A two-year old girl was strangled by a twelve foot python in her home. The parents of the two-year-old were home at the time, but under as yet to be discovered circumstances, the child was left alone with the snake.
Pythons have undergone rapid population growth in Florida, a place in which the snakes are not native. Snake owners have released pythons into the wild in Florida when they can and will no longer take care of them. There have been many incidents of pets having been killed and eaten by pythons.
Snakes are not pet material. They cannot love their owner. They do not have the brain or reasoning capability to feel empathy or much of anything else. They react to hunger and threat. To a python the two-year-old was a potential meal–nothing more or less. The next door neighbor’s small dog, cats, and small children I am not ophidiophobic, as the phobia about snakes is called, and I have touched and petted an enormous burmese python. However, at the time I did so, two snake experts had control of the snake.
There is no excuse for having a child and a snake big enough to eat them in the same place. Snakes capable of killing people should not be kept as pets, they need expert handlers. I almost always come down of the side of less government regulation, but I believe that exotic, non-native, dangerous animals should not be allowed in neighborhoods with small children.
There is no word yet on whether the parents will be charged with negligence, or whether they have other children in the home.