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

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

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…