For Immediate Release:
June 11, 2021
David Perle 202-483-7382
San Luis Obispo, Calif. – Following a May 2021 study confirming that snakes in captivity must be able to stretch out fully in order to survive, PETA has learned that Zoo Med Laboratories, Inc., removed misleading guidance from its website that snakes may be held in an enclosure only half the length of their body. This egregiously false claim was at the center of a consumer protection lawsuit that PETA filed with the D.C. Superior Court last year against Zoo Med, a locally based supplier of reptile products to PetSmart, Amazon, Walmart, and other retailers.
PETA’s lawsuit alleged that Zoo Med lied to consumers by presenting its small and mostly barren tanks as suitable snake habitats, inevitably causing snakes to suffer and die. Herpetologists concur that snakes need enclosures that are longer than their bodies and opportunities to engage in natural behavior, including stretching out, basking, burrowing, and exploring. Their highly complex needs are difficult to meet, and according to a peer-reviewed study, 75% of reptiles die within one year in a personal home.
“Zoo Med has stopped making one false claim to consumers that has sentenced snakes to immense, avoidable suffering,” says PETA Foundation Director of Litigation Asher Smith. “PETA is spreading the word that most people cannot meet snakes’ specialized needs and that snakes do not belong in captivity and should not be forced to die in someone’s house.”
Worryingly, despite removing the false guidance, Zoo Med is still advertising the same tanks on its website. PETA’s lawsuit ended in January when a D.C. judge ruled that the court lacked jurisdiction over the California-based manufacturer. PETA’s efforts to hold companies accountable for animal suffering continue, and the group encourages anyone who believes that they were misled into purchasing an insufficient reptile enclosure to fill out a survey available here.
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.