Snakes are remarkable animals. Some people fear them, but in reality, snakes have more reasons to fear us.

Every year, at least 440,000 pythons are slaughtered in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Vietnam—just to be made into shoes and handbags. The real number is probably much higher because this number doesn’t include the thousands of illegally traded pythons who are exported annually.

Most are torn from their own homes deep in the jungles of Indonesia and Malaysia.


Once they are captured, their heads are often forced down and cut off with a machete. Other times, the snakes’ heads are nailed to a tree and their skins slowly peeled off. Because of their slow metabolisms, snakes remain conscious and are able to feel pain and fear even after they have their heads cut off.

snake being decapitated with an axe

If they aren’t beheaded or nailed to a tree, they are beaten to death. Their jaws are forced open so that a tube can be jammed down their throats, then their bodies are pumped full of water to make their skins easier to remove. Ropes are tied tightly around their necks to prevent any fluid from escaping their bodies.

close-up of bloody snake's face

Bloated, suffering, and dying slowly, they can be left hanging for more than 10 minutes.

hanging snakes

Their bodies are slit open from end to end to loosen their once strong and protective skin.

snake sliced open

Once the skin is limp, it is ripped from the snakes’ bodies. The snakes’ skins are no longer their own and are now the prized possessions of their captors. The skins are shipped off to tanneries to be treated with chemicals and sold to the fashion industry.

skin being removed from snake

Many snakes are still alive as they are tossed into a pile of other snakes and left to die slowly. They often suffer for several days before dying from dehydration.

Snakes are not the only animals who suffer for fashion. Millions of lizards, alligators, crocodiles, and other reptiles are violently killed every year so that their skins can be torn from their bodies to make wallets, belts, boots, and handbags. Reptiles may be cold-blooded, but wearing their skins is cold-hearted.

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