The Science Is In: Snakes Require Space! State’s Proposed Reptile Regs Fall Far Short of Humane Housing

For Immediate Release:
March 4, 2024

David Perle 202-483-7382

Baton Rouge, La. – This morning, PETA submitted a formal comment about a lack of space necessary to allow reptiles to stretch out to their full length to the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission (LWFC) following the agency’s request for feedback on proposed changes to regulations concerning reptiles and amphibians. PETA supports the LWFC’s work to increase protections for the state’s native wildlife and prevent the introduction of invasive species but, the group argues, the housing requirements for captive snakes are in urgent need of being updated to reflect the scientific consensus that snake enclosures should be at least as long as the snake.

© / Natt Boonyatecha

According to numerous peer-reviewed studies, in order to be mentally and physically healthy, snakes held in captivity must be able to fully stretch out their bodies and snakes who can’t stretch out feel stressed and experience health problems, including injuries, joint disease, constipation, and obesity. The LWFC’s proposed regulation only requires that snakes’ enclosures be three-quarters of the snake’s length on the longest side and a third of their length on the shorter side and in height—an unscientific and inhumane proposition.

“Snakes feel pain, fear, and stress—just as cats, dogs, and humans do—and confining them to cramped enclosures where they can’t even stretch out or express their natural behavior is cruel,” says PETA Foundation General Counsel for Regulatory Affairs Lori Kettler. “PETA urges Louisiana officials to follow the science and at least do the bare minimum for captive snakes by requiring that they be housed in enclosures at least as long as their bodies.”

PETA’s comment supports the LWFC’s proposed revisions prohibiting the release of reptiles and amphibians without a permit and the possession and sale of prohibited and restricted species—including green iguanas and Burmese pythons—who can become invasive and threaten native species. PETA also applauds the proposed move to prohibit “organized events that wantonly or willfully waste native amphibians or reptiles,” including the mass slaughter of snakes at the Lake Providence Snake Rodeo.

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 or follow the group on X, Facebook, or Instagram.

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