Submitted By Shikkachi
For many years, humankind has been fascinated by reptiles in all their different forms, colors, and properties. Recently, some of those who keep these creatures as pets or for demonstrations have promoted a procedure to limit the dangers of venomous reptiles against humans who own them. However, the idea of limiting a creature’s natural defense for the needs of a person who is unwilling to handle it safely is selfish and outlandish. Essentially, it is hardly different from removing the thumbs from a human, or the canine teeth from a dog. Venomous snakes use venom as a tool to hunt and to protect themselves. This controversial procedure is meant to protect the safety of humans, but the safety of the snake is rarely considered. A venomoid is a venomous snake that has had its venom glands removed or destroyed in order to make it “harmless.”4 During an adenectomy, the surgeon first sterilizes each instrument and table top.5 Much like any other surgery, assuming the use of an actual practice and trained surgeon, the process is very clean and sterile. In order to prep the snake, it is placed in a gallon jar with few holes punctured in very certain spots. Through these holes Trifluoroethane is dropped and the jar is then quickly sealed. The patient remains in the jar, taking in both oxygen and the anesthetic fumes.5 In order to access the gland, an incision is made in the side of the head to reveal the whole gland. The muscle tissues are then carefully separated, the gland severed at the venom duct, removed, and the incision sutured shut.5 The healing process can take anywhere from 1 week to a month.5 The snake is generally only offered water while recovering. Although it can be fed, the owner should be sure the sutures are completely healed before offering food. As is the case with most controversies, many people have strong opinions about whether this procedure is safe, ethical, or necessary. Those who support adenectomy believe this operation is not cruel to the animal because the snake will never be released back into the wild. Therefore, the venom is not necessary for survival through hunting or self-defense.3 They often believe the safety of the handler is more important than, or a contributor to, the well-being of the snake. Many believe the only downside of this procedure is the risk of the incision becoming infected. 3 Those who advocate venom gland removal also believe that people will no longer need to handle the snake with sticks, which will increase the lifespan of the snake due to the animal experiencing less stress. However, lacking venom does not necessarily mean that a snake is harmless. Those against this procedure point out that even without venom glands a snake has several varieties of bacteria in its mouth. A bite, even without venom, can leave a very deep puncture wound that may become infected. Also, it is possible for the snake to have venom in its venom ducts following the removal of its glands.1 This procedure does not by any means make the snake safe, as most venomous snakes are considered bad-tempered and still need to be handled with care. 2 In my opinion, this procedure is absolutely wrong. Even if the snake will never be released into the wild, it is still a natural defense of the snake, and mutilation. Removing the venom gland is not only wrong, but it’s also very painful for the snake, since there is no pain management for reptiles. The pain the snake would feel would be equivalent to a human having major surgery and not getting any pain medication following the procedure. If someone wishes to own a venomous snake, there are many precautions that can and should be taken so the human and the snake are safe. With or without their venom, snakes are still wild animals and deserve to be treated with respect. Snakes can be just as much a beloved pet to people as a dog or cat. To subject them to such pain is inhumane. It is very easy for a potential snake owner to be trained in the correct way to handle venomous snakes so such a procedure is not necessary. Snakes are beautiful creatures, and are a nice pet to own and have, but to own a venomous snake is a big commitment, and precautions should always be taken. While the safety of humans is important, the safety and wellbeing of the snake is just as vital and must be taken into account.…...