A large number of snakes are kept as pets in Western societies. Few studies have been undertaken to assess keeping practices of snakes by private owners in Australia. Therefore, there is concern that some owners may not understand even basic husbandry requirements. The aim of this preliminary study was to identify the most common practices used by snake owners in Victoria, Australia.
An online survey asked 251 snake owners to describe ways in which they attempt to meet their snake's environmental, behavioural, dietary, social and health needs.
Fewer than half of participants had an enclosure large enough for the snake to fully stretch out, and just over half had an enclosure large enough to meet the requirements in the Victorian Code of Practice. Only 60 per cent of owners correctly identified their snake's activity patterns based on information about wild snakes of the same species.
Educational campaigns may help improve outcomes for snakes in the future, but more research is needed about captive snake husbandry, to provide an evidence base for informing snake management recommendations.