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Snakes on a … What?

Written by PETA | April 1, 2012

Are you ready for (cue ominous music) … Snakes on a Train?

No, it’s not the sequel to that (in)famous Samuel L. Jackson film—although it is the title of a straight-to-video rip-off. In this case, it’s a new PETA campaign that is sure to get some attention for reptiles killed for their skins.

What Are Your Hands Holding?

PETA is asking the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) for permission to launch its new “Snakes on a Train” campaign on the T, featuring realistic-looking rubber snakes wrapped around subway poles and handles, as well as a slogan on the windows that reads, “Snakes Make Your Skin Crawl? Shed All Scaly Belts and Bags! Watch Video at PETA.org”:


Snakes: (c) iStockphoto.com/Eric Isslee – Train:(c) DDholer

PETA hopes to scare commuters out of their snakeskin boots, shoes, purses, and belts. In order to make snakeskin accessories, these reptiles are nailed to trees or posts and skinned alive. Their mutilated bodies are discarded, and it sometimes takes hours for them to die.

How You Can Help Snakes

If you wouldn’t want to hold on to a snake during your commute, why would you want to have their dead flesh wrapped around your waist, feet, or personal belongings? Let’s shed exotic skins for good.

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  • Ursula says:

    P, firstly I have done my research and the suggestion of a sanctuary would be wonderful if it were at all feasible. We are talking about thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of burmese and african rock phythons. Secondly, pythons in the everglades are not indigenous and they are an apex predator that the local wildlife can not withstand. The numbers of raccoons, oppossums, rabbits, bobcats, and many other small rodents and even deer are dropping dramatically (in many cases as much as 85-90%) in numbers because of the introduction of a predator the ecosystem can not sustain. So, before you attack me for asking for an alternative solution, why don’t you consider providing suggestions for one? I love snakes and think they are a fascinating species, but something has to be done to protect the everglades. Nuisance species are certainly a problem that has been caused by humans, but simple recognition of that fact is not a solution to the problem.

  • p says:

    WOW!!! so Ursula if humans overpopulated earth would you suggest the same?? There is plenty of things humans can do to help without having to harm any living animal!! Do your own research or if it bothers you that much find a center sanctuary and donate!! that way pythons and many other snakes can enjoy the life they deserve its not their fault that greedy humans want to profit and sell snakes and exotic animals that buyers will later on abandon.

  • Ursula says:

    You state that there is not a humane way to kill a snake, and I don’t wear fur or skins because I don’t care to so I’m not trying to defend that, but what are your suggestions then for decimating the python populations which are out of control presently in Florida? There is an ecological catastrophe taking place in the Everglades and only the eradication of snakes that should never have been introduced into that eco system is the only solution. Granted lax regulations on wild and exotic pet ownership began the problem, but an immediate solution is needed to address the problem at this time. And that solution is to kill the invasive snakes. Suggestions for how it can be done humanely?

  • PETA says:

    The UK’s Daily Mail newspaper printed an eye-opening exposé on the exotic skin industry that included this description of the killing of a snake at a Javanese snake slaughterhouse: “The snake is stunned with a blow to the head from the back of a machete and a hose pipe expertly forced between its jaws. Next, the water is turned on and the reptile fills up, swelling like a balloon. It will be left like that for ten minutes or so, a leather cord tied around its neck to prevent the liquid escaping. Then its head is impaled on a meat hook, a couple of quick incisions follow, and the now-loosened skin peeled off with a series of brutal tugs – much like a rubber glove from a hand. …[T]he python’s peeled body is simply tossed on a pile of similarly stripped snakes. After a day or two of unimaginable agony it will die from the effects of shock or dehydration.” The article includes a quote from biologist and reptile expert Clifford Warwick, who explains exactly why killing snakes for their skins is so cruel: “The snakes are often nailed to a tree with a large nail. It doesn’t kill them because they have a small brain and there’s little chance of actually hitting it….It can take hours or days for them to die from dehydration or shock – it is a really dreadful thing for them to do….In other places they will decapitate the animal before skinning. The problem is that decapitating the snake doesn’t kill it instantly. With a snake the head will be alive for an hour or two hours – completely conscious, completely sensitive to pain, fear and everything else. That comes about because their metabolic rate is much lower and slower than ours and accustomed to low blood pressure. The nervous system is quite resistant to lack of oxygen and continues to survive without its body for some time.” Read the entire article here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-482849/Pythons-skinned-left-die-The-shocking-reality-fashions-new-obsession.html#ixzz1qzU8Cpgq.

  • PETA says:

    To see exactly what happens to snakes destined to become belts and bags, click the “Watch Video” link in the blog. Joaquin Phoenix does a great job narrating this video, and there’s footage a-plenty. Watch it now then run out and buy a sharp-looking faux-skin belt and save a snake!

  • p says:

    there is plenty of evidence for those asking about proof!! just look for yourself peta has some videos of the cruel massacre…is just sad and evil I have seen stank people at the mall trying to sell super cheap fur and other exotics skins and dont even have a retail store or anything not that that should matter I am just saying how unfair this is….you can easily get faux leather faux fur faux anything!!!they should be put in jail or something!!

  • SoSoHoHo says:

    Bob and Seth: Look at the video on the main page of the site: and look at the Beauty without Cruelty video and there’s a set of photos PETA put out earlier: all show snakes being skinned, some with heads on, some with heads off, some moving, some decapitated but they take a ong time to die, the heads still are alive. It’s all there.

  • Harijanto Tjahjono says:

    Please don’t do this, PETA! My wife has a phobia of snakes, she is extremely scared of anything slithering, even toys! We live in Boston and we are not rich, meaning that we often have to take the subway as our means of transportation. The moment you put those rubber snakes in the train is the moment my wife will never want to ride the train again! We do not have enough money to take taxi all the time, so please don’t do this!

  • Jezzy says:

    Yes, because this will surely make a difference. Not.

  • Seth says:

    Huh?? I would imagine that all snakes are beheaded before being skinned. Proof please..

  • bob says:

    Where ,why,and when?? Do you have any evidence that skinning snakes alive and then discarding the still living and thus mutilated animal to suffer is a regular occurance ? Please enlighten us all so that this horrific practice might be brought to the publics attention, condemned and hopefully ended. .

  • animalsrock87 says:

    i live by boston and will love to see this happen!people need to know and boston is full of people with money who spend it on animal skin..go peta