Aleta Stacy Attacked By Lethal 'Black Mamba'; Questions Left UnansweredBy Lou Young

PUTNAM LAKE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Police in the northern suburbs are blaming a pet exotic snake for the death of one of its owners. The animal’s bite is poisonous and almost always fatal.

Sixty miles north of New York City the car in the driveway has a bumper sticker that reads “the only good snake is a live snake,” evidence of an unusual collection of reptiles removed after one of them apparently bit and killed a woman here, Aleta Stacy.

“One of the strangest things I’ve ever dealt with since becoming sheriff of Putnam County,” Donald Smith told CBS 2’s Lou Young.

The woman was found in her bedroom by her boyfriend early Tuesday evening. The prime suspect is a so-called “Black Mamba,” a native of Africa, and one of 75 snakes the couple kept in their home under lock and key. The problem was the snake’s cage padlock had been opened.

“When they examined the body they observed one of her forearms where appeared to be fresh, bite marks, snake marks on the arm,” Capt. William McNamara said.

The animal we’re talking about is identified by National Geographic as the fastest snake in the world out in the wild and the second deadliest when you look at the neurotoxin power of it’s venom. No one familiar with the snake would handle it casually and police are looking at the possibility that what happened here wasn’t an accident.

“We can’t understand why she didn’t call 911 right away and things like that. There’s a lot of loose ends,” a friend said.

Friends of the late victim didn’t want Young to use their names but were shaken by the circumstances of the woman’s death.

“She was an unhappy lady and a very nice lady, a very nice person,” one friend said, adding when asked if it’s possible her death was intentional, “It could’ve been.”

Of the more than six dozen snakes taken from the home on Wednesday, 56 were poisonous, including a cobra, which is illegal to possess without a permit. A state investigation is underway.

All 75 snakes are currently being housed at the Bronx Zoo.

In March, New York City was both terrified and amused by the exploits of a cobra that escaped from its enclosure in the Bronx Zoo. It was recaptured and is back on display.

Should it be illegal to own snakes as pets? Sound off in our comments section.

Comments (118)
  1. sparky says:

    I think it should become illegal to own venomous snakes they belong in their habitat, what happens when the owner gets bitten, yep the snakes are taken away and euthanises as was the case with anita finch who got bitten by her pet gaboon viper, you will never tame a venomous snake, leave them in the wild

  2. Motega48 says:

    Owning venomous snakes should be illegal. Some people want to ban certain breeds of dogs because they are considered ‘dangerous’ so why not something that actually IS dangerous? Irresponsible pet owners could not lock cages, letting the snakes out into the neighborhood and bite a child playing.

  3. jtorres says:

    Snakes are fascinating animals to me and I love to look at them and learn about them…from a distance. I know people who own snakes but none of them are venomous or dangerous. I’ll admit, i don’t understand the appeal. I don’t think it should be legal to own what amounts to a deadly animal. This is why it’s illegal in many states to own lions and tigers and such. Wild animals cannot be domesticated. Nature will always take over and they will give in to instinct.
    That said, clearly, this woman was not well. Owning 75 snakes, 56 of them venomous, is tantamount to the woman who had 100 cats in her home (except for the deadly factor) She was a hoarder, a very sad psychological illness that has caused the death of more than one person. I doubt anyone who knew her is surprised.

    1. EricWI says:

      Numbers alone do not define or indicate an animal “hoarding” situation. If you want to define “hoarding” as such, then be consistant. Feed lots maintain many animals. Are they “hoarders”? Fish farms maintain and stock hundreds of fish. Are fish farms animal “hoarders”?

      An individual may be an animal hobbyist or breeder (which Ms. Stacey most likely was in my opnion) and be able to properly maintain say 70 reptiles, but another person may only maintain two or three and provide absolutely What must accompany that definition is a failure to provide basic husbandry and/or veterinary care for either oneself and/or the animals in their charge. Although it is not stated nor specified what the conditions of the animals were in this story, I have an updated report stating the snakes were “well fed” and “well cared for” here,|topnews|text|News

      1. Bob P says:

        Having 56 venomous snakes is not a ‘hobby’, and she definitely wasn’t a snake breeder. And this number of snakes isn’t the same thing as having 56 fish or fuzzy little mice. This lady was obsessed with snakes (something I can understand), but it was an unhealthy obsession before, and now it was a deadly one.

  4. Dan from Ohio says:

    This is a really sad story. I really hope that more information is collected and shared publicly. I would really like to know more about what the investigation uncovers.

    Despite this grave news, based upon my knowledge of snakes and other reptiles, I do not believe that it should be illegal for people to own and care for snakes. Based upon the level of expertise required to handle venomous species, I would uphold the law that requires handlers to be certified with their care.

    Most Pythons and Boas, when raised domestically (usually referred to as captive-born) are quite docile and can be handled by adults and children alike depending on their size. For example, I would not recommend that a child handle an adult reticulated python without the close supervision of an adult, just the same as I would not recommend a small child be left alone with a large breed dog (whether known for aggressive behavior or not). That’s just a matter of being a responsible caretaker. Yes, I care for two boas and one python. All three snakes were born in captivity and are raised domestically. They all have excellent temperaments and are actually very social animals. As an example, my largest boa (7.5ft – almost full grown) enjoys coiling in my lap or resting on my shoulders while I watch football games. My fiancée, roommates, family and friends have a great deal of respect for the animals since they have observed the excellent behaviors of snakes that are well cared for.

    There are also a number of good reasons for certain people to care for venomous snakes privately, particularly in milking venom and selling it for cancer research (Google it). I think a number of venomous snake owners get their thrill from owning beautiful, potentially lethal animals (there might be something psychological about exerting restraint over a deadly animal). Whether dangerous animals or not “Hording” any type of animal to fulfill a personal need (snakes, cats, dogs, birds, etc.) is never acceptable.

  5. cranky says:

    Sorry for the comment lady but you are vtotally at fault for your own death
    snakes of any kind are NOT pets you endangered scores of your neighbors possibly children
    you deserve your untimely end

  6. Kevin says:

    If people feel owning a snake should be illegal because they belong out in the wild that other wild animals like birds, lizards and etc should not be owned as pets either since they are wild animals. Snakes are like tarantulas and are able to get the poison taken out I had a friend that owned a couple snakes from Africa and he new how to take care of them. owning more then 1 or 2 snakes should be ok unlike owning 75.

  7. Chris Shepard says:

    Illegal even.

    People who feed live animals to snakes should be locked up.

    1. msmaris04 says:

      I feed crickets my pet water dragon, and do I feel guilty yes, but its called the animal kingdom for a reason. Every one should have the liberity to do how they see fit IF it is not huring any human being. I care deeply for the rights of animals but to say that every person who feeds animals live animals soul be locked up, that is extreme…go join PETA.

    2. EricWI says:


      What do you believe snakes in the wild feed on? Surely they are not handed a frozen thawed rat head first to them in the wilds of sub Saharan Africa?

      Yes, While myself and many others normally advocate feeding captive snakes frozen thawed or pre-killed prey for a variety of reasons, once again, your ignorance on the matter is painfully evident here. There are some cases (such as to boost embryonic development in gravid female snakes) and some snakes where feeding live prey must be done or may be preferable, not for or out of made up reasons such as “sadism” but rather is in such cases, a captive husbandry necessity.

  8. Chris Shepard says:

    Yes. It should be illgeal to own snakes as pets, not only for the danger very clearly illustrated here, but for the sadistic ways that snakes are fed.

    1. EricWI says:


      What do you believe snakes in the wild feed on? Surely they are not handed a frozen thawed rat head first to them in the wilds of sub Saharan Africa?

      That is what is called “nature”. I suggest reading up on some more biology textbooks if you wish to sound intelligent enough to post on here.

      Yes, While myself and many others normally advocate feeding captive snakes frozen thawed or pre-killed prey for a variety of reasons, once again, your ignorance on the matter is painfully evident here. There are some cases (such as to boost embryonic development in gravid female snakes) and some snakes where feeding live prey must be done or may be preferable, not for or out of made up reasons such as “sadism” but rather is in such cases, a captive husbandry necessity.

    2. Mark Romansk says:

      The idea of not owning pets because they are “dangerous” is a joke. Smoking kills more people than anything else on earth, and we don’t make it illegal to smoke. She chose to own venomous snakes. Part of the choice of owning them is that you may be envenomated. Comes with the decision to own venomous snakes. That is not a choice that should be made for her. This is the land of the free and the home of the brave. We don’t need the government telling us what kind of pets we can have. They have more important things to focus on.

      1. nygrump says:

        But what about emergency responders who might have to respond to a false alarm at her home? Its one thing to have a boa constrictor, but a black mamba? That’s a sick need for attention. You mention smoking – the State total regulates that and is restricting its usage more and more. Dangerous venomous snakes from other countries have no place outside a zoo. Should we all be allowed to have nuclear reactors in homes too?

  9. JoseV says:

    Oops, my bad, I meant was “it “found in the house?

  10. JoseV says:

    Hey, has anyone noticed that the article did not mention where the snake is? Was in found in the house ?

  11. Bob says:

    A big thanks to all the experts on snakes for logging on here to share their infinite wisdom. Owning a venemous snake is idiotic at best, they are a wild animal thus should be kept in the WILD.

    1. Bob says:

      Oh and yes I see the typo I made and don’t give a s h i t…

    2. Danielle says:

      Oh yes i agree thats why we in Africa kill them when we find them on the way to the farm. We dont live with them like others think.

      Please leave them in the wild. God said have dominion over them not as friends

      1. EricWI says:

        And that is precisely the reason why such snakes could be better off being imported and in kept captivity than being left subject to rapid habitat loss and human persecution…

      2. rENELDA mOOREHEAD says:

        Danielle makes a lot of sense. Leave snakes in the wild;. God did
        give us dominion over animals according to Genesis. I am so sorry
        for the death of the “unhappy” woman. If it was murder most foul, as
        the police have suspected, may the culprit be brought to justice. Then this
        dear woman will rest in peace.

  12. Katie says:

    I hate this terrible written stories. This snake was venomous not poisonous. Poisonous is when you ingest or inhale something and it is toxic and venomous is when something bites you and is toxic.

    1. Katie says:

      This – these (phone typo)

    2. Jennifer says:

      Definition of venom from Merriam-Webster:
      1: POISONOUS matter normally secreted by some animals (as snakes, scorpions, or bees) and transmitted to prey or an enemy chiefly by biting or stinging; broadly : material that is poisonous
      2: ill will, malevolence

      1. EricWI says:

        Again, s poor and biologically illiterate definition, as it fails to take into account the differences in biological mechanisms and systems of species that are venomous vs. those that are “poisonous”. Read my previous post on the matter.

        Poison= Ingested.

  13. Angela says:

    I have read a portion of the comments and the main thread I see here is “Why keep snakes? Ew, gross, yuck!” I personally keep snakes. I don’t keep the venomous types, or “hots”, as I know the risks involved and don’t want to put myself or family in harm’s way. I do keep pythons, boas, and colubrids (king snakes, corn snakes, and rat snakes). The snake is a fascinating animal and fairly clean. They are easily cared for as they don’t eat but once every other week or in some cases once a month. A bowl of water and a meal when wanted/needed and they are calm. You keep the cages cleaned after each poop and there is no smell. Dogs and cats smell far worse than a snake does. And I did read the comment about certain states trying to ban all pet sales making it illegal to own even fish or birds. Yes we need to watch what our government is trying to force on us in new legislations. We are finding our God given rights and freedoms taken away from us. Pretty soon at the rate things are going we’ll find ourselves being told when and where we can breathe. For the one who posted they couldn’t see why anyone would want to keep snakes and basically calling such a person crazy, some may hate cats and think you are crazy for keeping them. It’s all in a person’s likes and dislikes. Don’t pass judgements on someone for what they like to do.

  14. glimmertwins says:

    Either this was suicide or the boyfriend did it…she had time to call – 15-20 minutes at a minimum. Since the cage was found unlocked, she put the snake back in the cage after she was bitten – and she was bitten several times. So whether or not she was right next to the cage, it’s not as if her death was instantaneous. Why would she have just gone back to bed after getting bitten several times by a poisonous snake?

    1. Kevin says:

      In a ways I agree with this comment for if the snake got out of the cage and bit her I do not believe if the snake was found in the cage when the cops showed up that the snake would not have gone back to the cage for it would have tried to of ran away.

  15. sizziline says:

    If these snakes was piousness why in the world would they keep that many snakes in their house thats a death trap right there there is no way i would keep one snake talking about 75!

  16. Stefanie says:

    Something sounds very, very odd about this story. I have worked with reptile keepers at several zoo’s and many of them keep poisonous snakes at home. It seems strange that the investigators would just accept that the lock on the cage of one of the deadliest snakes, was accidentally (or otherwise) left open… just saying.

  17. Bob says:

    “…where appeared to be fresh, bite marks…”

    “…the neurotoxin power of it’s venom…”

    Somebody pretending to be a news writer needs to return to second grade grammar class.

  18. Ramblin Red Rose says:


    1. EricWI says:

      Ramblin Red Rose-
      So owning snakes should be made illegal simply because you do not understand why anyone else would want one?

      I might not understand why you you may want or do everything it is that you do, but that is no grounds for a prohibition. Perhaps you should alternatively further educate yourself on the matter instead.

      1. EricWI says:

        Most posters on here thus far might not keep snakes, or even like them for that matter (and that is fine) and thus may not be affected by a ban on their ownership as much as I would be. But what is perhaps most alarming to me anyway, is the all too readiness I have seen to agree to outlawing something in which many such posters have admitted to fearing and/or not understanding. We as humans and society have come a long way in terms of our levels of sophistication and complexity in technology, and knowledge (or at least I would hope so) regarding many things, including nature and the natural world around us. I would certainly have hoped that we as a society would have developed far more open and inquistive minds and sought to educate, rather than eliminate when faced with some of our age old cultural fears and biases that have little foundation in truth or reality. Perhaps we are long past due to move out of the “dark ages” in this regard…

        With that said, and as I have said previously, I am alarmed by the failure of many to see what essentially amounts to a very slippery slope of the continual erosion of our freedoms and liberties our country was founded upon thanks to our Founding Fathers by agreeing to outlaw snake ownership. You may initially fail to see the connection to which I am about to post, or view it as a stretch. Did you know that the city of San Francisco has recently proposed a pet sales ban to include even goldfish? Or that there was federal legislation proposed several years ago that would have made felons out of millions of American citizens for simply crossing state lines with their non native pet parakeet or tropical fish? Or that in Fort Collins CO a ban on ALL retail sales of any animals was proposed as a means of shutting down the alleged “puppy mill” problem? This is only the tip of the iceberg (and regarding pets and pet ownership) to which I see on a nearly daily basis.

        So I ask kindly, to wake up and pay closer attention to what YOUR government may be proposing and passing before becoming so hasty in our final judgments and conclusions regarding what we may fear or not understand. You just might be very surprised at what you may find.

      2. rizzo says:

        No but I’m not going to feel bad for you if one of your poisonous snakes kills you because you’re a schmuck that likes to keep poisonous snakes in your house.

        I do think it should probably be illegal to keep poisonous snakes if you have children though.

      3. RobertIL says:

        What if they get loose? These animals are very hard to contain. Pythons are breeding in the Florida Everglades and have become a major public safety issue. The disastrous infestation of Guam with brown tree snakes came from a single pregnant female imported by accident. There is no excuse or reason to endanger the entire country just to shock the neighbors.

      4. EricWI says:

        Robert IL-

        Pythons ARE NOT a public safety issue in the EG or anywhere else in the U.S. Not ONE member of the public has been injured or killed by an EG python in an unprovoked manner. Don’t believe me? Read what respected herpetologist Shawn Heflick says about it:

    2. mike says:

      are there any more two year olds on here

    3. Jason says:

      The venom of a black mamba can kill a human in four hours, if, say, bitten on the ankle or the thumb. However, a bite to the face or torso can bring death from paralysis within 20 minutes. Now, you should listen to this, ’cause this concerns you. The amount of venom that can be delivered from a single bite can be gargantuan. You know, I’ve always liked that word… “gargantuan”… so rarely have an opportunity to use it in a sentence. If not treated quickly with antivenom, 10 to 15 milligrams can be fatal to human beings. However, the black mamba can deliver as much as 100 to 400 milligrams of venom from a single bite.

      1. giambo says:

        Kill Bill…Vol 2…….I love that part of the movie….

  19. kerry says:

    what an idiot.simple as that

  20. JEN says:


  21. William Groce says:

    i have raised snakes for years and i do reptile rescue in southern new mexico which means i handle wild snakes usually rattlesnakes and transplant them into the desert snakes make great pets and a learning experience for kids but i would advocate noone owning a snake unless they know what they are doing and only a fool would own one that is deadly they are not cats or dogs they do NOT enjoy handling they are great to watch but handling them upsets them and they will defend themselves you should see how mad i have made rattlesnakes when removing them from someones home or property

    1. I agree with you completely, but please use punctuation. What you wrote is as hard to understand as the people who type with the caps lock key on.

  22. Piccolo says:

    Snakes should be banned..even the non-poisonous as they’re capable of squeezing the life out of a person if they feel threatened.

    1. ABRAHAM DUKE says:


    2. EricWI says:

      Constriction is not utilized as a defensive mechanism by snakes. It is strictly utilized as a method of feeding and ingestion.

      There are hundreds of snakes that are constrictors, ranging from an 8 inch sand boa, to 3 foot corn snakes and ball pythons, to 20 foot pythons. Many are what are known as :”colubrids” and are not venomous nor are even boas or pythons. Therefore, banning snakes on the basis of whether or not they are “constrictors” is about as devoid of sound reasoning as is outlawing all dogs which happen to be “pointer” breeds.

    3. EricWI says:

      Also, I want to point out that most states and areas in the U.S and Canada have at least several species of harmless indigenous snakes which are constrictors, typically in the 3 to 5 foot range they prey upon rodents such as rats and mice, therefore keeping their populations in balance and in check.

  23. Fritz says:

    No, I’m against anymore governmental regulating and creating more laws for the sake of more laws that criminalize citizens. However, I think social media should educate the populous about wildlife. Snakes of the venemous variety should be left alone to do what they do best, eat the critters that eat our crops, hunt for mates and make more snakes, just like us. These creatures bear us no malice, and aside from the larger snakes, they will do their utmost to avoid us. We do not compete for the same food as the venomous snakes so there is no conflict. All we have to do is be aware of them and keep our distance and marvel at their wondrous design. Also, my condolenses to the family and friends of the snake’s owner.

    1. cprnmo says:

      very well said.

  24. willford says:


  25. Elle says:

    In general, I don’t feel badly for someone killed by an animal if they are mishandling it. The animals are doing what is natural and they are being interfered with.
    I don’t agree that all snakes should be banned, But there should be restrictions . Owning a Black Mamba is insanely dangerous.

  26. JacD123 says:

    It is heart breaking to read that anyone could say the woman got what she deserved. I am so not for having venomous snakes or any snake for that matter. However, it is horrible that her life is so casually talked about. I do believe there should be laws that strictly limit the ownership of venomous snakes. I believe someone commented earlier saying that if their neighbor can have a gun, they should have a snake. I cannot for the life of me figure out how that is the same thing. If my gun was putting you at risk, it should be illegal. My gun, however, cannot slither next door and curl up in your bed with you. I understand that no one wants to be limited to what they can and cannot do. However, how would you feel knowing that you five year old rode his bike upon a cobra that someone lost? I think those fighting the issue do not realize that not everyone is so caution with their ownership, nor as trained. Maybe that should also be part of the strictly enforced law. Extensive training should be required. If one wants to own the snake for their true beauty, be highly educated in what you are admiring. Also, I feel there should be some way of tracking the snake. For instant, like that gun next door you use freely as an example. It has an identification number on it. If the snakes could be tracked, then the owners would be liable for the snakes that escaped. Also if someone’s snake escapes and hurts another person, I think they should be solely liable for all injuries.

    1. Walter Sanders Jr says:

      It should absolutely be illegal to own pet snakes. This woman,s needless death is a prime example of this. Most people who get these exotic snakes don’t think about the danger they put themselves, and other people in when they get these animals. That these snakes are not meant to be pets, especially a poisonous snake like this Black mamba, or even a Burmese python, which can get big enough to kill a full sized adult person. Another tragic example is down in the Florida everglades. People get the exotic snakes like Burmese and African pythons as pets. These snakes get too big to handle, so these people dump them in the Glades. These snakes then wipe out native species, and take over. Now these snakes roam all over the place, and pose a serious threat not only to animals, but humans as well (especially small children). These people if they are caught dumping these exotic snakes in native areaS of the country where they don’t belong, they need to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Their reckless, selfish, and thoughtless actions endanger everyone!!.

      1. EricWI says:

        Let’s spend some time again examining some real and actual facts and statistics, shall we?

        Did you know that in the year 2005 alone,..

        -16,692 people were murdered by their fellow species.
        -899 died as a result from falling from chairs in their homes.
        -477 died as a result of ladder related accidents.
        -344 drowned in their own bathtubs.
        -48 died from lightning strikes, with an additional 874 fatalities as a result of cataclysmic storms (even going outside can be dangerous).
        -43 died from coming into contact with hot water.
        -Even toys have contributed to 20 deaths that year.
        So tell me again, if the underlying rational for wanting to outlaw snakes, or other exotic animals for that matter, are in fact based upon public health and safety concerns, why not outlaw or place further restrictions upon these?

      2. EricWI says:

        Pythons in the Everlades is, and thus far, remained a south Florida issue only…

      3. Joshua Frazer says:

        I like you, EricWI

      4. BB says:


        A rationale voice in the debate. Thank you.

        I would also add that at least in the case of Southern Florida and pet snake releases, these have a negligible impact on the environment as has been proven in your linked study. The unfortunate truth (for the released or escaped animal) is that they are ill-equipped due to a life of domestication to survive well in the wild, much less grow populations. This may not be true of other flora or fauna species.

        As for the woman’s death in the original article, many questions spring to mind. It certainly does has suspicious elements to it.

        As for the keeping of venemous snakes (or other such “hobbies”), i personally think it should be strictly licensed but an available option. There is a valid argument to skilled keepers and using the snakes for anti-venin production. As for personal gratification or some perceived “right”, that doesn’t hold much weight for this opinionated bloke.

        – BB

  27. Snakeman Raymond Hoser says:

    Well, the Snake man of snakebusters has been doing world’s deadliest snake shows for years in Melbourne Australia and never been carted to hospital for a bite. Why? Their snake shows are done with surgically devenomized snakes. See and you see it makes sense!

  28. cyradis says:

    Owning snakes should certainly not be illegal overall. My family has owned albino corn snakes and even bred them a few times over the course of 14 years or so, and they are some of the best pets I have ever owned. I’d recommend them for small (but gentle) children without hesitation. They are easy to tame, easy to maintain, and don’t cause allery issues.
    All that said however, and I would certainly restrict ownership of venomous snakes. Venomous snakes are more aggressive than constrictors, and you can’t risk being bitten by one. A corn snake’s bite is barely felt even at old age. A baby viper can kill you.
    I’d go so far as also saying that large (5ft+) constrictors should not be sold to minors. Constrictors are mellow.
    Small to medium size constrictors are ideal pets. Vipers are anything but.

  29. James Billington says:

    This is natural selection at work here. Woman takes in deadly snake. Snake bites woman. Woman dies.

    1. javahh says:

      Totally. Nothing more needs to be said here.

    2. Allyson says:

      Thank you. If you’re stupid enough to have an animal in your home that can kill you, then you should probably be removed from the gene pool.

      Owning venomous snakes should only be illegal due to the animals potentially escaping and harming/killing other people.

  30. tabitha says:

    The issue I have is that she was allowed to keep those snakes. What about the safety of her neighbors and those in her community? If you had kids – or even if you didn’t – would you feel safe living next door to someone with that many snakes – especially poisonous ones? With or without licenses and locks and keys this shouldn’t be allowed. Even zoos can lose track of their snakes, what makes some random woman a reliable caretaker. The people in that community to work on setting up exotic pet laws so no one else gets hurt.

    1. cyn507 says:

      do you really think she asked permission?

    2. EricWI says:

      Anytime something is outlawed, only the outlaws will have it!

      1. Ben says: need to get off your soap box and realize this isn’t a perfect world! People need protected from the few idiots who cannot use common sense! Snakes, especially exotic ones should be outlawed!!!These animals have no positive reason to exist in a human home ifor any reason!! Anything that is a so dangerous and presents such a lethal hazard… to the innocent, helpless and( yes even the stupid) Should be banned! !! Exotic pets have no reason to be in peoples homes! More people have died tragic deaths because of their unnatural presence here in the USA than anyone can dare say was worth the pleasure a few irrisponsible thrill seekers ..insist they get from possessing these creatures!

    3. Elle says:

      She was keeping them illegally, without permit.

  31. Kate says:

    Seems to me all these remarks about an escaped or mishandled snake may be much ado about nothing. This could have been a suicide made to look like an accident. Neighbors said she was very unhappy, maybe she decided to take the snake out and free hand it and let the chips fall where they may. Russian roulette with a snake…..

  32. THE REAL DEAL says:


  33. alex says:

    There’s a reason why you don’t have somethings as pets and why do you need 52 snakes…so you can say, I have one, stupid chick got just what she had coming. People need to get over the ’cause I can have it’ attitude.

  34. Rodin says:


    This means I don’t give a cr@p about this but I want to cancel other threads.

  35. Sadie says:

    there has to be some sort of law protecting both any animal and any human being………poison snakes, please keep them out of the picture!! kinda stupid dont you think? like asking for it!!!

  36. norml says:

    To lose your life for doing something selfish, insensitive and incredibly stupid, makes no sense to me. What do you do with a snake? just watch it slither around the matchbox of home you gave it. and you wonder why as soon as these animals get a chance they attack.

    1. EricWI says:

      Many people choose to keep venomous reptiles, as well as other reptiles (or many other species of animals) for that matter, for their innate beauty and as a means of better understanding and mastering their captive husbandry, natural history, research into venom properties and composition, among many other reasons. When keeping such animals, a unique sense of the natural world (something I suspect you might be lacking) can often be had, particularly when traveling to these animal’s native home ranges is not a feasible option.

      For better or for worse, however, I have not come to expect ignorant, closed minded and insensitive ignoramuses such as yourself to understand such fascinations. But that’s okay, as I probably have perceptions of your activities that I may perceive to be “incredibly stupid , and of which make no sense to me”…

      1. KPMc says:

        “A unique sense of the natural world?” There is nothing natural about a snake in glass aquarium. You, like, the others that go overboard with pets and wild animals, are just selfish. You don’t give a care about nature… just your own selfish desires.

      2. EricWI says:

        Those are some pretty far reaching accusations, KPMc. For the record, I support and am involved with not only several herpetological organizations promoting local and state conservation efforts through captive breeding and habitat restoration/preservation, but I am also involved with indigenous species survey and monitoring work as well. Through these efforts over the years, I have found that captive breeding of many rare or imperiled species of reptiles and amphibians acts as an important “safety net” for many of these species whose native habitats and ranges are rapidly being degraded, eliminated, and encorached upon by ever expanding human activities. Captive propagation of many of these species has healthy, well acclimated specimens also reduces the demand, or at the very least, the need, for collecting wild caught specimens, which can thus reduce their overall numbers in the wild. But, I shall ask, what have YOU done to show that you “care about nature? If you have no answer to that, you might then want to practice what you preach, rather than simply sitting at a keyboard typing inane drivel. It would be far more constructive…

        But let me ask you this though. Do you own a dog or a cat? Is owning these animals not “selfish”? Is it not selfish to do anything for one’s own pleasure? That is all a part of the human nature (I suggest reading up on Dawkins if you haven’t already). There is nothing “natural” about those species being kept in the giant, wooden, brick, and concrete box that you call a house either…

        Think about it for once perhaps.

      3. Josh says:

        EricWI — here and in your followup comment you raise fair points. As a herpetologic hobbyist and trained ecologist, however, I believe that introducing dangerous reptiles (or any plant or animal) into suburbia where they may come into contact with untrained people is a risk to society. Despite our desire to create a genetic safety net by keeping at-risk animals in an aquarium sanctuary, that’s not the right place for the safety net. It is only a very small fraction of hobbyists who have the skills, or scientific background, to submit usable research data on the organism. The safety net would be far better at a professional facility (maintained either by a zoo, university or a hobbyist organization — or some cooperative combination thereof). That would allow anyone to appreciate the natural world, ensure that proper precautions are taken, and that research can continue.

        One of the seldom spoken downsides of the hobbyist’s desire to help is that by “owning” an at-risk organism (captive or wild bred) they are creating a demand for it in the marketplace. And that demand drives poaching, putting the wild populations of the organism at risk themselves.

      4. EricWI says:

        You raise some fair points. As far as your perception of introducing animals popularly perceived to be “dangerous” due simply to widely prevalent yet irrational cultural fears or bias into suburbia where they may come into contact with untrained individuals, thus posing a risk to society (which I have discussed largely in previous posts), again consider the fact that dogs can be “dangerous”. Humans can be “dangerous”. I believe it would then be a safe assumption to make that by, using your reasoning, a sizable portion of the general populace residing in such suburban environments would therefore not be professionally trained to properly manage/diffuse situations in which dogs, or their fellow species can be dangerous.

        Do I support and advocate for the species conservation efforts (where they exist) done by zoos, museums, and other public education institutions? Absolutely, and it is nice to think about what they are doing as well as what they CAN do. But the reality is, zoos cannot even begin to successfully propagate, or represent the fullest species, or genetic/bloodline diversity for that matter (nor do most have the facilities, resources, or finances to do so) possible for a given species or even multiple species. That is where, in many cases, private owners and hobbyists enter the picture. Take for example the Crested Gecko, a species that was at one time believed to be extinct in the wild due to habitat reduction, loss and destruction, but yet has been maintained and propagated in steady numbers by hobbyists. Many species of imperiled frogs and toads, as another example, are being successfully maintained by the private sector as well, Bufo periglenes and Dendrobates sp.being among them.

        Sure, working towards preserving a species AND is native range and habitat goes a long way towards providing conservation measures in their fullest context. That, I fear however, may be being overly idealistic (at least in many areas of the world), and I must question the wisdom of placing all of one’s eggs into any one basket. But I’ll ask, at the end of the day, when any given species is facing critical habitat loss, and such populations in the wild are dwindling or teetering on the brink of extinction, would you rather see and experience the often heightened sensory stimuli experienced by by many in association with being able to witness and learn about, first hand, live examples of said species, or would you rather simply prefer to see them as a photograph in the history textbooks?

      5. Sue says:

        Totally agree with KPMc. Most sane people would.

      6. EricWI says:

        I sure would hope that “most sane people” would utilize minimal amounts of sound, logical reasoning, objectivity, and fact unlike Sue and much of the emotional drivel I’ve seen posted here thus far.

        Perhaps I have been proven incorecct…

  37. Medussa says:

    I have strong doubts that most people who have poisonous snakes really know how to handle them. There are hundreds of perfectly beautiful snakes without taking ones life in ones hand, or endangering others if the snake escapes. Your rights end where my nose begins!

    1. EricWI says:

      I am certain that II can safely estimate that there are at least several thousand individuals in the U.S. alone that properly keep venomous reptiles and follow strict husbandry and handling protocols regarding them without incident. I would like to know what you base these “strong doubts” on Medussa?

      And no snake is “poisonous” by the way…

      1. Whitd2288 says:

        No, you’re right, no snake is ‘poisonous’, some are ‘venomous’, but go to and the first entry says the definition means poisonous….so I believe it is safe to assume that some snakes, are in fact, poisonous.
        Not only with the pad lock being unlocked did she put herself in danger, but if that snake had escaped the home it was in, she would have put many others in danger by it getting out. These kinds of reptiles are illegal for a reason….

      2. EricWI says:

        I do not consider’s definition to be an accurate, nor biologically literate one. In a proper biological and medicinal sense, any way.

        One only needs to examine the biological mechanisms (and functions thereof)of organisms which are “venomous” vs. those that are “poisonous” to see this; venoms are typically injected subcutaneously through a bite or sting, while “poisons” in this sense, are typivally defined and regarded with acceptance among the scientific community as “toxins” or “substances” that are either absorbed through the epithelial layer or through ingestion of said organism…

    2. BobOblak says:

      Everybodys rights end where my property line begins.

      1. EricWI says:

        Is there even such thing as privacy rights anymore?

    3. Sue says:

      If the venom is poisonous, the snake is poisonous. Duh!

      1. EricWI says:

        Read my previous posting there Sue, Duh!

      2. BB says:

        Nice win, Sue.

        EricWI’s point was/is superfluous to the argument and could be construed in a number of ways. I take it as naive (see below). Colloquially and semantically you are correct.

        You have also made a clear case for yourself. Obviously there is no need to be precise — why bother? Why take the time to learn when one can “win” with lazy semantics and a robust “duh”?

        OR, maybe, you could take the time to become informed on the subject matter and contribute to it. You might be right at te core of your argument. You might even change minds.

        Your choice.

        – BB

  38. Uncle Ruckus says:

    Am I the only one that thinks it’s comical? Thankfully the snake didn’t get out and harm anyone in the community. Yes we live in the land of the free…this yet it won’t allow me to have a simple plant in my backyard, marijuana. Yet I can plant castor beans…well certain kinds. Non indigenous poisonous snakes shouldn’t be allowed, and poisonous snakes that are allowed should be heavily regulated and contain a transmitter chip. And for those who say you don’t expect us to understand and take offense…I’m far from typical human and I do things that are considered foolish to many. But I am reasonable and open minded enough to concur it’s foolish or irrational but I do it for enjoyment. I think owning poisonous snakes fits into that category. You enjoy it, but it’s foolish and irrational in a reasonable world.

  39. J FRANKLIN says:


  40. iggy says:

    foul play? she owned a black mamba. trying to compare dying in a car accident and getting bitten by a poisonous snake is really on the mark. what a bunch of republicans

    1. Starbuck says:

      You’re an imbecile.

  41. Bob says:

    This is the land of the free. If my neighbor can have a house full of guns, a car capable of going 150 mph, going sky diving or mountain climbing etc. Then I should be able to own venomous snakes. I agree that some regulations are a good thing, but outlawing venomous snakes will just drive the people who love it underground. This is a very unfortunate event, but how many people died today in car accidents and cars are still legal.

    1. Andrew says:

      Yeah but your car or gun can`t escape and crawl over to my house and kill one of my kids. SHEESH what a dummy

      1. EricWI says:

        No, a snake may not be inanimate as is a gun or automobile, but then again, that doesn’t really matter. There has never been a substantiated account to have historically occurred of any escaped reptile injuring or causing fatalities to children off of or outside of the property or facility in which the animal is being maintained. Almost every incident to have occurred implicating an exotic reptile resulted in either the owner themselves or someone else who voluntarily chose to accept whatever risks there may have been in keeping, handling, or interacting with that animal. And let me elaborate why this is all so…
        As was previously posted, there are an average of approximately 30 dog related fatalities that occur every year, with an additional 5 million unprovoked dog bites that require some form of medical treatment or attention. Dog bites and attacks are usually either predatory or, as was again previously pointed out, territorial in nature, thus explaining why they often occur unprovoked. Unlike dogs, almost all (if not all) bites are defensive in nature. The vast majority of snakes, including venomous ones, do not actively maintain or defend specific territories in the same manner as higher canids do, nor do most snakes, including all venomous species, attain sizes or propensities large enough to be capable of ingesting a human being. I take it you are unfamiliar with “occupational risks”?

        To me, it sounds as if you are simply another one of the many fearful uninformed, as your sentiments are clearly not based in any real, proven fact or reality.

      2. Kevin says:

        But a Bulldog can or a pet rat can if it doesn’t know better from it’s owner and the kid scares or gets it upset.

  42. truebluegreene says:

    I’m all for the rights of individuals to own pets as long as they are humanely treated and provided for. However, living in Florida, where there are generations of escaped or released exotic snakes, I think they should be STRICTLY regulated and a moratorium placed on imports. The Florida DEC estimates that over the last two decades there are a minimum of 10,000, as many as 100,000 exotics which have invaded natural habitat and decimated populations of native animals, especially birds. The right to own animals should not over rule what’s best for the environment…. so you snakecharmers, be prepared to take it on the chin!

    1. EricWI says:

      If you are specifically referring to the Burmese pythons in south Florida, then scientific study after scientific study has been done on the Everglades pythons proving what anyone even remotely knowledgeable in the biology and captive husbandry/propagation of pythons have already long known-that these animals cannot inhabit the southern third of the U.S, or even the cooler temperatures and cold spells Florida has experienced over the last several years. For example, all snakes in the Dorcas study conducted in SC died even when provided artificial refugia. Another study by Mazzotti proved that nine out of ten telemetered pythons perished in the cold. A panel of 11 independent and well respected scientists have widely criticized such proposal as being “unscientific” and “unsuitable as the basis for legislative or regulatory policy”.

      The state of Florida has has already addressed the issue in which you cite, which has thus far remained a relatively localized problem in southern Florida by recently amending their laws and regulations pertaining to the ownership and possession of Reptiles of Concern (ROCs) as of 2010.

  43. Gary E. says:

    I have owned snakes all my life. It is a passion, and it does not mean someone is a nut. I’m sure some of you like things that I would not understand. I would never ask for something that you think is normal to be illegal. People die skydiving also. ( I have done that too) No one else got hurt.

  44. jamie says:

    There are very few deaths caused by snakes, but there is a bias against them. The news is filled daily with stories of all types of fatalities that never make people think twice, but if it involves an animal that the general public has no experience with, it becomes a huge deal. You might be surprised at the people who have them and just don’t make a big show of it.

    1. tom says:

      That isn’t even true…Their are very few deaths in the US caused by venomous snakes….But that is NOT true for other places in the world…Their are over 20,000 deaths a YEAR alone in India…and tens of thousands throughout Asia and Africa.

      So please get your facts straight

  45. Val says:

    I don’t understand why anyone would WANT to own a venomous snake to begin with!? And she has 75 snakes! Crazy, in my opinion.

    1. Jamie says:

      And no one would expect you to keep a snake. There are many hobbies/occupations that are not for everyone; skydiving, body building, woodworking, etc. Please do not belittle someone for their passion just because you do not share it.

  46. AnNYCat5 says:

    It should be illegal to own anything except a cat or a dog. If you want to see exotic wild animals then go to a zoo, or ride the New York City subways. 2 words if you think you want a wild animal: Charla Nash. Wild animals belong behind bars. Both the animal and human variety.

    1. EricWI says:

      Even our cats and dogs today were at one point in history “exotic wild animals”…

      1. Wastrel says:

        You’re trying, but it’s too late. Too many peoole have already been indoctrinated into the belief that the way to solve a problem of any kind is to make something illegal. They’ve learned this no doubt from the War on Drugs, which has stopped drug abuse, and the law that makes murder a felony. We haven’t seen a murder since that went into effect.

        Why do fools think this way? That seems to be the question that remains, since there are already so many criminal laws that it is impossible to live without violating one. Cops joke about how they can get probable cause any time — all they have to to do is follow a car until the driver violates a traffic law, and then they can make a stop and search the car. It’s more than a joke — it’s somewhat true — but it doesn’t matter to a fool, because he thinks it won’t happen to him.

        The government, in its eternal quest for more power, does not want laws to be obeyed. It wants laws to be broken, because it thereby obtains more power
        and can justify more laws by reciting ‘crime statistics’ — never mind that most of the crimes didn’t exist 100 years ago. The best kind of law is one that’s impossible not to break and impossible to enforce — such as a law against talking on the phone while driving. The next best is one that singles out a minority of people who are interested in something or do something as a hobby or a habit — like snake owners, cigarette smokers, and other eccentrics. May you have a good day.

    2. BobOblak says:

      In the US, Approximately thirty people per year are killed by dogs, and around 5 million more sustain bites requiring medical attention, according to the CDC.
      Dog attacks are usually territorial aggression against strangers off of the owners property.
      Wild animal attacks are almost always on the owners property and the attacked person is almost always the owner or some “involved” person. Charla Nash “invited” Travis’ attack by approaching and attempting to capture him. She could have walked away. It was her choice and she suffered the consequences, as did the Mambas owner. Innocent bystanders are almost never endangered by wild animals.
      This week in Wisconsin, there were 4 motorcyclist fatalities-all collisions with the following: tractor, deer, wolf, turkey.
      Based on your reasoning, motorcycling should be illegal. If I choose to keep wild animals and they kill me, that is my choice. I don’t need an ignoramus like you or nanny-state bureaucrats dictating what I keep in my home. And yes, I have about 50 snakes and about 50 other reptiles-lizards, turtles, crocs. I breed them for sale to other hobbyists.

      1. Brooklyn McDirtyshoes says:

        You spelled “nutjobs” wrong at the end.

    3. Jamie says:

      There is a difference between going to an art gallery and painting something yourself. To appreciate something is to know it.

    4. spiffy says:

      How ignorat!

  47. nyc says:

    What type of person wants to have snakes as pets ? I only know one person who has pet snakes and they are really out there.

    1. Dan from Ohio says:

      That’s a sweeping generalization about people who enjoy owning reptiles that you should not make. There are plenty of people who enjoy caring for snakes who are “normal” people (depending upon your definition of normal, of course).

  48. EricWI says:

    Keeping venomous reptiles in the state of New York is already against the law, so the question posed here is really a moot point.

  49. MikeC says:

    Venonmous snakes should not be kept in homes as pets as unfortunatly this poor woman had to learn the hard way. It should be illegal.

  50. Owning snakes should not be illegal
    Owning venomous snakes should be put under stricter regulations. There should be a reason to a venomous snake .

Leave a Reply to Jason Cancel reply