It was the moment Homer Stimson had been waiting a fortnight for - he was about to get lunch.

The seven-year-old Stimson's python struck at the frozen mice as they landed on the turf in his terrarium.

Snake school shares skills

"There's no knives, no forks, no mess," snake owner David Manning said.

Mr Manning hosts one of the six registered snake-handling courses in WA. Called a snake school, it is aimed at teaching potential reptile owners about the best accommodation, heating, lighting and handling techniques for their pet of choice.

"They're remarkably easy to keep once you get the accommodation and the heating right," he said. "You can go away for the weekend and you won't need a python sitter."

Mr Manning is one of a growing number of West Australians who keep reptiles such as the bearded dragon, python or blue-tongue lizard in their house as pets after it became legal in 2003. There are more than 4000 licensed keepers of reptiles and amphibians in WA.

Recently the Department of Parks and Wildlife added five types of python to the reptile pet register, including the pygmy python - native to WA it is the smallest python in the world, growing to about 50cm.

All reptiles require a licence to be kept in captivity and must be obtained from a reputable dealer.

The West Australian

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