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Old 12-18-2005, 04:37 PM   #1
Exclamation Indigo snakes in captivity.

Since I began studying, and researching indigo snakes a few years ago, Ive noticed that there are a few individuals who do not approve of the keeping of snakes, and in particular the eastern indigo. One such individual, in my opinion, is Angela Williams. She is the go to gal for Florida Fish & Wildlife Endangered species permits. So If you live in Florida, and you want to acquire a legal captive bred animal, you must apply through her. She has flat out told me that she does not understand why anyone would want to keep an indigo in captivity, and she has expressed her personal disapproval of persons doing so. Hence, the EXTREME difficulty, near impossibility of obtaining a permit in Fla.

I further recognize that she is not alone. Many government officials would be inclined to agree with her. Some of those government officials, may or may not be sympathetic of the Humane Society's belief that snakes should not be kept in captivity as pets at all.

To all these people, I say this. You keep whatever kind of pet you want, and I will do the same. I have developed a trusting bond with these animals, the likes of which, I have never seen before. I do not like to call them pets. To me, a pet is a disposable animal given to a child to play with until it dies. They are not really livestock either. I would call them family members. The value of such a relationship, and the resulting observations cannot be understated. We learn from our captive animals. And a species who's existence in the wild is as precarious as this, requires us to learn as much about it as possible. In order to preserve this species forever. We must keep them in captivity. Period. Wether or not we approve of that activity, is irrelevant.

If you need justification for keeping indigos in captivity, look no further than the issue of global warming. I think we can all agree that this phenomena is real, and for whatever reason, seems to be getting worse. Do we know the extent of how this issue will effect this species? No we don't. But it seems very clear to me, that as this problem increases, and is compounded by habitat destruction, and fragmentation, sooner or later, indigos will be in real trouble in the wild. It is not entirely outside the realm of possibility, that as temperatures continue to rise, that indigos will not be able to cope. They simply cannot take the heat. And if ground temperatures rise too far, too deep, they are done. If I have learned one thing about indigos, Ive learned that they simply can't take the heat. So you see the importance of maintaining a captive population.

It is imperative that we maintain a healthy, diverse, captive gene pool. And in order for this to occur, we must promote indigos in captivity. We must collaborate with one another, on every level. We cannot afford to allow narrow minded people to stop us from doing what is right. We made this mess, and now we must try and fix it. Stopping private individuals from keeping indigos in captivity is not the way to go. Keeping the private sector gene pool separate from the zoo/university gene pool is not the way to go. Getting together, promoting this species, and protecting this species is.

We need stronger legislation to protect wild populations from developers. If a person has enough money/political power, they can bulldoze indigo/gopher tortoise habitat. What happens to the animals that live there? Are they collected, and distributed to zoos, universities, or private collectors? Please tell us. We'd all like to know! And we all need to step up to the plate, and contribute to programs which aim to purchase, and conserve habitat. We need to allow volunteers to monitor, and record wild populations, and temperatures below ground. We may not be able to stop global warming. It may already be too late. But we CAN controll the temperatures in our zoos, universities, and snake rooms at home. I believe that it's not even a question. We just have to do it. Period. And if we love the animals with which we work, and we develope a relationship with them, and we learn from that experience, what is the downside? There is none.

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