Handle the animals - only with Snakebusters

Handle the animals ®, only with Snakebusters ®
Snakebusters Frequently Asked Questions

(or questions worth asking if shopping around for a reptile show/display for your function, party, school or event).

Q/ Are you the "hands on reptiles" company?

A/ Yes we are! Snakebusters are the ONLY "hands-on reptiles" company! There are no others, it's that simple! Snakebusters are the only company that will let the audience members hold the animals. All others do "show and tell" or boring static displays only. On rare occasions one of the other less experienced demonstrators may allow kids to "pat" or touch a reptile for a few fleeting seconds.

Q/ Are Snakebusters "Australia's best reptiles"?

A/ In one word "yes"! Snakebusters has been consistently and independently rated Australia's best reptiles for several years, including by both Victorian and Federal Governments. This is largely because of the "hands on reptiles" unique to the company's shows, the only safe venomous snake shows in Australia, with devenomized snakes for your safety and the snake's welfare (no sticks or tongs used on the snakes) and because the owner and staff have unmatched expertise. It was for these compelling reasons that Snakebusters was allowed to acquire the registered trademark "Australia's best reptiles", meaning other companies are now legally prohibited from making false claims of being "the best" in the reptile show business. It is rare for any company to be given legal right to make exclusive claim of being the best in their industry, unless the fact is both well-known and cannot be credibly denied. In other words with Snakebusters you have the "best" and all other reptile companies are merely "the rest"!"

Q/ What about young children under aged five, can they hold the animals as well?

A/ Yes, they can hold and handle reptiles as well. For them we use slow moving species unlikely to scare or give fright.

Q/ What about waiting time for people in groups to handle reptiles?

A/ While other companies bring only one of each kind of reptile in their shows, meaning it's normal for people to have to wait a while for their turn to even get close to a reptile (for the few that actually allow this). Snakebusters do it differently. We have large numbers of reptiles of each kind meaning that (if required) twenty or more people can be holding a reptile at the same time. When dealing with kids who want "instant gratification" this gives Snakebusters shows the reputation of "Australia's best reptiles"!

Q/ How big are the snakes that the audience can touch and hold?

A/ All sizes from tiny, to medium, large, huge and really massive! ... and all totally friendly and harmless.

Q/What animals do you have/use in shows, parties, functions, etc.

A/ In one word Lots!.
In a few more words, we bring more than anyone else. Typically we bring 30-50 reptiles to a party or event, so eveyone can handle the animals and without waiting. All other "reptile companies" bring far less (typically under 10 animals) and you may die of old age waiting for "your turn" to just touch a reptile. Yes Snakebusters are the only "hands on reptiles" company ... it's that simple.
Furthermore only Snakebusters have the world's deadliest snakes with guaranteed safety, tons of pythons, lizards, crocodiles and more.

Q/ But do the crocodiles, tortoises or frogs come to all parties and events?

A/ Yes they do and without surcharges! They are standard features at parties and similar functions, shopping malls and so on. Just to make it completely clear, Snakebusters are the ONLY wildlife demonstrators in the world which have and routinely use all the deadly snakes from Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide, as well as the world's top five deadliest snakes, lots of harmless pythons, lizards and crocodiles. Other outfits only have some of these at best.

Q/ How much experience does Snakebusters have?

A/ Raymond Hoser (Snakebusters owner and manager) did reptile shows in Schools when a student himself in the 1970's and 1980's. It's likely that no one else has as much experience with reptiles as him. Yes, there are news clips from that period (and continuously since then) which confirm the fact! Try getting evidence of experience like this from any other travelling wildlife show! You won't be able to! The Snakebusters staff (personally trained by Hoser) are also regarded as experts in their field.

Q/ How do I check out the credentials of snakebusters or other live reptile show outfits, including claims of years of experience or expertise.

A/ There are several ways and we suggest you do this. Testimonials from past clients are a start, check out this link on the Snakebusters website, and if this isn't enough, ask for copies of more, or even call the past clients. In terms of years experience, rival outfits, including "Johnny come lately's" exaggerate all the time and make false claims of many years expertise (see below). The easiest way to reliably establish a timeline in terms of expertise is to seek out past reptile-related or scientific publications. If they don't exist except in the immediate past (within the last ten years), then it's fair to assume no long-term experience. The same applies for news clips featuring any so-called "snake expert". If they only exist in the present (within last ten years) with none from earlier, you can safely assume that the person you are dealing is a recent arrival to the reptile scene and probably has no meaningful expertise. Claims by recent ar/rivals to have "pioneered" parties with reptiles in the recent past (1990's), which coincides with their first known interest in reptiles, are of course complete rubbish. Raymond Hoser's first publication in a peer reviewed scientific journal was in 1980 ... more than 25 years ago! Furthermore, he's been at the leading edge of Australian reptile science ever since as evidenced by his stream of over 150 definitive scientific publications (and countless other articles and books) since. His book "Australian Reptiles and Frogs" published in 1989, remains the reference of choice for his peers and all who seek to emulate him.
Two (2006) examples of false claims travelling reptile show people have recently made are given: One is of a Melbourne-based snake man claiming on his website to be "established" in the business for ten years and with a wealth of experience. In fact the present owner of that enterprise and the founder (a second person) only started the business two years earlier! A NSW reptile demonstrator emulating Steve Irwin made claims on his website of a total of 40 years experience in spite of only having had a few months on the job!

False claims by various reptile demonstrators - see link here for examples.

Q/ Are snakebusters the "biggest" reptile show outfit in Victoria? (or Australia)

A/ Probably yes. But this is a difficult one to measure. At least three rival outfits in Victoria claim to be the "biggest" in terms of numbers of people they lecture to each year and claim this in their advertising blurbs. In NSW (a larger potential market) a similar situation exists, the main difference there being that the market is split among more operators. Obviously, not all can be correct. Based on the appearance schedules that we are aware of, it seems that Snakebusters have by far the most engagements, hence making ours the most widely viewed shows in Victoria (and Australia) in a given year (2004-7 figures (each year alone or combined) taken as benchmarks). We base this conclusion on schools visited, weekend festivals, ag. shows and shopping malls visited as well as smaller venues such as kinders, church groups, scouts, councils, universities, corporate gigs and so on. Put another way, over 250,000 people actually saw and/or participated in a snakebusters show in 2004, which as far as we can make out, far exceeds figures for anyone else ("claimed" or actual). Similar applies for 2005-7, save for the fact it appears the gap between us and rivals is even greater. (In January 2007, the ACCC found that a little-known NSW-based outfit had made numerous false statements on their website (they called it "Puffery") and in their printed promotions. As part of their wider-ranging inquiry, they found Snakebusters to have double the reach (number of people who see them) of their rivals, deduced via their own independent searches and inquiries.)

Q/ Do you burn pictures to CD-rom?

A/ Snakebusters were the first to do photos with parties. Early on these services were routine for about half our bookings. These days most people own their own digital cameras so our photo services aren't requested or used by most people who book us. However we are still the market leader for photos when called on to do so. We drive Nikon, Canon and Metz gear as it's the best available, including a Nikon D200 SLR which at 10.2 megapixels and state-of-the-art lenses trumps pretty much anything else around (2006). While only about 1 in 20 bookings request us to take pictures, this still averages one such job a fortnight!

Q/ But how good are the snakebusters photos?

A/ Raymond Hoser's photos have been sold through the Australian Picture Library (now part of Corbis International) since 1983. They appear in numerous books, calenders, magazines and so on. See the quality of pics on the snakebusters/smuggled.com sites and you'll see that dud pics aren't part of the equation.

Q/ How much do you charge for photos?

A/ We aren't into slugging for extras, so we only charge "cost". Often we simply download pictures at the venue so this cost is nil, or zero dollars! ... who was it who said the best things in life are free?

Q/ A friend of mine booked another outfit and got slugged all these "extras" on top of the booking fee. Will you do this as well?

A/ In a word no! In 2006, two new outfits commenced business in Melbourne touting for "reptile parties". Both charge extras for things like "to bring a crocodile" (add $70), an extra charge for each child over some arbitrary number (usually 10-12)(add $16) and so on. Snakebusters don't! We bring crocs to every party. We don't limit the number of children (or adults) and we don't start counting them! Snakebusters don't charge extras for the things you'd expect as part of the booking. What we quote is what you pay. Snakebusters don't even charge extra for the reptiles no one else has!

Q/ Do snakebusters have an ABN for tax credit purposes or similar.

A/ Yes they do. It is 84 007 395 048. We can give (tax invoices) receipts for all our services, including shows, consulting, book sales, emergency snake removals, etc. If you run a business a snakebusters tax invoice may be claimable.

Q/ Do snakebusters take cheques or credit cards?

A/ Yes, including all major cards. We even take cash!

Q/ Credit card fees?

A/ Add $10 per $100 or part thereof in payments.

Q/ What are the terms and conditions in terms of a snakebusters show and when making bookings.

A/ The fine print is at the link "Terms and Conditions" on the Snakebusters webpage.

Q/ Where have Snakebusters been to previously or are to appear shortly, or, can I try before I buy?

A/ Check out the link for Upcoming shows and events. Also check the links for Schools and Libraries for other venues we have done presentations at.

Q/ I run an event, am considering Snakebusters, but can't get to see them at an upcoming event and want to make a decision to book them soon. What can I do?

A/ Contact snakebusters and we can send you a video CD-rom or DVD of a recent (similar event) such as at an agricultural show, shopping mall, school, party, or street festival (there may be a nominal charge for this, refundable on booking).

Q/ How far in advance can I book snakebusters?

A/ We take bookings up to a year ahead. It is best to make bookings well ahead, especially if at a busy time, such as a weekend in the warmer months (Oct-March), School holidays, "Science week", etc. It is not uncommon for us to be booked out every weekend several months in advance. We do accept bookings at short notice if we have available time slot/s.

Q/ Where do snakebusters go?

A/ We are based in Melbourne, Australia but go everywhere. Pricing depends on distances traveled, legal requirements (if necessary) and so on. Raymond Hoser has done presentations in several Australian states and outside Australia (e.g. USA).

Q/ Are deadly species of snakes also used at kids parties and for younger audiences?

A/ Yes, as a rule they are. Why? Snake safety and avoiding a bite when in the garden, farm or bush is paramount and we like to teach our audience this. Inferior outfits (including most others who specialize in young kids parties) may sometimes give "snake safety" lessons, but minus the deadly species of snakes, so the kids actually see nothing, save for the inevitable harmless varieties. To us that's only half a lesson. We use deadly snake species for this part of the show to give the kids a look at exactly what they must avoid and unlike anyone else, we do this with complete safety to everyone (see next question).

Q/ What if someone gets bitten by a deadly snake during a show or by accident?

A/ Our deadly snakes used for shows are the only ones in Australia made surgically harmless using the latest techniques so that there is no adverse bite risk in the unlikely event either handler or other person gets bitten (worst case scenario). No one else besides Snakebusters has "venomoid snakes". Notwithstanding this, we don't usually allow handling of these reptiles by the audience so as not to send "the wrong message" to people. This prohibition obviously doesn't relate to safety in our circumstance.

Q/ What happens if someone is bitten by a deadly snake at someone else's snake show through an unforseen accident, ends up in hospital, dying or suing you for having the snake at your event?

A/ Your problem! Insist on snakebusters!

Q/ Are you insured?

A/ Yes we have public liability insurance up to $20 million (RTO standard).

Q/ Is surgically removing a snake's venom glands cruel?

A/ If not done properly, yes! Done properly, the operation is effectively painless for the snake. It is also a risk free procedure using the method documented by Hoser (2004) (see paper online at: http://www.herp.net/ ). The operation has since been repeated by other practitioners in the USA and is now in the medical standard text for reptile veterinarians (namely, Mader 2006). The long term benefits for the snake are substantial as it no longer has to be handled with tongs, pinning sticks, "tailed", or grabbed by the neck ("necked"). The snake no longer needs to be subjected to pain, torment and stress every time it is handled, resulting in a stress-free lifestyle and better health for the reptile. Put simply, it is to the deadly snake's advantage to be venomoid if held in captivity. This is especially the case for frequently handled "show" snakes. The evidence is to be seen in the snakes themselves.

Q/ Do the surgically "fixed" snakes look or act different to the "hot" ones?

A/ No. (See the photos on this link). Even snake experts can't tell the difference by looking at the snakes. Because the cut is made inside the roof of the mouth and heals within days, there is no evidence of scarring or injury. Snakes that have large venom glands removed have silicon implants to replace them, ensuring absolutely no disfigurement to the snake's heads. The snakes themselves are unaware of their venomoid state and contrary to false perception, still have their fangs ... just no venom.

Q/ On TV I see (so-called) snake handlers grabbing deadly snakes by the tail and/or holding the neck behind the head. Why doesn't Raymond Hoser do this with his snakes in his shows?

A/ Deadly snakes are "tailed" and "necked" because it is sometimes the only safe way to avoid (or reduce risk of) deadly bite. That is for the handler's protection, not the snake's benefit. Venomoid snakes have the advantage of not needing to be handled that way. The human equivalent of these methods is being grabbed and held in a head lock for "necking" or grabbed by the penis and their weight being held off the ground by the penis when "tailing". In snakes the genitalia are in the tail region. Hence both "tailing" and "necking" while commonly used, are extremely painful and cruel for the snake. Venomoid snakes can avoid this day-to-day cruelty by being handled appropriately for their welfare, as in having their full body weight supported mid-body and no undue restriction, stress or pain (in the same way we appropriately handle harmless pythons). Based on what's now known, it'd be cruel to frequently handle by "tailing" and "necking" a venomous snake species, hence all snakebusters regular show snakes (of deadly species) are venomoid (well over 30 animals). The only exceptions are a few additional ones kept "hot" for milking displays if required, but otherwise never used. Animal welfare activists have called for an ending of the use of hooks, tongs and tailing snakes for public demonstrations and "shows" on the basis of proven cruelty to the snakes from these handling methods.

In Victoria it is now illegal under Section 32 of the OH and S Act 2004 to demonstrate snakes with venom glands intact. Any (alleged or actual) insurance cover for venomous snakebites will be voided if such occurs, due to the fact that the demonstration of snakes with venom is now illegal.

Q/ We're having a party. How long do Snakebusters need to set-up?

A/ For parties, we are quick and efficient and geared for the quick entry and set-up. There is effectively no set-up time as we start as soon as we carry the boxed reptiles into the room. Other necessary materials are in these same boxes. Hence when we say we entertain the children for an hour or more, we mean this. We've had complaints of inferior outfits quoting an hour and then spending half this time "setting-up".

Q/ I've seen one or more outfit making similar claims to "Snakebusters" on their slick "SEO" website/s. How can I tell which is better?

Q/ Unfortunately this takes a bit of homework on your part. Yes, people emulate us (with at least one new outfit also effectively cutting-and-pasting huge chunks from our websites) and yes, they can emulate us with various degrees of success. Claims of expertise and the like can be verified by simple checks. How long has their website or company name been registered? (15 years may suddenly end up as a year or two!) "Long established" in the business may in fact mean just days or months. Check the "WHOIS", "IPAustralia" (Trademarks) or "ASIC" databases online and see what you find! If an operator doesn't tell the truth on their website, you are taking a chance if you book with them. You should also speak to people who have seen more than one travelling show and see what they say.

Q/ Other outfits seem to spend a lot more on adverts than you. Are they bigger?

Q/ No. We spend very little on ads as we simply don't have to. People in the business of "events", malls, shows and the like know who's who in the industry and seek out the best first, which usually means us. Because we do more big events, we also pick up the smaller "one off's" like parties and the like. And that's even before the "word of mouth" factor starts pulling in clients for us?

Q/ Got more questions?

A/ Phone snakebusters on (Australia) 03 98123322 or 24 hours on 0412 777 211

Snakebusters website "front page" entry.

Snakebusters website gateway links to all other Snakebusters webpages.

Snakebusters booking and contact page.
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Non-urgent email inquiries go to:
Our bookings page

Bookings and urgent reptile displays inquiries please phone:
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia:
(03) 9812 3322 or 0412 777 211

Canine Snake Avoidance.
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Snakebusters are the most frequently demanded reptile show in Melbourne, Victoria for several reasons including:
1 - Snakebusters are alone with Victoria's only legal venomous snake show, because only Snakebusters have the expertise to have vet certified surgically devenomized snakes, for your guaranteed safety and the welfare of the snakes. We don't belt ours around with sticks and tongs.
2 - Snakebusters are the only hands on reptiles parties or shows that allows people to hold the animals. All other less experienced outfits only do uninteresting "static displays" or boring "show and tell".
3 - The owner of Snakebusters is Australia's Snakeman, Raymond Hoser, Australia's undisputed leading reptile expert.

Snakebusters®, snakebuster®, snake man®, snakeman®, hands on®, hands on reptiles®, hold the animals®, handle the animals®, snake removal®, snake catcher®, snake handler®, snake avoidance®, reptile party®, reptile parties®, reptile shows® and variants are all registered trademarks, with all rights reserved, including for:

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