I wrote a blog post yesterday mainly about Mites http://ssscales.com/archives/1634 in which I wrote two sections about “Hitchhikers” and “Where has your snake been?”. I’ve received a few PM’s on Facebook about these sections asking for greater details, as well as questions about where their snakes came from and should they be concerned.
Here I will reiterate my thoughts on both those topics.
Mites don’t just come into your home/collection/pet with the purchase of a new snake! Mites can also hitch a ride on you/your clothing, your friends that have snakes visiting, in bedding you purchased that may have mites crawling in it, etc, etc! If you attend a Reptile Expo, go into a pet shop, visit a friends house with snakes that happen to have mites, you could very well without knowing have mites hitching a ride on you back home! Be vigilant of your surroundings and what comes into your reptile room!
Whenever I visit a friend with snakes, or attend a reptile expo, visit a pet shop that has reptiles, anywhere that there are other snakes and could potentially have mites. I make sure and take precautions so that I minimize the chances of having any unwanted hitchhikers hitching a ride into my collection! It may seem very anal and paranoid, but ask anyone that has lost a snake or many snakes to disease, and you too will think a bit more the next time you handle those snakes at the local pet shop! Getting rid of mites is not the problem, keeping them out to begin is never ending!
WHERE HAS YOUR SNAKE BEEN?
This raised the question for many…Do you REALLY know you where your snake came from, where it’s been? Why should you care? Many times we think about price when buying a new snake! Many times we think about colors, pattern, quality, even health wise when buying a new snake. When the snake arrives we look for mites, signs of RI, signs of any infections, scale problems, any visible signs of something being wrong, right? But, what about what you can’t see?
Such as how was that snake housed and cared for before you bought it? How were the other snakes along side it housed and cared for? What is the history behind them? Do you know that healthy looking snake you just bought may have spent the night, a week, a month or more before being sold to you in the same room with 100s and/or 1000′s of animals passing through the same room from all over the state or maybe even across the world with little care for history or health? Did you know your snake may have spent the night next to 100s of snakes that were shipped in the week before from all over the world with possibly dozens of dead snakes from multiple causes from dehydration to who knows? Did you know your snake may have come from a collection where the previous owner lost 1/2 his snakes to IBD and that owner wholesaled the other half? Makes you wonder where did your snake REALLY come from? Should you care?
Are you buying direct from the breeder? The direct person who owns and maybe even hatched out the parents of your new addition, maybe even the grandparents and great grandparents? Has a record of everything from the day your snake hatched along with every other snake they’ve hatched? A breeder that only sells what they produce and buy from others that only sell what they produce, etc, etc?
Are you buying from someone that simply bought your snake along with 100s or 1000s of other animals that year? Purchased wholesale wit the only thought being how low they paid, simply to flip/resell ASAP for the highest price they could get, along with the other 100s and 1000′s of animals that have come and gone through their doors. No history, many times no controls, not a care in the world other than how low they paid for your snake, how much can they profit from selling it to you, and how fast can they sell it to you? Many times these animals are received and resold in the same day to avoid even feeding, housing, etc.
I’m not saying all breeders are good and all resellers are bad, many resellers are responsible and do take precautions, many only buy from select breeders year after year and are glad to let you know exactly where your snake came from, even many private breeders purchase animals wholesale to supplement their sales. There is nothing wrong with this practice as long as it’s done responsibly and precautions are taken. Precautions that take time and cost money, precautions that many unfortunately do not take because many times it’s ONLY and ALL about profits!
Makes you think, who are you REALLY buying from, where has your snake REALLY been? Where did your snake REALLY come from? Do you even care? Should you care? I do…
How can you know? Ask questions such as the obvious “Did you produce this snake?”, ask lots of questions, ask about the parents, ask to see pictures of the clutch/litter, breeding pair, etc, etc. Questions, questions, questions! Don’t be afraid to ask questions!