Posts Tagged ‘Reptiles Magazine’

Hot and Stupid is no way to go thru life (I’ve tried)

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008

Dwayne Cunningham called last week to tell me the book was advertised in Reptiles magazine, and since my subscription had lapsed I went to PetSmart and bought a copy.  It turned out the mag on the rack was still the August issue but I have to say that it was one more nail in the coffin for anyone who cares about keeping reptiles and amphibians.  Why? 

This was Reptiles‘ Special biennial “Hot” Issue.  A cover story was “Tackling the Taipan, Proper Care for One of the Deadliest Snakes.” The story opened with a graphic that would make Philipp Morris proud:  a skull and cross bones and a  warning:  “For Hard-Core Herpers.”

Now, I love Reptiles; I read it cover to cover.  But the Inland Taipan is widely considered the world’s deadliest snake.  Its venom packs enough wallop to lay cold 50 sober adults.  Not to mention that odds are good any taipan has been smuggled in from Australia (Yeah, I know, the Indo route.  My ass.).  Even the story’s care recommendation was monstrous:  keeping the six foot snake in a two foot box.  It wasn’t just Hoser’s taipan story, either.  On the mag’s cover was a photo of an endangered rock rattlesnake with info inside on exactly where to find more.  Another featured species was the Boomslang, the same one that killed Dr. Schmidt in my chapter Reptile Love. 

All of this hot hot talk might have been okay, a bone to the guys who keep this stuff, but the worst was yet to come.  In the very back of the magazine was the Herpkidz page, where children could play, “Can you spot ten rattlesnakes?” in a cheesy cartoon, then unscramble words like black mamba and king cobra.  Even Guns and Ammo doesn’t combine armor piercing bullets on the cover with kids’ crossword puzzles in the back.  Gee, Johnny can you unscramble A4K-7?

The complete lack of judgment in the top end of the industry is the reason city after city and state after state is outlawing reptile keeping. The sale of anacondas and reticulated pythons to teenagers, the promotion of the keeping of deadly animals in a magazine read by children…outside, greed is destroying habitat left and right; inside, stupidity is burning down the house.