Snakes Need Space! PETA Demands That Naples-Area Reptile Factory Stop Warehousing Animals in Tiny Plastic Tubs


For Immediate Release:
March 27, 2024

Contact:
Sara Groves 202-483-7382

Norfolk, Va. – After learning that locally based reptile factory Reptile Industries Inc.—which supplies animals to retail pet stores—keeps numerous snakes in small, barren plastic tubs without room to even extend their bodies to full length, PETA fired off a letter today to owners Mark and Kimberly Bell calling on them to move the snakes at their facility into enclosures that would allow them to stretch out and move around freely.

Tiny plastic tubs house thousands of snakes and other animals at Reptile Industries. Credit: Fishbowl

A large, emaciated snake is kept in a small tub at a breeding operation.

A large, emaciated snake is kept in a small tub at a breeding operation. Credit: PETA

Numerous peer-reviewed studies make it clear that to be psychologically and physically healthy, snakes held in captivity must be able to fully stretch out their bodies and that snakes who can’t stretch out feel stressed and experience various health problems, including injuries, joint disease, constipation, and obesity.

“At this miserable reptile mill, countless snakes are warehoused in tiny plastic tubs where they can’t stretch out, explore, or engage in any other natural behavior,” says PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “Reptiles suffer in these conditions just like dogs in puppy mills do, and PETA urges people never to buy any animal from a pet store or breeder.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—points out that Every Animal Is Someone and offers free Empathy Kits for people who need a lesson in kindness. For more information, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on X, Facebook, or Instagram.

PETA’s letter to the Bells follows.

March 27, 2024

Mark S. Bell, President
Kimberly D. Bell, Vice President
Reptile Industries Inc.

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Bell:

I’m writing about the countless snakes confined to your self-professed “state-of-the-art” breeding warehouse. Will you commit to improving conditions for these animals?

A brief video tour of your compound and a promotional video featuring it show plastic tubs reaching from the floor to the ceiling in aisle after aisle and room after room of animals. The latter video shows snakes crammed into these tiny tubs. These animals appear much longer than the tubs and evidently can’t even extend their bodies to full length.

PETA investigations have found that snakes used for breeding spend their entire lives in tubs like this, severely confined like dogs at puppy mills. Such intense confinement causes any animal to suffer and has been implicated in abnormal behavior as well as more than 20 diseases found in snakes kept this way.

It’s widely acknowledged among experts—and has been for years—that habitats that allow snakes to stretch and move around are crucial to their physical and behavioral needs. A 2019 study of 65 snakes found that many of them assumed fully stretched-out postures within just an hour of observation during the daytime. A 2021 study found that “recommendations [of] enclosure sizes shorter than the snakes were based entirely on decades-old ‘rule of thumb’ practices that were unsupported by scientific evidence” and that “[r]ectilinear behavior is normal, distinct, and common across snake species, and … fundamental to snake health and welfare.”

Even the care sheet produced by your industry’s lobbying group states that snake enclosures “should provide [the animal with] sufficient space to stretch out and move freely.” Stretching out fully and moving in a straight line are essential to snakes’ well-being. Accordingly, PETA looks forward to your prompt confirmation that your lucrative company—which claims to be “an industry leader in reptile … care”—will give this basic opportunity to the snakes you breed and ship. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Daniel Paden
Vice President of Evidence Analysis
Cruelty Investigations Department





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