Are you considering buying a venomous snake in the UK? This guide will provide you with all the information you need to make an informed decision. We will discuss the legal aspects, risks, and safety precautions, as well as where to buy and how to care for venomous snakes.
Legal Aspects and Regulations
In the UK, venomous snakes are considered dangerous wild animals, and owning one requires a Dangerous Wild Animal Licence. This licence is issued by your local authority, and you must meet specific safety and competence requirements to obtain it. Find out more about the application process and its cost on your local council’s website. Additionally, some venomous snake species are protected under UK law, and their trade or ownership is restricted or prohibited.
Risks and Safety Precautions
Owning a venomous snake carries significant risks. Bites from venomous snakes can be fatal or cause severe health consequences. Take necessary safety precautions by following these guidelines:
- Always have the right equipment, like snake hooks and tongs, to handle your snake safely.
- Ensure the snake’s enclosure is secure and escape-proof. Double-check locks and barriers regularly.
- Do not handle your snake while alone. Always have someone nearby to help in case of an emergency.
- Keep the contact information for emergency services and a local herpetological expert, who can help in case of a snakebite.
- Take a first aid course specifically designed for snakebite emergencies.
Where to Buy Venomous Snakes
Choose a reputable and experienced supplier when purchasing a venomous snake. This will ensure you get a healthy animal and accurate information on its care and maintenance. Here are a few suggestions on where to look for such suppliers:
- Specialist reptile shops that stock venomous snakes;
- Online forums and social media groups dedicated to venomous snake keeping;
- Reptile expos and events, where multiple vendors showcase and sell their animals.
Caring for Venomous Snakes
Providing proper care for your venomous snake is crucial to ensure its health and wellbeing. Research your snake species’ specific requirements and follow these general guidelines for care:
- Provide a suitable enclosure with the right size, temperature, humidity, and lighting for your snake’s species.
- Ensure the enclosure has appropriate hiding places and climbing structures to mimic the snake’s natural habitat.
- Feed a species-appropriate diet and adjust feeding frequency according to the snake’s age, size, and health.
- Keep the enclosure clean and maintain proper hygiene practices to prevent diseases and infections.
- Monitor your snake’s health and consult a reptile veterinarian in case of any concerns or abnormalities.
While owning a venomous snake is an exciting and rewarding experience for some, it is not for everyone. Carefully consider the legal aspects, risks, and responsibilities before deciding to buy a venomous snake in the UK. Do thorough research on your desired species, and consult experienced keepers for advice and guidance.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. Are there any venomous snakes native to the UK?
Yes, there is one venomous snake native to the UK: the European adder (Vipera berus). While its venom is not usually fatal to humans, a bite can cause severe pain and discomfort.
2. How much does it cost to buy a venomous snake in the UK?
The price of a venomous snake can vary widely depending on the species, age, and the breeder or supplier. Common species can cost anywhere from £50 to several hundred pounds, while rarer and more dangerous species will be more expensive.
3. Are all venomous snakes aggressive and dangerous?
Venomous snakes are wild animals, and their behaviour can vary across species and individuals. Some may be more defensive or aggressive than others. An experienced keeper can often predict a snake’s mood and handle it accordingly. However, the risk of a bite is always present and should not be underestimated.