Click pic to embiggen

Why do people keep an 8 foot python as a pet?

A pet Burmese python measuring more than 8 feet long broke out of a terrarium and strangled a 2-year-old girl in her bedroom Wednesday at a central Florida home, authorities said. Shaiunna Hare was already dead when paramedics arrived at about 10 a.m., Lt. Bobby Caruthers of the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office said.

Charles Jason Darnell, the snake’s owner and the boyfriend of Shaiunna’s mother, discovered the snake missing from its terrarium and went to the girl’s room, where he found it on the girl and bite marks on her head, Caruthers said. Darnell, 32, stabbed the snake until he was able to pry the child away.

Authorities removed the snake from the home Wednesday afternoon after obtaining a search warrant. Once outside the small, tan home, bordered by cow pastures, the snake was placed in a bag then inside a dog crate. The snake was still alive.

Burmese pythons are not native to Florida, but they easily survive in the state and can reach a length of 26 feet and weigh more than 200 pounds.

The Humane Society of the United States said including Wednesday’s death, at least 12 people have been killed in the U.S. by pet pythons since 1980, including five children.

So far no charges have been filed.




  1. Joe Dirt says:

    Actually, the snake was 12 feet long not 8. The owner stated this during the 911 call.

  2. hhopper says:

    “After we ban pythons lets ban swimming pools because they are clearly the cause of drowning.”

    Except that swimming pools don’t creep up at night and strangle you to death.

  3. Thomas says:

    #5
    No dumber than claiming that “Snakes are not pets.” There thousands of people with pet snakes that never have a problem. An eight foot Burmese is excessive IMO but that was their choice. Clearly, this guy did not know what he was doing. There is a reason that large snakes like Burmese require permits.

    #7
    It depends. I wouldn’t have a problem with corn snakes but I wouldn’t allow anything over a yard until the children were older.

    #22
    However, swimming pools do kill substantially more people per year than snakes. Instead of “creeping up at night” they lie in wait for their victims.

  4. Thomas says:

    #22
    I suppose a better analogy would be that we should ban dogs since four times as many people are killed from dog attacks than from non-venomous snake bites.

  5. Two to the Head says:

    If that was his baby it would qualify for a darwin award.

  6. Nately says:

    As a snake owner I am very confident that if someone undergoes all the proper training and education, which is to say, if they know what the hell they are doing, accidents like this would not happen. However, just with the incident in Vegas where a three year old child was wrapped by a (I think it was..) 15′ reticulated python, the owner was seriously negligent of his pet. No constrictor that large should be kept in a home with small children, just as a principle.

    #18 – I guarantee you that this Burmese Python in question was a captive bred animal and has never been outside of a human environment. Not to mention how many large constrictors and venomous snakes would be dumped into the (shrinking) habitats of the world, which would cause some even more serious issues. Like the problem that is currently going on in Florida – some idiot(s) couldn’t care for their growing Burmese, and therefore released it into the wild. Now they are breeding, and proliferating quite well, which is a problem considering they have no natural predators. Then it won’t be children being constricted in the house, it will be in their back yards.

    #24 – Fantastic point. People have asked me why can’t I just buy a dog instead of a snake? Well…

  7. Gary, the dangerous infidel says:

    The pick-up line “Wanna play with my python?” suddenly takes on a much more sinister tone.

  8. thecommodore says:

    Sorry – reptiles just don’t make for good pets. Mankind has been breeding canines and felines for pets for thousands of years, and they were bred to be useful, How useful could a reptile be – chasing mice or cockroaches? Or, maybe pythons make good eating? Anybody know?

  9. Buzz says:

    Nothing wrong with having a snake as a pet. People just don’t realize what a benefit to society these animals truly are. They make you feel macho as hell after a few brewskies and they keep the raccoon, feral cat and yappy little dog populations in check.

    Sure, they take a kid every once in a while, but it’s a small price to pay compared to having your taxes increased.

  10. bajabiz says:

    Darnell, 32, stabbed the snake until he was able to pry the child away
    This guy has no idea the trouble he is in. Waite until PETA gets wind of this

  11. Nimby says:

    # 28 thecommodore said, “…maybe pythons make good eating? Anybody know?”

    Uhm. Not python but I’ve eaten boa. It was pretty good. Yes. Sorta like chicken.

    # 18 Dallas said, “…I can sort of accept a parrot and that’s about it.”

    Had a lovely family living next to me once. Four kids, two parrots. One parrot pecked out the eye of a child. ALL animals CAN be dangerous. Especially to infants.

    Let’s BAN ALL animals in the home! Oh, wait … that might include my current girlfriend…

  12. Thomas says:

    #31
    Let’s not forget the numerous tales of people losing their fingers to mccaws.

  13. sargasso says:

    #31. and other appendages. But, yes, unbearably sad news. What could they all be going through at this time?

  14. Jakethesnake says:

    #26
    Then since there is such a problem with these snakes..The boot business will be a viable trade I presume in the future

  15. deowll says:

    You can make a pet of anything. The issue with snakes is they don’t bond with the owner. At best they become habituated to you. They are eating machines and at this size they can kill you and young children are the same size as their normal food.

    That being the case it is neither reasonable nor prudent to keep a large one as a pet and if you add a small child into the picture you add criminal negligence to the picture.

    A gopher snake or something like that would have been different.

    Next point, these things aren’t that common but they still make decent numbers on attacking owners and others.

    A small snake seems like a reasonable pet as long as you get something that will stay small enough to be safe.

    The my dog doesn’t bite is a lie also but you get the problems you ask for.

    I’m feeding one cat and that’s it. The main risk with it seems to be stepping on or tripping over it.

    The mother gets a Darwin award.

  16. fiene2005 says:

    My condolences to the family. Yes, a tragedy, but we must put this in the proper perspective. It was an accident, and it is very uncommon when you compare how many family dogs have killed, or disfigured children. Any pet can pose a danger to an infant.

    Stop judging that family.

  17. tim says:

    we must ban the breeding, importation and sale of all non-native species. what is taking our moron leaders soo long to deal with this problem!