The Cottonwood Heights community is right to be concerned about a resident harboring nearly 30 boa constrictors ("Exotic snake collector keeps his pets — for now," May 3). Like all large constrictor snakes, boa constrictors are capable of killing an adult human — just ask the family of a 34-year-old Nebraska man who was strangled by his pet boa constrictor in 2010. Pythons and boa constrictors have killed a dozen people nationwide, including four children, since 1990. Many others have suffered serious injuries from these powerful snakes.
Large- and small-scale breeding operations keep snakes in warehouse-type conditions, often inside exceptionally small stacked plastic containers no larger than shoe or sweater boxes. These grossly undersized containers are inhumane and prevent snakes from expressing natural behaviors and movements, including stretching out to their full body length. These deadly predators require specialized expertise and care and should only be kept by qualified people in accredited zoos and sanctuaries.
Debbie Leahy, policy manager at The Humane Society