This was an early interview someone did on me when I was just starting my site but most of it still holds true today. I have updated a couple things as of course beliefs can change over 15 years but it has been my journey in.
Q- I was just looking at one of your photos while I was waiting for you and after about ten minutes I finally notice this huge snake. Are you afraid it's going to squeeze you?†
A- Not at all.†
Q- Can I squeeze you?†
A- That could be fun! But really, these animals don't squeeze for fun. Snakes tend not to constrict things unless they are planning to eat it. But many times people mistake their holding on action as aggression. Think about it, you weigh 80 pounds and your wrapped around someone's neck you have to hold on tight to hold up yout 80 pounds.†
Q- Have you ever been bitten?†
A- In my early years yes, a couple of times. But not recently and nothing serious. One time when Steve (my husband, not one of my boyfriends) was feeding a snake in a box and I didn't know it. He sprung up and bit me on my butt. I jumped so high I didn't even know what happened Steve just laughed, the jerk. It scared me more than it hurt because I didn't know what hit me.
Q- Can I bite your butt?†
A- Hmmm, I never heard that before.†
Q- I understand you have about 40 exotic animals in your care. That's a lot of pets to have don't you think?† A- Yes, it is quite a handful. It's just so hard to say no. It's heartbreaking and shocking to see the sad state some of these animals are in. I think people can be unintentionally neglectful to reptiles because they don't whine and cry when they are in pain. If they could only talk.†
Q- Do you keep every animal you get?†
A- I wish I could afford to as good homes for these rescued reptiles just donít come around very often. I cannot keep every single animal I rescue so I'll adopt them back out after they are healthy again. And I'm very picky whom they go to but sadly, good homes just don't come around very often.
Q- I take it some must die?†
A- Yes, reptiles can hide illness very well so by the time they get to a vet or me they are too far-gone to do anything for. Unfortunately many of the neglected animals do not make it. It's very sad, but I love animals and hate to see them suffer so I try my best.†
Q- I know someone that used to...†
A- Stop right there...this is what I mean. I bet 90% of people that have purchased a reptile in the last year or two do not own it anymore or it died. I hope I'm wrong but you would not believe how often I hear "I used to, I used to..." Doesn't anyone ever keep their animals? This makes me so angry. A snake can be a 25-year commitment. Do not buy one unless you're prepared to care for it.†
Q- Do snakes make good pets?†
A- I didnít always feel this way but I wish snakes were not allowed as pets. I support any law that makes ownership of these amazing animals illegal. This may sound hypocritical because I have them but let me explain. I start with the belief that if you love animals you wonít kill animals for your pleasure. Therefore, if you love animals why would you get a pet that requires the death of hundreds of other animals to keep that one single animal alive? I consider that hypocritical. Most sanctuaries, rescues, and shelters are all against breeding but try to take care of what already exists. I see what I do as more of a situation like a sanctuary. For example, a big cat or elephant rescue still allows people to come and visit the tigers and lions, even charges a fee to do that but they do not make the animals do tricks, they do not force them into performing unnatural behaviors like at a circus. They care for what they have but they donít breed, train, or sell them or promote them as pets. Like me, a true sanctuary does not promote tigers as pets but they will utilize the rescues they have to care for the rescues that are in need. So that is my model for my rescue work. I rescue reptiles. Some never go on to do shows, others are healthy and able to get me attention so that I can tell people the dark side of snake ownership. They are not ďBadĒ pets because they are troublesome or evil or anything like that. I base my opinion on the ideal that I hold compassion for all animals, including rodents as a priority over my personal pleasure in ownership of a carnivorous pet. I am pleased that through both my family friendly shows and my adult displays I can communicate this and dissuade ownership of carnivorous pets.
As for my snakes, every snake I have is a rescue. I am dealing with a bad situation. I am not breeding them or buying them. I am only caring for the snakes that exist and that are in need. Most arrive at my facility in terrible health due to improper caging, diets or just general lack of basics because some people are idiots. They get a pet and rarely read up on the requirements of their care. Then they dump them when they get bored or canít afford the medical treatments or a host of other selfish reasons. This leaves a living, breathing sentient life in jeopardy. The snake was bred into being for human pleasure and is now unwanted and in need. I canít help them all but I can help a few. I question this myself but I donít know what else to do with all these rescues! Should I euthanize them? Should I just turn my back and not do any rescue work? I wish I knew what was best. Itís not the snakes fault that it is a carnivore. It is also not the snakes fault it even exists. If captive bread it exists solely for human pleasure and is now in need. So in dealing with a bad situation I made a decision to help snakes in need but I will not add more to the problem by breeding or promoting them as pets. Itís just not a compassionate pet to have. Every one of these snakes bred is a death sentence to hundreds of other animals. I know it is natural for snakes to eat animals. In the wild this happens everyday and if thatís what God wants who am I to disagree but really, is a glass, temperature controlled cage in your house the ďWildĒ? If you have a pet snake it is obviously for your personal pleasure and that pleasure requires the death of many animals that only want to live. I love snakes, I am passionate about their well being but I put the needs of ALL animals before my pleasure. I would gladly give them all up if it was made illegal.†
Iíd also like to address how I feed my snakes. Basically, no additional rodents are killed than the snakes would kill if it was a wild snake living in its natural habitat. I talk about this more on my reptile care pages on this site and my family friendly website about the benefits of frozen/thawed rodents. Please take a moment and read that if you care to understand how you can eliminate some measure of needless suffering to the animals they eat. The bottom line is I am trying to make the best of a bad situation and I really do not have a better answer. If you have one, please, let me know but I have said it before, snakes are not a compassionate pet to own and I am an animal lover. If I was to promote snakes as pets then that is what would make me a hypocrite. Sorry, I can babble on about this stuff forever. Please think about it before you buy a death sentence to hundreds of rabbits, rats and mice. Let nature be nature but in your home let compassion be your goal. Thanks.†
Q- Are you concerned that children will go to your site for animal information?†
A- I did not design my site for children and my opening page says so. I designed it for people of legal age. That legal age is also the age I believe that adults should be to own such exotic pets although I wish they would not get a carnivorous pet in the first place. But regarding children, reptiles are not good pets for kids and I strongly recommend that you advise your kids to hold off until they are older and then if they really really want one find one to adopt that needs a home. Your teen may soon be going off to college (hopefully) so who will take care of the snake or iguana? The parents who never wanted one in the first place will get stuck. You may have a 20 year commitment and he will be to busy with studies and there is a good chance his dorm will not allow a pet. How about when your kid gets a new boyfriend or girlfriend. Pets often become the parent's leftover nightmare and get neglected. Youth is full of many exciting life changing situations, a reptile is a voiceless ball and chain that will be forgotten too quickly. Remember that when you are buying a reptile for your kids, you the adult parent are responsible.
The Internet is a great information resource but can also be a dangerous place. If you are a parent I encourage you to help protect your kids from having access to adult material and pets they should not have until they are mature enough to handle it responsibly. I have a family friendly website as well at www.reptilerescue.com.
Q- You are just using animals to make money.†
A- I guess Iíll start my answer with sharing that any money I actually make with the animals is nice but only brings in a fraction of what it takes to care for all the rescue efforts. The majority of my shows with animals are educational school shows, kids birthday parties and charities. This market does not warrant a high ticket price so income from just mainstream animal jobs does not come close to supporting their needs. Thankfully I†have perky tits and guys like to see them but I don't make any extra money off animals. These photos and my adult website do not bring in enough income to cover their needs. It is my other successful businesses that bring in money to take care of these critters and support my lifestyle.
I would be financially much better off to dump the snakes completely but I love these animals and will work as much as needed to support them as I would if they were my children. This is a choice and a commitment.
I often turn down work with them when it's too cold or too hot outside, when it puts the snakes in dangerous or questionable situations like when the client wants the snakes for photo ops around hundreds of guests necks, renting my snakes out to visiting snake performers, yadda yadda, you get the idea.†
Q- I am told your are a Vegan but you use animals for entertainment.†Isn't that wrong for vegans?
A- I have a hard time with that word "Vegan." If you want to be Nit-Picky no one can be 100% Vegan otherwise we would not even drive a car. I like to say I live as cruelty free a lifestyle as I can. That said, there are different kinds of vegans. Some call themselves vegan even though I would just say they eat a plant-based diet since they still wear leather. They just eat for health and don't really care about animal welfare. Some eat honey, I do not. Some wonít eat their veggies if cooked on the same grill as meat. Other vegans believe it is wrong to even have any pet, even dogs and cats.(I am starting to lean in that direction myself.) I also know vegans that will not fuck another person unless they are vegan. I am not that either. For easy conversation here I will use the term vegan but I would prefer people just understand that I do my best to not wear or eat anything that is produced from animal abuse. My goal is the least harm possible, simple. As for the entertainment part Iíd like us to understand what makes something abusive to an animal and I feel the need to define animal abuse. I don't like this analogy but it's all I can come up with for now to explain how I feel and my current situation.† I hear people say they treat their pets like their children. Well, so do I, and if I had kids I would have no problem having them help with chores around the house. Iíd have them mow the lawn or help with the dishes, etc. An hourís work once or twice a week is not abusive to our children and I apply that to my pets too. A snake being held in my arms at an educational school show for 10 minutes or crawling on my boobs for a photo is not abusive or painful in any way. They just slither around as if they are on a tree. They are doing their natural movements, not tricks. If a snake is hissy or shows any signs of agitation I just put him away and pick up a another one. For all I know he has a tummy ache and that is their only way to communicate it. Not at all like the daily torment lions, tigers and elephants go through for training at circuses or magic shows nor are they stuck in small transport cages every day of their miserable lives. I have so many rescued snakes now that when it comes to actual work time each snake only works less than 30 minutes once or maybe twice a month. I wish it was not at all. If I didnít see actual help for reptiles come from this I would stop it†instantly but† yes, it is un-vegan.†I try to live as cruelty free a life as possible and I don't feel a snake crawling on me is cruel. If anything it is great to let them get out of their cage confinement since snakes are hard wired and have a much harder time with confinement then soft wired animals.
Q- In an earlier question you stated you are a Christian and also a Vegan. Doesn't the bible allow you to eat animals?†
A- This is another that could go on for pages. I am not a bible scholar and I can only share thoughts based on my limited knowledge. Thankfully, that is all God expects of us. I will try to do a more in-depth video on my youtube page(https://www.youtube.com/SnakeBabe)† later but for you readers here goes. For whatever reason God let animals eat other animals I begrudgingly accept it as the way it is for now in this current dispensation of Gods grace.† Now I see myself in some way equal to animals because God said he created them as our counterpart. Not slaves, not food, but counterpart. So if I am a counterpart or equal and they can eat each other then it would seem permissible to eat them during this sin filled dispensation we currently live in. If I were food to a cow it would eat me without a moments hesitation. So it may be ok to eat animals but as a Christian I ask myself is it really right? The pain, the death, harm to the environment and the damage to my own health. Even factor in how it is causing the starvation of kids in other countries just so people can eat meat. (80% of grains produced feeds livestock! Imagine if that were for people, we could end world hunger.) How selfish. Just because God allows things does not mean itís good (1 Corinthians 10:23) Itís just not worth the costs. So yes, itís not a sin for animals to eat each other and if we are equal then we can too. It may† sound as if I am approving of humans eating animals† but stay with me here, I do see something God did in humans that is obvious and totally sets us apart from animals. Our intelligence. Now we can easily use our human intelligence to get our food by killing animals or we can do as Jesus instructed us to do over and over in the bible and that is live a life of compassion. We can use the gift of superior intelligence and eat with compassion rather than exploitation. It may not be wrong to eat animals but it is absolutely right to show mercy to the defenseless. To show love to creatures of lesser intelligence. There is nothing compassionate about factory farming. Yes, Jesus ate a fish. it was first century Palestine and there were not grocery stores on every corner of the city. A net was cast in the water and a fish that lived a natural life, exercising its natural behaviors in its natural habitat suffocated. Compare that to years of pain pigs and cows experience in a factory farm (http://meatvideo.com/) so humans can eat a hamburger. So I stand out a bit alone amongst my vegan brothers and sisters on how I got to veganism but our end-goal is the same. To stop the needless suffering of animals.
We do not have to eat animals. Everything, yes EVERYTHING the human body needs to survive is available in plants. More christian reasons to go vegan are† look at the destruction we are doing to Godís creation and other† harm to other people for meat production. American could end world hunger if we all went vegan. The majority of grain grown in the world is used to feed livestock. It takes an average of 12 lbs of grain and over 2,500 gallons of water to add one pound of steak to a cow. The grain and water used for that 1 steak dinner could feed a lot of hungry humans.†
To me it is also obvious that eating animals is not Gods original plan from the beginning. In Genesis 1:28 God gave man dominion over the animals and in the very next verse God said that humans and animals were to eat plants only. To me it seems pretty obvious to conclude dominion does NOT include eating animals. In the perfect Garden of Eden Godís original plan for man was being in charge and being vegan. Then sin entered the world via Adamís disobedience and God killed an animal. What a shock that death must have been at that time. Can you imagine the horror Adam and Eve experienced seeing an animal die and seeing blood for the first time? The pain, suffering, screams of the animal. Horrible, Iím sure. My guess is God had to give an example on just how terrible sin is and why to avoid it. That would have worked for me. I would wish there was a more compassionate way to illustrate this to Adam and Eve but God used this. I plan on yelling at God about it but I am sure by the time I see God I will understand he chose such a horrible example because there is no alternative.†
Now letís move forward to the Kingdom age/end of the world and God is in rule over all. During this time Isaiah says we will all eat vegetation only, even carnivorous animals. So to tie this all up, in the perfect beginning we are vegan and in the end kingdom of God we are vegan. I can conclude that in Godís eyes while sin has it hold on the world he allows such a horrible activity but in his perfect realms (Eden & the Kingdom) being vegan seems to be his desire. So a part of my veganism is based on being Christian.
Many vegans that I have chatted with are atheist and ask with all the animal cruelty in the bible how can I be a Christian and vegan? Well, atheists that are vegan confuse me as much as I confuse them. Atheism does not argue that it is wrong for a snake to eat a rabbit, it is simply the path that evolution has brought the snake. There is no right or wrong, only chance. So logically, if human superior intelligence is left to survival of the fittest or ďchanceĒ point of view we should be able to use human superior intelligence to kill, rape and all sorts of other activities towards animals because there are no evils, only chance.† I have read arguments from Sam Harris and the new atheists about morals, what is right and what is wrong. I come out of it seeing contraction in their viewpoints that makes me reject the belief of Atheism and further strengthens me as a Christian. It just seems that if evolution were true then on what grounds does the atheist determine something is ďwrongĒ? If I evolved to a point where my superior intelligence can have me kill another sentient creature simply because I want to, then canít I rape another human or just kill a human for fun? Animals do to other animals! Itís just survival of the fittest and I outsmarted them so I can if I choose, right? How can an atheist say its wrong? Maybe the rapist or mass murderer just evolved to a level superior to some other humans and like the snake with the rabbit they can do as they wish with other humans or animals, correct? Or maybe eat my child as a lion may eat its own cub? Of course everyone reading this sees rape, murder, enslavement, cannibalism as wrong. To me that is the strongest evidence that there is a God and he has his ďMoralsĒ written in our genetic code and we accept these things as wrong in any instance. So to me hurting any living thing for your own pleasure is immoral and wrong. I need to be a Christian to believe that being vegan is right. I am not saying that the unbeliever canít do good things, they can and often do but by what authority do they define what is good if we are all chance. If the wind of evolution was blowing in a different direction millions of years ago maybe we all would be killing and thinking it's good. You see, I need to be Christian to know killing for personal pleasure is wrong. I just donít see how an atheist that believes we are all here by chance can say killing is wrong. Without God to define right and wrong then killing for pleasure is just natural for us as it is for a lion or a snake or a spider. Ok, I'll stop now. Any other questions?
Q- Nope, but now my brain hurts.
A- Good, then my job is done.