Snake Babe has love
for reptiles!

Feb 3, 2004 3:10 AM

The SnakeBabe, more than just another pretty face

She cut a naked woman in half on Jerry Springer.

Her "Drop Dead Gorgeous " beauty stole the show on David Letterman.

Ripley’s Believe It Or Not called her a "Sexy Seductress"

To Tell The Truth asked, "Will the real SnakeBabe please stand up?"

Maria Gara is the SnakeBabe, a Las Vegas magician whose sexy yet comical style of magic has put her on television over and over again.

  Along with her juggling side-kick Steven Lee August, Maria is in high demand as a performer with animals. Regardless of her controversial website ( even a "Family Friendly" cable channel like "The Animal Planet" seemingly looked the other way when she was featured on not only one, but three specials.

The latest had her perform a Houdini-like escape from a coffin full of scorpions! This deadly stunt resulted in her being presented an award from the president of the elite Magic Castle!

While most performers would consider this a tremendous success, Maria treats this more like a game since her true passion is to help dying, homeless animals, especially snakes.

"Maria is so much more than just a pretty face" reveals her comical co-star and husband Steve August, who can be seen with Maria eating fire (really!) as they host Friday Night Stand-Up on Comedy Central this February 20.

"What many of Maria’s fans do not know is that she operates a rescue for unwanted reptiles, all those sexy pictures they buy of Maria helps to save animals!"

"There are hundreds and hundreds of groups like PETA for furry and fluffy animals," insist Gara "But in comparison only a few places for reptiles. This is awful, snakes feel pain just like any other animal does"

She goes on, "I adopt these sick, dying reptiles and try to nurse them back to health. Many times I have been successful but too often by the time they reach my facility, the animal has been ignored for a very long time. Poor things are too far gone to do anything but make comfortable until their passing or sometimes just put to sleep if it is beyond hope."

This is a very sad dilemma that Maria and Steve face willingly every day because of their love for animals. But why snakes? Maria replies, "I just have an unusual soft spot for reptiles and I am allergic to fur!"

So each day the magical duo awakens to care for a barn full of snakes, lizards, tarantulas and other exotics that were once someone’s pets. Many belonged to pet shops, breeders and even other performers who, for reasons she refuses to divulge, no longer want them.

The financial responsibility is tremendous. Adding the income from all their television shows does not come close to cover the expense of caring for these reptilian orphans. Maria is the sole source of funding.

Her magic shows and sale of her erotic Internet photos pays the balance of the care of over 60 animals. As long as she can afford it Maria has a "no questions asked" policy when it comes to accepting animals. Her only desire is to take them from a neglectful situation and place them in loving homes.

Maria also provides her pets for television shows such as Penn & Teller’s Showtime specials. If you want to see some of her success stories watch "Family Business" on Showtime this February. Look for the healthy snake that magically appears in a mans pants. It was given to Maria covered from head to tail in mites and ticks. Each rescued reptile has its own history. Eight-inch burns are long gone form the boa constrictor she held on "America’s Most Wanted," only tiny scars remain on the python she posed with on "Blind Date". These happy endings go on and on.

Television and the stages of Las Vegas aren’t the only places to see these animals. Aside from her websites (currently receiving 30-50 thousand hits a month) Maria takes her menagerie to schools teaching the proper care of reptiles. "Kids see shows on TV that demonstrate irresponsible snake handling along with awful husbandry. It makes them think snakes are easy to care for but when they get them home and get bit a few times they no longer want them".

The SnakeBabe leaves my interview with this "Maybe one day I will get that multi-million dollar show deal but until then I’m only one girl and I can only do so much. I would just like to say to anyone reading please think before you get a reptile. A pet is a long-term commitment and responsibility. Don’t get one unless you’re dedicated to go the distance."

I couldn’t agree more.