In recent years, reptiles have become increasingly popular as pets. Indeed, a survey conducted by REPTA in 2008 estimated that over 1.2 million households in the UK were home to over seven million pet reptiles. If these figures are accurate, there are now more pet reptiles in the UK than pet dogs.
Reptiles have proved to be safe pets to keep. Whereas thousands of people seek hospital treatment every year following attacks by dogs, serious injuries inflicted by reptiles are rare. Many of the reptiles being kept as pets are large snakes. The largest being Burmese pythons which can reach 20ft in length. But nobody has ever been killed by a pet snake in the UK.
Hampshire Reptile Enthusiast Found Dead
A man who kept reptiles including a large python has been found dead at his home. Dan Brandon, aged 31, was a fan of exotic species. He was reportedly obsessed with snakes, spiders, birds and all wildlife. His body was found in the same room as one of his snakes. The snake was not secured in a vivarium. The authorities have not identified exactly what species of snake was found in the room but it has been described as a python.
Death by Asphyxiation
It has been discovered that Brandon died of asphyxiation. Hampshire police said that he had sustained serious injuries but that the death was not being treated as suspicious. An inquest into his death was opened recently and a full hearing is scheduled for November.
The python found on the loose in Brandon’s home has not been ruled out of the investigation. The coroner has acknowledged that a snake was found in the room with the deceased. This could be the first instance of a snake killing its owner in the UK. Deaths have occurred in other parts of the world but never in this country.
Friends and Fundraising
An unnamed friend of Brandon has said that he does not believe that the snake killed his friend and he hopes that the investigation will exonerate the reptile.
Two fundraising pages in Dan Brandon’s memory have been established at JustGiving. The proceeds will be donated to the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB).
His friends and family have reported that it has proved difficult to find a photo for use at his funeral which did not feature Brandon holding a creature of some sort or show him befriending an animal.
Hopefully the inquest will establish whether or not the snake was to blame for Brandon’s death. If the snake wasn’t to blame, how could he have died of asphyxiation and sustained serious injuries without the circumstances being suspicious? The police clearly know more about this case than they are currently prepared to make public.