Soon, people won’t be able to bring or purchase certain pet snakes from different states.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently designated four species of snakes as injurious wildlife under the Lacey Act, making it illegal to import or sell them across state lines.
These species include reticulated pythons, DeSchauensee’s anacondas, green anacondas and Beni anacondas. Other harmful snake species already on the list include the Burmese python, yellow anaconda and northern and southern African pythons.
The purpose of the new law, according to the agency, is to help protect the ecosystem.
“Lots of our animals are very sensitive to introduced predators,” said Gavin Shire, public affairs chief for the wildlife services. “These snakes are particularly large, powerful and efficient predators that could put a great number of species of wildlife at risk.”
According to Shire, wildlife officials will be stationed at airports checking to see if any snakes are imported into the country. As for state borders, undercover agents will be checking to see if any snakes will be transported across state lines.
But some North Central Florida snake experts are against the new law. Matthew Tie, manager of the Rowdy Reptile Shop, said the legislation would create a burden on the pet trade.
“You’re also affecting Internet sales, which is a big portion of the reptile business,” said Tie. “Not everyone has a mom-and-pop reptile shop that they can go to, so some have to buy from vendors online.”
The new legislation could affect local breeders who sell snakes to many pet shops like the Rowdy Reptile. There are people that only specialize in reticulated pythons. That’s what they’ve done for decades, Tie said
The law is expected to go into effect in early April.
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