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Last updated : 01/04/2007

This page is indexed on our home page under Aspect: 4. Information & care sheets and the Section: Health Issues

Euthanasia of reptiles

The reason why we include this article is that in a discussion with a representative of an indigenous wild life protection organization, I was told that they euthanasia reptiles by placing them in the deep freeze.

My immediate reaction was one of disbelieve! How fast or slow should the freezing process be?. While this is happening the snake must realize it is in trouble and not just assume "oh Its cold .. time to go to sleep."

I therefore decided to do more research on the subject.

I very soon discovered that this is not the way to do it. Some facts that came to light in my research regarding Euthanasia in general are:

  1. Reptiles are sensitive to pain.
  2. Reptiles brains continue to function for an extended period of time after decapitation.
  3. Freezing causes individual cells to burst and is in fact a painful and extremely slow death.
  4. The cheapest and most effective way would be to place the reptile in a suitable strong plastic bag and fill the bag with carbon dioxide gas. All activity should cease immediately, but seal the bag and leave for an hour or two to ensure death.

Our references on this subject are:

Melissa Kaplan's on Euthanasia of reptiles - Link to this article

University of California 

Guidelines for Euthanasia - Link to this article

and Stanford University   - Link to their article

Animal Resource Program Euthanasia - Link to their article

Florida Atlantic University

Veterinary Services   Division of Research and Graduate Studies

Euthanasia Training - Link to this article
Summary of Some Unacceptable Agents and Methods of Euthanasia
- Link to this article

Media Statement issued on Tuesday 24 August 2004

"Senseless" python in freezer case : Culprits criminally charged - Link to this article

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Last update : 01/04/2007