Kid's Party Tip: Don't Have Animals That Can Eat the Children

So here's a question for all the parents out there: Would you feel comfortable with your 10-year-old handling a fifteen-foot-long Burmese python? Well, these parents apparently didn't see a problem with it. At first. Hmmm, how goes that old saying about hindsight?

Check out the newscast on the story at wapt.com.

Now, I love snakes and I'm all for introducing children to the mystery and wonder of the natural world in a hands-on way, just not with animals capable of eating them, and non-native animals at that. Here's a pretty good rule to follow: If you're going to do a reptile exhibit at a children's party and if you're going to let the children handle said reptiles, try to keep the reptiles smaller than the children. This helps prevents any unwanted and unexpected predator-prey confusion on the reptile's part. Fifteen-foot Burmese pythons? A bit much.

And besides, what's wrong with a bull snake, a king snake or any one of our beautiful and fascinating native snake species? Thanks to people who love to engage in some vaguely over-compensatory "my snake is bigger than than your snake" arms race, we now have literally thousands of giant, non-native constrictors roaming south Florida, eating everything in sight, causing ecological mayhem and producing new, albeit weird sporting opportunities http://www.fieldandstream.com/blogs/hunting/2010/02/dates-set-florida-python-season

So my suggestion would be, if you really want to stoke your kids' imagination, and if nothing but a giant snake will do, don't let him or her play around with one at a party (with all the obvious hazards that entails. See above). Just go to Florida and let your tyke hunt them instead. Killing a wild one beats hell out of getting mauled by a tame one any day...