When someone mentions therapy pets, dogs and cats normally come into mind. That is because these household favorites have been proven effective in helping out people who are going through difficult times. However, different circumstances might call for needs which cannot be provided by a dog or a cat. This is when other exotic pets, such as the snake, become a more viable option as a therapy pet.
Snakes and other similar reptiles have special characteristics that prove more suitable to the unique needs of some people, especially those who are suffering from mental conditions or diseases that require less activity. These type of individuals having a highly playful dog or cat might prove to be a hassle instead and they would be better off with less active animals.
Dr. Laurie Hess, author of “Unlikely Companions: The Adventures of an Exotic Doctor,” mentioned that it is best for an autistic to have a reptile as a pet. Dogs and cats tend to be highly active and this may overwhelm the patient. Thus, an idle reptile like a snake or a chameleon might be a better fit them since these animals are slow to move and are usually idle or calm. Their scales and movements are interesting to stare at for hours on end which an autistic patient may enjoy without distractions. Learning is crucial for such patients and there is much to learn about these colorful crawlers. Having a pet snake is also a good start for individuals with autism since taking care of these animals are not difficult, not time consuming, and inexpensive to boot.
A snake could also prove beneficial for patients with high blood pressure. Just watching an elegant belly crawler in its tank without having to do anything is soothing and sometimes, even meditative. As a result, the individual’s heart rate and blood pressure is lowered.
Individuals whose mobility have been limited such as the disabled or elderly may also consider snakes as pets. This is because these slithering wonders require little to no tedious animal care chores such as outside walks or changing its litter.
While dogs become depressed and frustrated when not given attention, they resort to behavior that becomes stressful to their owners. Snakes, on the other hand, require less attention and will not immediately resort to harmful behavior since they can be left on their own devices. They are also proven low maintenance so long as their owners meet their needs. Of course, it is important to do research which type of snake one should keep in order to prevent accidents.
Keeping a dog or a cat might be therapeutic but nothing compares to an animal which a person can closely relate to. As how Dr. Hess said would have put it: “Having an animal that speak languages…that will understand you, is sometimes an incredible relationship for someone who has been through trauma.”