LEVEL 4: Simply too dangerous for 99% of us


What the Reticulated Python is to pythons, the Anaconda is to the boas. Gerald Durrell relates how on one of his collecting trips he found that even in the wild these snakes would occasionally rear out of the river and tear at the shirts on his men's backs. Now try to imagine a 30-ft Anaconda in your house. Furthermore, in addition to the normal demands of a giant snake, Anacondas need a body of water to soak in, as they are river-dwelling creatures.

Most vipers

While there are some vipers whose bite is not fatal, most can put a human adult into hospital, if not the morgue. Even if you survive relatively unharmed, viper venom can leave a lot of scarred and damaged tissue around the bite area that looks as if someone has taken a blowtorch to your arm. Keeping venomous snakes in the UK requires a special licence from the local authority, who will send an environmental health officer around to check that your cage really is secure for its intended inhabitant. Unless you really are a snake specialist with plenty of experience, pass these by.


The various cobras are the most glamorous of the snakes in most people's minds, but also unfortunately the most dangerous when all things are considered. While they are not the most venomous snake in the world, they can grow to large sizes (18 ft in the case of the King Cobra), and are also highly intelligent. Diet can also be a problem, as the King Cobra at least tends to prey on other snakes. As a writer once said, if you really are keen on cobras, donate some money to the cobra cage at the zoo instead.

The same really applies also to most members of the cobras' family, the Elapidae: not all fatal, but most are dangerous and some are deadly. Included in

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