My husband and I are the proud owners of 3 pythons; this one hits home. The absolute key is the quote from Catherine Stevens of Halifax: “A responsible reptile owner will not get one that they can’t handle. I truly believe that. If you do your research with what you can handle, then you’ll get the right reptile for you.”
We own 3 pythons, none of which will grow to such a size as to make it dangerous for only one of us to handle. 2 of the pythons are Ball or Royal pythons, they may top out between 4 to 5 feet long at full maturity. Our big girl is a Jungle Carpet (M. s. cheynei) and she may grow up to 7 feet long; she’s a little over 6 feet now. Both breeds are mellow in personality, although Azzie, the Jungle Carpet can get cranky at molting time; all three, by and large are absolutely easily handled by one person.
Pythons can live 30 to 40 years and this must be taken into consideration. When you are older, will you still be able to handle the snake, if you must? Any reptile or bird with a long life span needs some special considerations; what happens if you have reached the end of your lifespan? You will need to leave provisions in your will.
What if you move to an apartment? Will your reptile buddy be permitted? Will you have the space for his/her enclosure?
Yeah, breeding them is fun but don’t think you’ll make a profit. Pythons have seen some popularity as companions – they are quiet, they don’t need to be walked etc. – they are not guaranteed sells. You may end up with more pythons than you can find room to house, and more expensive to feed than you imagined.
Anacondas, Burmese, Rock and Reticulated are cool and imposing in appearance; they are also NOT suited to share their space with human beings. They are too big, they demand far more specialized care than anyone can possibly commit to giving over their long, long life span and, they are dangerous. If you believe you NEED a python this big? Take some therapy because you have issues. In pythons, bigger is, definitely, not better. I really hate to say it but the people of our acquaintance, who have chosen constrictors with these types of potential size and danger, have all had rather glaring personality issues. By and large, inferiority complexes of varying levels, which they tried to solve by bigger and more dangerous animal companions (truly dangerous or perceived to be).
Really WANT a python? They do make great companions but research, research and then research again. Azzie – the Jungle Carpet came to us because the original owner couldn’t bring herself to feed her. (Something that just flummoxed me – what, the hell, do you think pythons eat? A Caesar Salad?) Can you feed live rodents to your reptilian buddy? Not all pythons accept dead prey – ours don’t. Do you have a proper enclosure? Is it large enough? Will you be able to increase as your snake grows? What about a vet? Not all vets can treat reptiles; it is a specialization and the cost reflects it.
Do you have children? Snakes can carry Salmonella. They do, on occasion, bite. They do constrict. If you have kids? Maybe re-think and go for the nice aquarium or cute little gecko but again, research, research and research some more.
Sharing your space, your life with any animal, reptile, bird or fish is a PRIVILEGE with loads of RESPONSIBILITY; it IS NOT A RIGHT. Live up to it or go home.