Mom Who Allowed Snake to Bite Her Baby as a Parenting Lesson, Charged with Child Abuse

A mother allowed a red rat snake to bit her one-year-old as a learning experience. (Photo: Getty Images)
A mother allowed a red rat snake to bit her one-year-old as a learning experience. (Photo: Getty Images)

A mother who is being investigated for child abuse after allowing a snake to bite her baby as a learning lesson, says people should just stop being “sensitive” about the whole thing.

“They just think that I hurt my child intentionally,” the mom, whose name is unknown, told ABC Action News on Monday. “The people that know me know that I would never hurt my children.” Adding of the red rat snake, “His teeth are too small to actually puncture the skin. So he’s very harmless.”

The mom recently posted a video of the encounter between the infant and the snake on Facebook but it’s been removed, according to ABC Action News. She found the snake in the driveway of her rural home outside of Sebring and since the reptile had bitten her and her son several times in the past without leaving a mark, she wasn’t nervous about exposing her toddler. “So, I thought it was a good opportunity to introduce her without actually getting hurt,” she said.

Yahoo Beauty was unable to retrieve more information from the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office, which determined there was enough evidence to charge the mother with child abuse.

Still, the mom insists it’s important for children to understand how to interact with wildlife. It’s a lesson she learned from her own father, a police officer who allowed his daughter to help out with animal service calls, reports ABC Action News. “She’s not scared of snakes but she doesn’t want to touch them, either,” said the mom of her baby. “That was my goal.”

Rat snakes are non-venomous snakes that kill pray (rats) by constriction and are generally not dangerous to humans. Yet, according to Sharon Silver, a parenting expert and creator of the upcoming webinar Why Do I Yell and What Can I Do Instead?, that’s besides the point.

“It’s not that this woman lacks a maternal instinct per se, but rather a misunderstanding of how to teach an age-appropriate lesson,” Silver tells Yahoo Beauty. “One-year-olds don’t understand cause-and-effect so all that will happen is that the baby will feel unprotected and wonder, ‘Where did my mom go?’”

While there could be merit to allowing kids to experience real-life learning lessons, they’re case-specific and not advised until a child is much older, says Silver. “However you never let a kid learn up close from a life-and-death experience.”

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