I read with some dismay the recent article on the “disposal” of some unusual reptiles. While Karrie Herring no doubt understood the law (which is a bit draconian) that forbids the keeping of exotic species, her assertions relative to these “pets” were right on. These snakes, when cared for properly, pose no more of a threat to people or the environment than any other animal.

As a former teacher from a private Massachusetts boarding school before retiring to Maine, I regularly kept boas and ball pythons in my classroom, and even took these around to public school elementary classrooms. Julius Squeezer and Arty-choke were well-received and helped alleviate many phobias and fears associated with snakes.

Incidentally, during the summer months, these same “pets” would accompany me to Readfield where they regularly visited a children’s camp of over 200 youngsters where I worked as a counselor. They experienced feedings and were able to handle the reptiles at proper times gaining an appreciation for the sometimes much-maligned species.

The real crime was that these misunderstood animals were “disposed of” without the possibility of an out-of-state donation to a zoo or the science department of a college, university or private school where there was no ban. Shame on state wildlife authorities!

Despite serpents’ “bad guy” image throughout the ancient lore of many cultures, large snakes are beautiful and gentle creatures. They are clean, quiet, and if handled properly can be a fascination for younger people and certainly not objects of fear and loathing.

Jack Jones