Man charges $500 for photo with pet snake

April 16, 2023
Mark Smellie poses with his pet snake, Yogi.
Mark Smellie poses with his pet snake, Yogi.

When considering the revelries of carnival, a photo opportunity with a snake might be the last thing on your mind. Still Mark Smellie, the owner of a Columbian Red Tailed Boa Constrictor, has slithered his way onto major roadways with his pet to thrill masqueraders.

"This isn't the first time I'm on the road; the last time was 2019," Smellie told THE STAR, adding that, after a friend coaxed him to "take Yogi, the name my daughter gave to our snake, I went along with the idea and ended up making $15,000 on that carnival road march day."

Smellie said on normal circumstances people would not see him and the more than 10-foot snake in public or selling photo opportunities with it but feeding Yogi "expensive".

He said, "When I bought Yogi at a pet shop in Kingston 29 years ago, she was about a foot long. Fun fact, we actually thought she was a he, hence the name my daughter, Ashli, chose but a veterinarian did a probe and told us otherwise. Yogi eats a regular rabbit a month that's anywhere in between $3,000-$5,000. It can be more expensive depending on the type of rabbit. So if I can make her meal for the month, why not?"

The unfortunate part is that members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force have warned Smellie he cannot pass the barriers with the exotic animal.

"We're fine for now, we'll take in the sights from a distance and hopefully persons will pass us and be interested. It's only $500 for a picture with the snake around your neck," Smellie shared.

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