Pet rattlesnakes: The pros and cons -

Pet rattlesnakes: The pros and cons

To find out if keeping a rattlesnake in your home is safe we went to Jules Sylvester. Jules is one of the film industry's top snake wranglers. He has worked with over 10,000 of them, including the most aggressive rattlesnake on earth—the Western Diamondback.

Sylvester says, "75% of the snakebites in the US come from this fellow."

Believe it or not, some people keep them as pets. Now you can't buy a snake like this in a pet store. People do catch them in the wild, and it is perfectly legal to do so; however, it might not be the wisest thing to do.

Often rattlesnakes "Rattle their tails and to warn you: Come any closer and I'll kill you. It doesn't take much. Movement sets them off and every time they bite you they inject more venom. The second bite is twice as bad and the third bite is three times as bad. So be very, very careful. It's not a one- time shot," explains Sylvester.

It is possible to de-venomize a snake. A veterinary surgeon will do it, but it will cost around $1,000. The venom of a snake lies in its saliva gland. If you don't remove the entire gland, it will still manufacture venom. And if you do get the entire gland the snake is still dangerous. It doesn't know it hasn't got any venom. The snake still has fangs it has the ability to sink them right through your hand, or in your face, or in your eyeball or anywhere else if you try and hold it. There is no such thing as a tame rattlesnake or a completely safe rattlesnake.

"Now you may have one, I don't recommend it. Keep in mind that it is exceedingly dangerous. I cannot impress this enough that this is very, very dangerous. The western diamondback is the meanest, nastiest snake you will ever come across. I absolutely love him but he is a lousy pet," says Sylvester. 

If a rattlesnake does bite you, get help quickly. Try to stay calm because the faster your heart beats, the faster the venom will spread through your bloodstream.

Copyright 2013 America Now. All rights reserved. 

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