Accurate reptile information
Snake information that is accurate.
Reptile information on the internet is at best hazardous!
In Australian lingo, the snake man would say “Turn on the
bullshit meter, every time you get told things about snakes and snake handling, and this is especially tru on the web”.
Unlike pre-internet days,
there are now countless internet reptile experts.
The reality however
is that this expertise is often limited at best.
The downside is that
there's a lot of false and innaccurate information about reptiles floating
around on the web. We call it "Bullshit!"
By way of example,
internet “forums” are filled with so-called experts, usually posting under false
names and multiple names and often posting all kinds of rubbish.
The problem is that most people who lie, do so in a convincing way and in a manner so as
not to be caught.
Typical is the advice
that comes from an old “man” with “lots of experience”, who turns out to be a
child with little, if any experience.
For those who keep
reptiles as pets and have things go wrong, it is even more dangerous.
Wrong advice may mean
a dead pet!
Classic is when the
common ailments turn up and the person with the sick reptile posts their problem
on a chat forum seeking advice.
The result is usually
an over-simplified diagnosis, that may or may not be correct and then worse
still an over-simplified “cure” that may miss out the all-important elements
needed for success.
The best example of
this sort of thing is in the posted “cures” for snake mites.
These parasites turn
up in collections with alarming frequency.
Even the best quarantined facilities may have outbreaks.
The parasites kill
reptiles outright if in large enough numbers, but usually they cause damage
well before then via the various highly contagious diseases they carry.
The result of an
infestation may be death and destruction within a collection, sometimes running
many years beyond when the mites are removed.
While these parasites
are treatable (as in can be killed off and permenantly), common advice and
treatments often results in rapid re-infestations and the same problems recurring.
While “Dr. Google”
may work for some things. For reptiles,
it is downright dangerous.
Then of course there
are those who lie for commercial reasons.
If you do a search
for “venomoid snakes” or
“devenomized snakes”, you’ll find many websites telling you that these snakes
are “butchered” and regenerate their venom glands.
The statements are
bare-faced lies told by reptile displayers either lacking expertise to perform the said surgery on the snakes, or unable to source them from elsewhere.
Then there’s the
continually false claims about expertise that appears on websites.
Take for example Mark
Richmond and his company, Crocodile Encounters, from NSW. He started in the business of kids reptile parties in 2004, but
just 7 years later this blew out to 75 years expertise as claimed on his
He’s not even that
Similar claims are
made by lots of people in the business of reptile parties, so the general
advice is that if the claims cannot be independently verified, don’t believe
In terms of
Snakebusters reptile shows, there are a few easily verified facts worth noting.
The company is owned
by Australia’s Snake Man, Ray Hoser. He
was seen on TV and in the print media in the early 1970’s with reptiles. In the mid 1970’s he appeared in news
reports with venomous snakes, including when he had a Death Adder stolen in
1978. His first published paper on
snakes was in a peer-reviewed journal in 1980.
So when in Melbourne the only company with more than 30 years expertise in handling snakes and other reptiles and in snake shows is Snakebusters.