There are plenty of reasons why people should never buy “exotic” animals, but this may be the most bizarre one yet.
An Oregon woman made a speedy trip to the emergency room after her ball python became stuck in the hole pierced through her earlobe.
Ashley Glawe initially thought that the snake was attacking her head. Snakes are fond of holes, so it’s no surprise that he found a way through her earlobe—which had been pierced and stretched to a wide gauge—when he was wrapped around her shoulders.
Fearing that she would injure the snake by pulling against his scales, Glawe called the fire department—but to no avail. She then went to the emergency room, where he was finally removed. Thankfully, neither of them was injured.
Reptiles Are One of the Most Highly Trafficked Exotic Animals
Snakes require special care, such as providing a specific light spectrum and dietary regimen. They also shun human contact, so being held, touched, petted, or passed around is stressful for them and leaves them prone to illness and injury.
Caretakers are often unprepared or unable to address the needs of animals who are so far removed from their natural habitats, and as a result, many exotic animals die or are abandoned. The head of South Africa’s Western Cape Environmental Crime Investigation unit estimates that 90 percent of exported reptiles die within a year.
During a PETA investigation of a California dealer called Global Captive Breeders, snakes and other reptiles were so neglected that, in many cases, even their deaths went unnoticed. Enclosures were filled with rotting carcasses teeming with maggots.
Animals suffer and die in horrific transport conditions because people fall for pet stores’ marketing. Traffickers are driven by profit. Animals are routinely smuggled in ways that show zero regard for their well-being. For example, a China-bound woman was found to have two birds wrapped in socks and taped to her leg and chest, and a man traveling from Miami to Brazil hid seven small snakes and three small turtles in his clothing.
Keep Animals off Your Head and in Their Homes
Never buy exotic animals from dealers or pet shops. Animal shelters and rescue groups are filled with animals who need good homes. Support legislation that would make owning exotic animals illegal in your community and prohibit the interstate sale of exotic animals.