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Invasive Burmese Python, photo by National Park Service
Invasive Burmese Python, photo by NPS

Pet reptiles, including snakes and lizards, can get out in the wild, breed and run feral, which disrupts the natural order. Reptiles, especially large snakes, from other ecosystems have the potential to devastate a region.

See Florida and Guam to get some perspective. In Florida, Burmese pythons cause $100,000,000 annual in damage, eating bunnies, alligators and everything in between, while in Guam, Australian brown tree snakes have nearly exterminated all birds on the island.

Invasive Bumese Python, photo by USGS
Invasive Bumese Python, photo by USGS

Constrictors and boas have no place in a domestic setting because of the risks they pose to wildlife and people if they get loose. Choose to adopt grass snakes and corn snakes instead.

Conversely, capturing native reptiles in the wild and keeping them in captivity is unkind, especially for species with declining populations like the coast horned lizard. The coast horned lizard is listed as a California Species of Special Concern. If your child…or you…insist upon a pet lizard, consider an anole.

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