“Snakey” the Snake Found in Swarthmore. Now Please Kill It.

“Snakey” the 7-foot-long Boa Constrictor that escaped his home in Swarthmore nine days ago has been found. Very near to his home in Swarthmore. What a relief. No, not that he was returned home to his loving owner. I don’t care about that. Rather, I’m relieved that he didn’t kill any young boys. Allow a brief rant.

A. I have no sympathy for snake owners who lose their snakes. Snakes are not good pets. They don’t care about you, they don’t do anything exciting, and when they do, it’s usually to try and escape your home. And sometimes they strangle children.

B. This snake was really called “Snakey?” No wonder it wanted out.

Humans have had an anti-snake bias ever since the serpent ruined nudity. But there’s good reason for it. Remember Kaa, from the Jungle Book? Well, just as Kaa plotted to kill Mowgli, these creatures kill 20,000 humans a year. Sure, everyone wanted “Snakey” returned home, but not everybody had the same reason for it. Snakey’s owner,who was fond of letting him “sunbathe” in the yard, missed him. The rest of us were terrified he was going to slither up our legs and asphyxiate us. My colleague Nick Vadala, upon hearing me voice my dislike of snakes, made the point that dogs are probably more dangerous, statistically speaking. Let’s hit the books.

From 1979-2005, an average of 19 human deaths per year were caused by dogs in the United States. From 1960-1990, meanwhile, snakes caused about 10 U.S. deaths each year. Relative to the prevalence of each animal in heavily populated human areas, it seems clear which is more dangerous. Make pet snakes–poisonous or not–as common as pet dogs, and watch our fine nation turn into Snakes on a Plane. Okay, I’m finished. Thank you for your time.

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  • Autumn J. Staats

    I just wanted to let you know that it took me about 10 minutes to read this because I was in tears laughing the whole time. Thank you for writing this, I felt the same way when I read the original story. I really enjoyed your writing style. @ACPartnershpAut

  • bmmg39

    Is there anybody who writes for PHILADELPHIA who isn’t a complete “bag”? Just one?

  • EricWI

    So out of those 20,000 deaths and 10 deaths in the U.S, how many of those actually stem from captive snakes vs. snakebites in the wild? Especially in many third world countries that lack readily available access to antivenin and modern medicine, or those that use outdated or ineffective snakebite treatments. And how are venomous snakebite statistics pertinent to constrictors? You do know boas are not venomous, right? 17 people have been killed by constrictors since 1977 according to HSUS statistics. That amounts to less than 1 death per year while vending machines kill 80 people, hot dogs 77, falling coconuts 150, and garage doors 5. Sounds like the author may be the one who needs to hit the books again.