The Only Good Snake is a Dead Snake??? Of Course Not!

Before you think we’ve completely lost it, please read the entire article below:

The Only Good Snake is a Dead Snake

No species of native animal should be the target of extemination.

We hope that you are familiar enough with us by now, to know that we are NOT advocating the slaughter of Pandas! Virtually all people, including SnakeBuddies, love these adorable black and white puffballs. Unfortunately however, there is one animal (the snake) that constantly finds itself as the subject of this thoughtless, barbaric, and ignorant saying. The past indiscretions of mankind have proven that the blanket extermination of any native species, has a far-reaching and devastating impact on our planet.

We are not asking people to love snakes, or to even like them. However, we do want EVERYONE to appreciate the ecological importance and value of these limbless reptiles, enough to lift the death sentence that has been handed down to them from generations of fearful people who may have simply not known any better. If anything truly needs to die, it is the primitive and toxically infectious adage, “The only good snake, is a dead snake.”

Please help us promote awareness, education and the conservation of snakes, before it’s too late. It is time that people know that THE ONLY GOOD SNAKE, IS A LIVE SNAKE!

Educate.  Inspire.  Conserve.


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LEAVE THEM WHERE THEY ARE! Don’t take wild animals home as pets, and don’t release pet animals into the wild.

By David E. Jensen

Rubber Boa

A friend of mine told me of a lady he knows whose young son caught a horned lizard on a family outing and brought it home. Confronted with the reality that it eats ants, the woman no longer wants the lizard, and it’s doubtful that she’ll take the time to drive it back to where it was found. It will either die a slow and miserable death from neglect and starvation, or it will be released into an urban environment where it will be killed by a cat, car, lawnmower, stupid person, or some other inescapable hazard of concentrated human habitation.

We’ve all done it; brought home the lizard, frog or snake we caught at summer camp or the family picnic at the local canyon, pond or park. We were probably just kids, although adults do it too. Our intentions were always good. We’d remove the critter from its rightful environs, take it home, set it up in a bottle or terrarium, give it something to eat (even if we had no idea what it wanted), and give it a dish of water. It would be a novelty, something unique, a little bit of nature brought indoors to cheer us up, something to brag about to our friends. Show and tell time.

And then the inevitable happened. We’d lose interest, or we didn’t know what it ate, or we couldn’t provide its specialized food requirement. Deprived of sunlight, a suitable environment and proper diet, the animal languished and died. We didn’t mean to kill it – but we did – and the poor creature became a victim of our good but misguided intentions. Even turning an animal loose far from where you found it is a death sentence.

Multiply this scenario by the hundreds of thousands of innocent animals that are removed from their natural habitats each year and killed, intentionally or not, and you have exponential carnage on a massive scale, along with entire ecosystems that are out of balance.

The natural world suffers enough from the relentless onslaught of a human invasion. Animals are having a harder time trying to avoid humans and the carnage inflicted by our roads, cars, guns, industrial processes, pollution, habitat destruction, climate change, herbicide and pesticide poisoning, and a general disregard for animals and a natural world that too many people just don’t understand or care about. Many species are already on the brink of extinction, and many thousands more aren’t far behind.

Please, when you find that frog or tadpole, garter snake, baby bird, butterfly or beetle, enjoy it where it is. Teach your children about it. Let them see it in its natural realm. Take its picture. Catch it if you have to, but better yet, try to photograph it “in situ” – in its natural place and pose. Then, leave it there, where it belongs.

Two boys with bugs in a bottle in tree house

Teach your children to enjoy nature up-close, but to set wild creatures free after a brief observation period.

When you get home, you can look it up on the Internet or read about it in a book. If you just can’t help yourself, at least be willing to return it back to where you found it after a reasonable period of captive observation. Then go back and visit it as often as you can. This provides an opportunity to spend time in nature with your children and teaches them to respect the natural world.

Wild animals aren’t available for the taking. Animals are the property of the state in which they reside. Many of them are protected by law and a permit is required to capture or keep them. Some people think it’s okay to catch wild reptiles and sell them. If a moose wandered into your backyard, would it be okay to sell it on the Internet? Of course not! Well, it’s no different with reptiles. The illegal taking of an animal for any reason is known as poaching, and that’s not something you want to be guilty of.

Conversely, the release of non-native animals into local ecosystems can be just as devastating. Witness, for example, the ecological problems of pythons in the Everglades, cane toads in Australia, and bullfrogs right here in Utah, just to name a few examples.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t have pets, because most of us do, but virtually any animal you can think of, especially reptiles and amphibians, is available from a breeder or a pet store that buys from breeders. Captive propagation has produced impeccable animals that are disease and parasite free, and you won’t be removing an animal from its natural habitat where it can thrive, reproduce, and live out its natural life.

Better yet, adopt a reptile from a rescue or sanctuary. These animals need a good home and you’ll be doing everyone a favor!

David E. Jensen is the administrator of Utah Reptile Forum on Facebook and the owner of Wasatch Snake Removal, Inc., in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Posted in Horned Lizard, Lizards, pet snakes, pets, Reptiles | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Buddies Behind SnakeBuddies…. Who are they anyway?!?

We are fast approaching 5 years since the inception of SnakeBuddies. We have come a long way, since having the vision of creating a site to highlight our passion for snakes and other reptiles, while educating others about these amazing animals. Although our fan-base and audience is larger than ever, we recently realized that we have perhaps done too good a job of hiding our true identities. Lots of snake fans are now familiar with the name “SnakeBuddies”, but very few people could pick any one of us out of a line-up.

At the risk of losing followers when they realize we are not the “underwear models” they were imagining, we want to finally “unveil” the men behind the scenes. We are not seeking recognition or notoriety (it has never been about that), but want to allow our audience to better connect with us, and to help illustrate that you don’t have to have an internationally syndicated television show, to have a positive impact on the reptile community. We are just 3 surpisingly normal guys with very busy and fulfilling family lives, who work full-time, while trying hard to find a spare moment to participate in, and document our hobby.

The official SnakeBuddies crew, is made up of Jamison Hensley, Gavin Beck and Shaun Vought. All of us live in Utah, located in the Western United States, and have a deep appreciation for all wildlife. We each bring a unique set of talents and experience to the table, and our cooperative efforts, enable us to create original content that is both interesting and educational. We hope you enjoy the following biographies and photos, and that you will now have a better idea of who those crazy SnakeBuddies really are.

Jamison Hensley

Jamison is “The Bookworm” and founder of SnakeBuddies.  To the librarian’s horror (she even called his parents), he started reading almost exclusively about snakes – usually venomous ones, as soon as he could check out library books. When he wasn’t outside catching critters, he was busy ignoring his homework, and reading everything snake-related he could find in books and on-line. Studying the snakes of the world for 35 years helped Jamison develop a passion for educating others. 5 years ago, with a desire to share his appreciation for snakes, he bought the SnakeBuddies domain name, and with virtually no technological skill, he clumsily created our blog and Facebook page. Jamison is primarily responsible for coming up with and writing our articles, creating copy for our custom graphics, and publishing content to our blog and various social media sites.

Shaun Vought

Shaun Vought is “The Expert”, and co-founder of SnakeBuddies. He is inhumanly skilled at just about everything, and is a legendary (though he’ll never admit it) field-herpetologist. Shaun has spent many years in the field, finding, photographing, and learning about snakes in their natural habitat – and sometimes taking them to church in his pocket. He possesses a sixth sense for finding snakes in the wild, and his knack for always finding more snakes than anyone else, is a constant source of frustration for all who accompany him on his excursions. Shaun is a very experienced reptile keeper and breeder, and helped pioneer the husbandry of several difficult species. Shaun is SnakeBuddies’ official field guide, consistently putting us in touch with the animals we wish to find in the wild. His photography is top-notch, and is the source for much of our image-based content.

Gavin Beck

Gavin Beck is “The Guru”. He is our most recent addition to the SnakeBuddies team, but has actually helped us behind the scenes since our inception. Gavin’s talent, artistic eye and creativity are limitless. He is an amazing videographer (his profession), photographer and graphic artist – and his work is involved in virtually everything we now produce. Although he is newer to field-herpetology, he shares our passion for reptiles and wildlife in general, and has proven to be a very quick study in the field. He has also become our invertebrate expert, teaching us as much about arachnids, insects and other bugs, as we teach him about snakes. Gavin creates all of our custom graphics and videos, as well as providing us with lots of fanstastic photography.

In a nutshell, the three of us love snakes, and this mutual fascination is what originally fueled our ambition to work together in the creation of all things “SnakeBuddies”. However, we also share many other common interests that have ultimately led to our long-lasting friendship, and turned SnakeBuddies into what it has become. As much as we love finding and photographing snakes, there is nothing better than doing so with great friends that you admire and trust. Our excursions are as gut-bustingly hilarious as they are exciting, and our many shared memories of herping and hi-jinks will last a lifetime. As amazing as the last five years have been, we look forward to seeing what the next five will bring, and sharing all of the highlights with you.

Lastly, we must acknowledge that although we have an official membership of just three guys, we feel honored and privileged to say that we now have thousands of honorary SnakeBuddies all over the world. Our sincere appreciation and gratitude go out to the many people who have hosted us, befriended us, shared their expertise with us, and supported us in our endeavors. There is a long list of people who have been integral in our success, and we thank them all. We are painfully aware that without our families, friends, and fans, we would still just be three guys playing with snakes.

For more great SnakeBuddies content, please follow us at the following links:

Facebook   Twitter   Instagram

Thanks for helping us…   Educate.  Inspire.  Conserve.

Your SnakeBuddies,

Shaun, Gavin and Jamison

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Discovery’s “Eaten Alive” – A New Low in Snake Documentaries


We write this post in the wake of the “Eaten Alive” episode that aired last night in the U.S., on the Discovery Channel. We have struggled to determine what – if anything, we should say about it.

We made several predictions when the show was first announced, about what would happen, and from what we have gathered, pretty much all of them were spot on. We also mentioned several weeks ago, that we would not be watching the episode or any future shows on the Discovery Channel. The network has been blocked on all of our televisions, so we expect our intelligent audience to question how we can even formulate opinions or educated evaluations of the show. Well, as you know, the feedback from others, has been loud and far-reaching. Our news feed and Twitter feed are swarming with discussions, tirades and frustrations from both sides of the fence. We have read these tweets, posts, articles, and statuses, and will proceed in hopes that we have correctly understood what did happen. If we have missed something, or if we are off-base in any way, we encourage you to speak up.

Honestly, we do not know if our voice will even be heard amidst the ubiquitous controversy, but there are three words that we write in every SnakeBuddies post that we stand behind, and we therefore feel it would be a mistake to remain silent.

“Educate. Inspire. Conserve.” That is our mission statement. We openly present ourselves as educators and conservationists. We can’t very well teach anything with closed mouths, and our silence would only force our audience to guess as to what our stance is on this occurence, or how we propose to personally have any impact on preservation. So here it is….


Our Predictions from a month ago:
1. They will not find a snake in the wild big enough to swallow a man whole, and certainly won’t find anything close to the 30 feet long they were advertising.

2. Discovery Chanel will resort to inciting fear for the sake of ratings.

3. The episode will perpetuate longstanding phobias that will further harm snakes.

3. The animal will be harassed, exposed to unnecessary stress, and will waste a significant amount of energy participating in a stunt that will not result in a meal.

4. If swallowed (even partially), the forced regurgitation of the man will result in at least minor injury to the snake.

5. The content of this episode will not provide any valuable education for the audience, that will allow them to better understand snakes and be better prepared for unintentional human/snake interactions.

6. The episode will not represent a realistic scenario in any way.

So before instantly condemning the network and the people involved, we feel it is only fair to first point out that we never predicted that they would attempt to use this event to promote conservation. This information came out weeks after the advertising for the show first aired, so we have no idea if these efforts were always a part of the spectacle, or if it was simply a response to the copious negative feedback directed their way after the announcement. Regardless, we were at least pleasantly surprised that the effort was made.


Our post-broadcast assessments:
1. They did not find a snake big enough for the stunt. It was under 20 feet long, and in fact, the snake was not wild at all. It was a large, captive animal, planted specifically in a landscape that would prove optimal for capturing their desired footage.

2. It was all hype. From the purposely vague interviews, to the discernible footage in the commercials, to the many blatant lies told by the Discovery Channel. Even the title, “Eaten Alive”, was completely misleading and fictitious.

3. This is the biggest deal to us. They did their level best to captivate an audience by preying on the average human’s fear of snakes. There may be a handful of people who walked away thinking, “Wow! I am glad I finally know that I’m not really on the menu for big snakes.” However, how many phobia-stricken people simply heard words like “attack, swallow, constrict, kill, eat, and bite” in conjunction with manipulated dialogue, acting and footage, to sell it as a real possibility? The few that got something positive out of it, are far outweighed by those that now think their worst fears are substantiated. Discovery Channel, all you did, was make it worse.

4. Here’s the kicker. They constantly advertised “Eaten Alive” and “Swallowed whole”, while continuing to promise that the snake was absolutely not harmed. Well, as expected by many (including us), that is because Rosalie was never swallowed. Had the snake been both big enough to swallow him, and allowed to do so, the Anaconda would have absolutely been injured in the process of forced regurgitation.

5. Certainly this over-the-top, prank of a “documentary” was drizzled with some facts, education, and possibly some dialogue concerning conservation. However, it in no way represented a plausible situation that can be used to help someone in this purely hypothetical situation. Worse yet, is the fact the main question, “Is man on the menu for the Anaconda?” wasn’t fully answered. Rosalie ended up calling for help, and being rescued from the snake, so now the general public has walked away still thinking that it could happen.

6. The film absolutely did not represent reality in any way. It was intentionally fictitious from the birth of the idea, and executed in exactly the same fashion.


SnakeBuddies’ conclusion:
We are sorely disappointed and apologetic for what many of you witnessed last night. We have at least a couple of peers that were involved in this film, and though we do not doubt that their intentions were good, the end result did not help our cause.

Discovery Channel has one concern, and that is ratings. As much as we want them to fight for conservation, that is not how they make money. Sure, the word conservation was thrown around a few times, and donations to a conservation-oriented charity were made. You might have even helped prove to some people, that an Anaconda can’t swallow a man.

These are all good things, but what are the long-term costs associated with these “victories”? How many wives are happy to know that their full-grown husbands might be safe from being consumed by “these monsters”, but not also fearful for their young sons and daughters at the same time? Did the quickened pulses and rising fear of the phobia-stricken observers subside as soon as they witnessed Rosalie call for help, and be physically pried from the giant snake? What was the number of nightmares and bad dreams had by your 30 million viewers after watching your documentary? And lastly, what is the likelihood that fewer people will kill snakes after having seen this show? Of course none of these questions will ever be known or answered, but unless there is overwhelming evidence (and there isn’t) that you helped put a dent in any of these areas, you simply wasted everyone’s time.

Despite the many negative aspects to “Eaten Alive”, we ask that you still try to focus on any positive take-aways that you can, as you speak with your friends and family about this show. Help them understand in real terms, what you know to be facts about the Anaconda and other snakes. Refer your peers to valid sources for education concerning snakes, and continue to share the positive, educational content you find. Remember that our fight for conservation is not in vain. We are having an impact, and our efforts are making a difference.

Educate. Inspire. Conserve.

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Holiday Gifts for your Snake Lover – All on Etsy

Holiday Gifts for your Snake Lover – All on Etsy

If you’re having a hard time finding something to buy for that person in your life, that is fascinated by snakes, we understand. It doesn’t seem fair that Black Friday is a source for discounts on coffee makers, tablets, shoes and grills, but  none of these deal-offering retailers are thinking about your your need to find something thoughtful, unique and reptile-themed, for your loved one.

Well, we feel your pain, and we have a solution. If you aren’t already aware, Etsy is an on-line marketplace where people around the world connect to buy and sell unique goods. Many of these items are hand-crafted by artisans looking for a practical and affordable way to market their wares, without opening a store front shop. Granted, as with any on-line marketplace, you can expect to find products ranging in tastes from dispicable to beautifully original, and in price from dirt cheap to “Are you confusing me for royalty?”

That said, we have spent several hours scouring literally thousands of snake-related products, and are pleased to introduce you to some of the ones that we think might hit the mark on your shopping list. The best part, is that all of these items can be purchased on-line through Etsy, so not only can you avoid fighting traffic and mobs at the mall, you don’t even have to visit more than one webiste! We would like to add that because many of these products are hand-made by individuals, quantities may be limited, so if something you want becomes unavailable, try a quick search for similar items.

Keep in mind that SnakeBuddies does not sell any products on Etsy or elsewhere. Nor are we endorsing any of these items. We simply picked them based on our subjective tastes for variety, uniqueness, and style. Be aware that although we may only highlight a handful of one type of product, there could be hundreds available, so feel free to browse on your own a bit, if the ones we picked aren’t for you.

Lastly, we want to call your attention to the fact that many of the snake-related products on Etsy (despite possibly looking cool) are made from real snakes. We have not included any of these products in our list, and we ask you to consider avoiding these products as well. A real snake enthusiast isn’t likely to love a product made from the animal he or she adores anyway.  Some of these retailers claim to only use snakes that were found dead on the highway, but without proof of this, we feel it best to simply buy something else.

For your convenience, we have tagged each image with a caption, that will tell you the price of the item, and give you a direct link to the item on Etsy. You will notice that each of the categories, is sorted from least expensive to most expensive as well. We hope this helps.

Thanks, and let the shopping ensue!

For the Toy Enthusiasts

There are not a ton of snake-related toys, but we thought these 3 puzzles were pretty cool. Our favorite of the bunch, is the natural wood one, with the little mouse inside.


For the Hungry

Okay, so we don’t know who buys cookies on-line, and these are kind of expensive, but don’t they look amazing, and delicious? Some reptile fan with a sweet tooth is sure to love them.

For the Harry Potter Fans

Honestly, who of us would really pick Gryffindor over Slytherin?

For the Fans of Home Decor

Here is a somewhat broad selection of household decorations and trinkets that are sure to appeal to one of your snake friends.

For Your Phone

Need something a little snazzier for your phone? There were not a ton of snake prints available, but until now, we were unaware that these were even available.


For Writers

Are you shopping for a snake fan that likes to write or draw? These items would offer a personalized touch, and be a Holiday present favorite.

For the Vintage Collectors

Remember back in the day, when we were told to cut the wound and suck out the venom, if we were ever bitten by a snake. Well, those days are past, and we now know that the only first aid we administer, is a phone call to 911, and seeking immediate medical treatment. However, these vintage kits are great mementos for remembering the good ol’ days.

For Him

We’re not suggesting that snake guys like booze and black tie affairs, but oddly enough, these were the primary gift options on Etsy, specifically suited for the fellas.


For Her Neck

Etsy is nearly wall-to-wall jewelry, so there is plenty to choose from for the fashion-seeking ladies.

For Her Ears

Here is a sampling of earrings, guages and cuffs to help dress of the lobes of the special snake-loving ladies in your life.

For Her Wrist

It may be against company policy to wear your Ball Python around your wrist at work, but these bracelets are both fashionable, and work-appropriate.

For Her Fingers

If you liked it, then you should have put one of these rings on it!

For the High Rollers

This category is reserved for all of the items we thought were really cool, but that cost over $100. Some of them are still a good value, and somewhat affordable, but we felt the more expensive items should have their own category. If they are out of reach for your budget, you can always put these on your own wish lists for that rich uncle you have.

That’ll do it folks. We hope that we have been able to give you some ideas, and possibly save you a little time. Thanks for being amazing followers, and feel free to share this article with your snake-loving friends. Remember to like us on Facebook at, and follow us on Twitter at

Enjoy your holiday season, and don’t forget to Educate.  Inspire.  Conserve. 



Halloween Critter Overload! – Amazing Orange and Black Reptiles and Amphibians

This gallery contains 36 photos.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN to all of our SnakeBuddies, followers and friends. We have had a blast, sharing our Halloween Herp of the Day images over the last couple of weeks on our FaceBook page, but now that the big day … Continue reading

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Can the Death of One Endangered Tortoise Help Save the Lives of Others?

Endangered Gopher Tortoise

We apologize for posting this gruesome image, but we feel strongly that it needs to be seen. We took this photograph a couple of years ago, while on a quick outing, after an exhausting day, at a work convention in Orlando, Florida. The photo has been tucked away in an old facebook album, virtually unnoticed until recently, when some SnakeBuddies happened upon it, and shared it. It got a decent amount of attention, and we realized that this photo tells a story… one that should no longer be collecting dust on a shelf.

This animal was a Gopher Tortoise, which is an endangered species, and is federally protected. I remember cruising this lonely dirt road, excited by the proposition of finding wildlife much different than we are accustomed to, in the dry Utah desert. I also remember seeing a large, dark mass in the road at a distance, and hoping it might be a small gator, or a snake, or virtually anything that we’d never seen in the wild before. The feelings of excitement and hope quickly turned to sadness, disgust and contempt, as we got out the rental car, to see the carnage left by some careless, cruel driver, and left for the Turkey Vultures to pick clean.

Having never seen a live Gopher Tortoise in the wild before, I was devastated by the macabre scene, strewn about in front of me. I knelt down beside it, with a tangible awareness that I was trespassing in his back yard. As a contributing member to a species with an enormous “footprint”, I couldn’t help but feel partially responsible for the precious life, cut decades short. Not really knowing why, I grabbed my camera and snapped this single picture. It wasn’t until I got home, and was going through my photos, that I really looked at the photo I had taken. In black and white, the picture lost some of the obvious gore, while somehow managing to better capture the mood and impact of the moment.

Please don’t think we believe that this event was any more devastating than the many others that happen on a daily basis. We completely understand that these tragic incidents happen accidentally on highways, freeways, and other high-speed, high-traffic roads. However, this was a mature tortoise, larger than a dinner plate, on a little traveled, and tiny dirt road, where legal speeds make this occurrence completely avoidable. The harsh reality, is that some thoughtless, thrill-seeking person (I use that term loosely) thought it would be fun to run over a completely harmless and endangered animal. It is unfortunate that as this planet’s most intelligent species, we humans do some very stupid things.

One of our primary goals (or at least hopes) of this blog, is that we might make a small difference, even if it seems unnoticeable. Through our combined efforts to share our passions and educate others, we firmly believe that we can and will inspire others to help protect the Gopher Tortoise and other helpless creatures. However, we must admit that we could never do it without our loyal “fans”. We want to express our sincere gratitude to our friends, who tracked down this old photo of ours, and reminded us that perhaps this tortoise’s life was not in vain. Your comments and obvious compassion, inspired us to share this photo and tell this important story. We would love it, if you readers would take one second to click on the facebook or Twitter buttons below, and share this with your friends, neighbors, and fellow animal lovers. You never know who it will touch, or just how many tortoises and other animals might make it safely across the road as a result.

In a few short months, we will be in Florida yet again, for another big trade show. We have high hopes that we might just be lucky enough to find our first live Gopher Tortoise, and look forward to sharing the adventure with all of our SnakeBuddies.

Educate.   Inspire.   Conserve.


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