster Quest on the History Channel. The episode was all about ‘giant killer snakes’ and whether or not they exist. The issue I have with the episode is the way in which it brought up the issue of large constrictors thriving in the Florida Everglades. They showed photographic evidence of their existence and interviewed several animal capture professionals who work in the area. I am not going to doubt that there is a population of reptiles living in the Everglades that is not supposed to be there. Hurricane Andrew in in 1992 could easily be blamed for the accidental release of many pet animals into the wild. Once in such as hospitable environment for reptiles it is easy to believe that they are thriving. What really bugs me is that the History channel showed an ominous animation depicting the United States being consumed in the spread of these animals throughout the entire country. Their animation had only one purpose: to elicit a reaction of fear from the uneducated viewer. Many people are not fans of snakes (an understatement). To prey on their fear and suggest to them that large constrictors can soon be living in their neighborhood, eating their cats and attacking their children is an incredibly irresponsible use of the credibility of the History channel. It is also the kind of fear mongering that is going to help get the proposed federal ban on reptiles made into law. Anybody who knows even a little bit about reptile physiology knows that such a spread is impossible.
The reptile hobbyist and reptile breeder is in danger of legally losing their right to own and breed many types of reptiles. Check out my previous post discussing the legislation to ban the ownership of reptiles. Don’t be fooled by what you read in the proposed bill. The legislation is not only about banning the import of certain species. It is about banning the ownership, breeding and sale of these species as well. It is a very real and very serious threat to reptile business. The History Channel and its show Monster Quest has helped to propagate fear among the uneducated and aided in getting this ridiculous legislation turned into law.