Monday, 23 September 2019

Vivaristics flourishes in Czechia with snakes as popular pets

11 July 2018

Plzen, West Bohemia, July 10 (CTK) - Vivaristics is experiencing a boom in the Czech Republic, with snakes being the most popular pets along with other reptiles and spiders, expert Jan Dohnal has told CTK, adding that a rising number of fans view vivaristics as a lifestyle, not merely a hobby.

Dohnal, an expert from the Plzen zoo, said the popularity of vivaristics has been developing in waves, with a giant boom peaking these years.

"In the past, everyone kept fish in an aquarium at home, but now, many people keep an agama dragon, a boa constrictor or a corn snake," Dohnal said.

Even venomous snakes become "trendy" now and then, but this is unfortunate, since fashion trends do not go together with super dangerous animals such as venomous snakes, he said.

A positive aspect is the rising number of young and enthusiastic people who gradually gain professional knowledge and skills. "They do not view vivaristics as a hobby but as their lifestyle, which is important. It is something very positive, since it develops [the society's] knowledge of snakes," Dohnal said.

There are hundreds of snake keepers in the country, where even the Association of venomous snake keepers operates, but has only about 20 members.

"Not everybody wants to have the official breeder status," Dohnal said.

Snake breeding can never be a lucrative business. Almost no one has ever succeeded in getting rich this way. The breeding is demanding in terms of knowhow, electric power and snake feed, and genuine enthusiasts spend money on foreign trips including the observation of snakes in the wild, Dohnal said.

A new trend is the cross-breeding of non-venomous snakes within a single species with the aim to produce new colour mutations. This has been done for profit, it causes the extinction of the original species and therefore experts do not support it, Dohnal said.

He said people's interest in top-quality exhibitions of venomous snakes has been rising in the world, including the Plzen zoo, where the exhibition Kingdom of Poison has been operating for three years now.

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