Videos of Young Girl With 13-Foot Python Spark Controversy
"Cher" is seen wrapped around the girl as she watches TV in one clip
A 13-foot-long python isn’t exactly what most parents would like to see their 5-year-old daughter cuddled up with.
Sonny and Cher, a pair of reticulated pythons, live in a London, England, home with owner Ed Taoka and his young daughter.
The species, native to South Asia and Southeast Asia, is some of the world’s longest and heaviest snakes, but are non-venomous.
In several videos, the young girl can be seen watching TV with the pythons coiled around her, or feeding them snacks.
One of them even shows the snake opening its mouth wide — a gesture Taoka said means they’re yawning.
Taoka said his daughter is perfectly safe when she is around Sonny and Cher.
“Snakes are not blood thirsty monsters,” he explained in a video caption. “They are often wrongly portrayed to cause panic and paranoia."
But some viewers, however, are not convinced.
“When you come home and the python has killed your child, remember it is a python and that is what pythons do,” one commenter wrote on social media.
Another wrote, “I hope the state takes your child away for endangerment.”
Inside Edition showed the videos to reptile expert Tom Hudak, who had mixed feelings about the pythons.
While attacks on humans are rare, they have happened in the past, Hudak said.
"Pythons are much gentler than most people would imagine," Hudak explained. "However, a python is a wild animal. I personally would never allow a small child to be around the head of a snake like that."
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