Savannah city leaders are banning the public display of snakes at the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day festival.
Pythons and other snakes have been part of the festivities in recent years, and the snake handlers are often mobbed by drunken revelers fascinated by the reptiles, The Savannah Morning News reported.
“If it has scales and is cold-blooded, you cannot bring it,” said Marty Johnston, the city’s acting assistant city manager for management services.
Local reptile handlers say there are real safety concerns with some snakes, including pythons.
Thaddaus Depper, a manager at Exotic Underworld pet store in Savannah, says people under the influence of alcohol and potentially dangerous animals don’t mix.
Depper says he won’t take out a python longer than 7 feet unless he has another employee standing by because of the risk of being encircled and crushed.
He also said people’s reactions to snakes, including what he called “the phobia aspect,” could pose problems.
“If you take a snake around a person who’s terrified of them, they can totally freak out,” he said. “I almost had a lady make a new front door trying to get away from a snake in here one day.”