Snakes, spiders and other dangerous pets

Who hasn’t heard media reports of poisonous snakes of unknown origins surfacing in the local area? Dangerous pets represent a particular challenge for some pet owners as fascinating and unique creatures. The animal experts from Maxi Zoo explain whether and how these exotics are dangerous.

Tarantulas are relatively harmless. Their fangs cannot penetrate deep into the skin and their poison has a similar effect to a bee sting in people, as long as they are not allergic to them. The black widow is much more dangerous.

Poison dart frogs are so toxic that their secretions can even kill a person, but only if it enters the bloodstream. It is much more likely is that this comes into contact with the skin and causes irritation. Frogs bred in captivity are not dangerous as they do not produce this poison. Even wild-caught specimens loose their toxicity after a few months in a terrarium, as they absorb and store this from their prey in the wild.

Venomous snakes usually paralyse or poison the somatic cells of their prey with their venom. Depending on the toxicity of the snake, a bite can cause paralysis, breathing difficulties, swelling, pain, motor impairment or abnormal blood clotting and bleeding in humans. Call a doctor immediately if you have been bitten by a snake, regardless of whether they are considered venomous or not. In some areas, snake lovers can take courses to learn how to handle venomous snakes properly.

Aquarium owners are often captivated by poisonous fish such as the lionfish or rays. Both only use their poison if they feel threatened, which is certainly possible if they are handled or when the tank is being cleaned. The poison of the lionfish causes pain and discomfort but is not fatal, in comparison to the sting of a ray, which can be very dangerous.


Endangered wild animals come under the Washington Species Protection Agreement. Owners must fulfil certain requirements, if it is permitted to import and keep these at all. Regulations for keeping dangerous pets vary from county to county. You may be required to register your pet, and you usually have to provide proof of competence and information on keeping conditions. For more information, ask your relevant local authority.
Call into your local store today to discuss your reptile’s personal needs with our Maxi Zoo Pet Experts.