Subscribe to Reptiles Magazine Today!

If you don't already have a subscription to Reptiles Magazine then you should seriously consider subscribing to the magazine today. That is, if you enjoy reading about and seeing beautiful photos of exotic reptiles as much as I do. You already know that I’m a ball python guy who deals strictly with ball pythons (other than the family pet, our Red-Foot tortoise) but it’s still fun to learn about and see spectacular color-glossy photos of other reptiles too. Just so you know, I am not affiliated in any shape or form with Reptiles Magazine but I have been a pleased subscriber of the magazine for a number of years.

We tend to take a lot of things for granted (well at least I do at times) but when I saw my son looking through a recent issue of Reptiles Magazine the other day, I figured I’d write a blog about the magazine and suggest to everyone who doesn’t already have a subscription to start one today. I noticed how much he enjoyed the photos so I'm sure other parents will appreciate their child reading good wholesome educational material as well. You never know, your son or daughter might just be the next Bindi Irwin, who shares the same love and affection for reptiles as her dearly departed father, the legendary and deeply missed Steve Irwin.

Bindi Irwin
Bindi Irwin

The cover price for a years subscription costs $59.88 and it’s well worth the price but I use a company that saves me 75% off the cover price so I only pay $14.99 for a full year of Reptiles Magazine, a savings of $45 that can be used for other important things, like feeding a ball python every week for an entire year.

Click the image below to either renew or start a subscription to
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It's a Small World After all - Case Study

This is a quick unplanned blog entry about a disturbing news report out of Las Vegas, Nevada that I just read a few minutes ago. The irony is that I recently wrote a blog entitled It's a Small World After all and now here's another incident surfacing in the media that only adds more fuel to the fire and helps to build a stronger case for the US Government in their all out war to ban the ownership of certain exotic animals as pets.

Anthony Melendrez, 26, and his wife Melissa Melendrez, 25, were brought up on felony charges as the result of their 3-year old son being attacked by the families' 18-foot python. They claim that it wasn’t the families’ pet; they were only watching it for a local business owner while his building was being renovated (yeah right). Let me stop right here for a minute before I continue. The parents allowed a situation to occur so that an 18-foot python was in close enough proximity to a 3-year old child? It's irresponsible behavior like this that gives our government ample artillery in its fight to ban the ownership of certain exotic animals as pets.

 
Anthony and Melissa Melendrez

They were both rightfully charged with one count of felony child abuse and child neglect. Do you think the charges were a bit too harsh and unfair to the parents? The only way you could have possibly answered “yes” to this question is because I didn’t inform you from the beginning that the 18-foot python struck, wrapped and started constricting the 3-year old child who began suffocating helplessly in the coils of his attacker. You’ve seen a ball python strike, wrap and constrict a mouse or rat so you know exactly how this process works. Now imagine an 18-foot python initiating the same set of actions on a 3-year old child. For the record, this was NOT a ball python. Ball pythons are incapable of this and you’ll never hear any reports or news stories about a ball python doing a similar feat because it’s not possible.

The story goes on further to say that Melissa Melendrez, the mother, used a kitchen knife to free the child from the coils of the 18-foot python. Let me stop right here again. As you probably already know, I deal exclusively with ball pythons and no other snake species. I do know other breeders that breed some of these larger species - Reticulated Pythons, Burmese Pythons, Anacondas, etc. – and they say there are techniques available to release a python that has either bitten or started to constrict. Some of these techniques include pulling the tail back towards the spine, running hot water over the pythons head, spraying alcohol into the pythons face area, etc. but none of them mention using a kitchen knife. This only tells me that this family owned a large 18-foot python and had no prior knowledge of what to do in the event that such a situation ever occurred! I heard of a story where a Reticulated Python attacked the reptile curator of a zoo who was in the cage doing some maintenance. The man reached into his pocket, pulled out a knife and began stabbing the python but the python did not release its coils and continued to constrict even tighter. The mans life was only saved due to an employee who was nearby that overheard the commotion and came to his rescue!

The child suffered injuries but was not killed by the 18-foot python. I would venture to say that she, Melissa Melendrez, was extremely lucky that the 18-foot python released itself from the 3-year old child. I can only hope that people start to “wake up” and become more responsible when dealing with or keeping potentially deadly exotic animals as pets. It hurts everyone else as the government casts their broad net into the ocean to catch the larger dangerous fish and by doing so; smaller innocent fish are also caught in the net as well.

You can read the full story of the attack here Parents of boy attacked by python enter plea.

Can I Refreeze Frozen-Thawed Rodents?

You’ve defrosted a mouse or rat for your ball python to eat but he or she wasn’t hungry and decided not to feed when you offered it the meal. What do you do with the defrosted rodent that your ball python refused to eat? Do you throw it in the garbage or can you possibly refreeze it again for use at a later time? This is a topic that’s debated quite frequently amongst ball python keepers. If you’re wondering whether I’m going to “set the record straight once and for all” and give you the correct answer in this blog entry, well, unfortunately this is one of those rare occasions where I can’t advise you one way or the other. However, what I can do is give you arguments from both parties, the ones that will refreeze and the ones that will not refreeze and you can make your own judgment call accordingly.

Don’t think you’re the only one that has wondered whether it was okay to refreeze a defrosted rodent for use at a later time. There seems to be two camps when it comes to refreezing a thawed rodent. The “it’s okay to refreeze” camp and the “no way in Hades will I refreeze” camp. The latter group, the “no way in Hades will I refreeze” base their argument on bacteria. Bacteria slows in cold environments and speeds up in warmer environments. Their argument is that the thawing process enables bacteria to multiply and grow quickly. Freezing splits cells and split cells facilitate the expedience of a rotting carcass. They feel that if the ball python doesn’t feed, refreezing the rodent will only make the bacteria process worse due to the load that has developed prior to refreezing and how the load will compound in growth during the next thawing process.

The “it’s okay to refreeze” camp agrees with the rationale offered by the other camp but their argument has to do with how ball pythons in the wild feed on some occasions. We all know that ball pythons constrict prey but many of us do not know that they are also opportunistic feeders that will feed on a dead prey item if encountered. I’m not talking frozen thawed dead, I’m talking about “crawling through the bush in Africa, spot a dead decomposing rodent and consume it”, dead. The “it’s okay to refreeze” camp feels as though it’s a natural phenomenon so it’s okay to have a high bacteria load in a rodent as a result of refreezing. Their other argument has to do with the cost of discarding rodents over a period of time. Some feel that an annual dosage of de-wormer medicine such as Flagyl, Panacur and the like, will deal with any internal problems posed by the feedings.

I feel like Morpheus from the move “The Matrix” speaking to you, Neo, right now. I’ve given you both sides of the argument so it’s now up to you as to which camp you’ll join.

“This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill - the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill - you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.”

-Morpheus, The Matrix (1999)

It’s a Small World After all

Have you ever heard the famous Disney children’s song, “It’s a small world after all”? That song brings a smile to my face because I can recall first hearing it when I was a young child visiting Disney Land. Unfortunately though, “It’s a small world after all” makes me realize just how small this world really is with respect to ball pythons and other exotic pets and how the government is again on the offensive.

I’m sure everyone has heard about the recent fatal attack by a chimpanzee. That was a very sad incident and our hearts go out to the injured parties. The US government felt bad too and their way to thwart future incidents was to pass H.R. 80: Captive Primate Safety Act, which reads, “To amend the Lacey Act Amendments of 1981 to treat nonhuman primates as prohibited wildlife species under that Act, to make corrections in the provisions relating to captive wildlife offenses under that Act, and for other purposes.” Was this house resolution extreme? That is a question that I cannot answer because I haven’t done enough research to make a conclusion. Why and how does this tie into ball pythons?

The US government is on the offensive once again in an effort to stop the transportation and importation of pythons and alligators (including crocodilian species). They’ve foolishly lumped these reptiles together and are on a mission to try and stop people from keeping and owning these animals. Since they are not what “mainstream” considers to be cute cuddly pets (i.e. cats, dogs, bunny rabbits, etc) and since some of these reptiles can in fact harm or possibly cause death to humans, they feel that every python and alligator (still including crocodilians) is a threat. As we all know, this is not the truth.

Since I deal exclusively with ball python snakes, I can only speak on their behalf because this is the only snake species that I have a first hand knowledge of and day-to-day experience with. They pose no “life or death” threat to humans, dogs, cats, etc., only rodents, simply because they are a natural food source for ball pythons. Although I do not own or have first hand experience working with other reptiles that are in the crosshairs - Anacondas, Burmese Pythons, Reticulated Pythons, Alligators, Crocodiles, etc – I can say that there are many responsible keepers that own these animals as pets and do so with the utmost care, responsibility, security and respect for the dangers that some of these animals can impose on humans and wildlife in general. This brings me to why I chose to title this blog entry as, “It’s a small world after all.” Believe it or not, it’s a very small world after all because tragic events such as the recent chimpanzee attack places not only these animals under the microscope but other animals as well, including innocent victims like the beloved Ball Python.

Since it’s such a “small world after all”, we need to be diligent and responsible as owners of exotic pets to keep safety in mind first and foremost. Not only the safety of ourselves but the safety of our families and neighbors. Keepers of potentially deadly exotic pets need to respect the potential of these pets in their care and constantly remind friends that keep similar pets as well. Exotic pet breeders that sell these animals to the public must be responsible and make certain that their customers understand the potential of what these animals can do. This not only goes for reptiles, it goes for other exotic pets as well including but not limited to exotic pets such as Lions, Bears, Tigers, and etc. that people keep as exotic pets. I subscribe to an exotic pets magazine that has pages upon pages of private for-sale and/or trade advertisements for Lions, Bears, Tigers and more so I know for certain that there are many people that keep potentially deadly non-reptile animals as pets too.

Do you like ball pythons? Do you think ball pythons are safe snakes to keep as pets? Do you feel that banning interstate transport of ball pythons is wrong? If you answered “yes” to these questions then you need to make your voice heard and help stop the passing of H.R. 669, which is “To prevent the introduction and establishment of nonnative wildlife species that negatively impact the economy, environment, or other animal species' or human health, and for other purposes.” Ball pythons do no such thing and should no be demonized and included in this house resolution. We can stop the US government from passing this house resolution but in order to do this, we have to speak together collectively as one unified voice with a resounding vote of “NO!” NO, we will not allow you, the US government, whom are servants of the people, to include ball pythons in this house resolution. NO, we will not passively sit by and allow you to include other non-life threatening species in this resolution.

YES, we will make our voices heard today and electronically sign the petition to stop this action. YES, we will make our voices heard and tell our friends about this and have our friends tell their friends and so on. YES, we will put a stop to this by signing the petition today!

If you love ball pythons then make your voice heard by electronically signing the petition at http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/usarkHR6311/index.html and help spread the word!

Ball Python Supplies Store Launched!

We're proud to introduce the very first online store supplying products and accessories solely for your ball python needs (heat pads, substrate, temperature gauges, etc). Now you have an online source for buying all of your ball python related items conveniently and "hassle free" from the comfort and safety of your home. No more trips to the pet store walking down aisles trying to figure out if a particular product will work for your ball python or not. Our entire online shopping experience is geared strictly towards ball pythons. Check it out now and beging purchasing at http://www.RCReptiles.com/BallPythonSupplies

Ball Python Supplies Store at RCReptiles.com