Interior Secretary Announces Python Ban

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced Tuesday during a trip to the Everglades a new ban that will make it illegal to import Burmese pythons and three other non-native constrictor snakes.

Salazar, along with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe and Senator Bill Nelson, made the announcement at a pumping station along the Tamiami Trail, a known hot spot for Burmese pythons – one of the nation’s most invasive species.

“Why this has taken as long as it has with people fighting us is a mystery.  I filed this legislation in early 2009,” said Nelson.

Under the rule, Burmese pythons, yellow anacondas, and the northern and southern African pythons have declared an “injurious” species which makes it illegal to import them or sell them across state lines.

“These four species are the ones that are creating the greatest threat in the Everglades,” said Salazar.

Wildlife officials hope the ban, which will go into effect in 60 days, will finally put a dent in a snake population which is booming, appearing not just in the Everglades but in places like Palmetto Bay where a 17-foot python appeared in a backyard pool on Christmas Day.

“The giant constrictor snakes do not belong in the Everglades and they do not belong in people’s backyards,” said Nelson.

Last October, water management contractors working in the Everglades captured and killed a 16-foot Burmese python, which they said had just consumed an adult deer.

Burmese pythons on North Key Largo have killed and eaten highly endangered Key Largo wood rats, and other pythons preyed on endangered wood storks.

Most people who own any of these four species will not be affected. Those who own any of these four species of snakes will be allowed to keep them if allowed by state law. However, they cannot take, send, or sell them across state lines. Those who wish to export these species may do so from a designated port within their state after acquiring appropriate permits from the wildlife service.

FAST FACTS: Burmese Pythons

Ashe said the Service will continue to consider listing as injurious the five other species of nonnative snakes that the agency also proposed in 2010 – the reticulated python, boa constrictor, DeSchauensee’s anaconda, green anaconda and Beni anaconda. Once that process is completed, the Service will publish final determinations on those species.

  • César M González Betancourt


    • Lon Baines

      Cesar, will you be as happy when the government does not allow you to take your dogs over state lines? Your ignorance is astounding.

  • Jack Black

    When I was a child I was attacked by a German shepard. They are vicious and dangerous animals. I move that they should be put on the Lacy act as well. My son was bitten by a chiuaua when he was a child. That animal was out of control and wanted to kill him. It angerly and viciously sunk it’s teeth into his skin forcing blood to drain from his lower limb. I wish Mr. Nelson would focus some of his HSUS and PETA money on a lacy act ban on those vicious dogs as well. Both dogs are non-native and invasive if placed into the wild.

  • robert

    Lon Baines, Your ignorance is worse. Jack is not talking about all dogs! My brother was bitten by our family German shepard and out of control, The dog was put down. do you really thing they will ban all dogs going over state lines? Your ignorance astounds us all.

    • Lon Baines

      Jack is talking about all dogs he brought up German shepherds AND Chihuahuas. the problem is that once we open up this banning of peoples pets it can happen to all animals and i do not want to see it go that way the main backers of this ban were The HSUS which is the humane society of the united states which is a radical animal rights group who wants to make the united states a vegan nation. I DO NOT WANT ANYONE TO LOSE THERE PETS.

      • Lon Baines

        The HSUS is not the United states humane society.

  • Cameron Kolick

    Unreal. I own many snakes. no big ones however i have friends that do. His burmese python is puppy dog tame. its ashame our country has to be the way it is. free country? guess not.

  • MObugs

    It has nothing to do with whether or not we live in a free country. There comes a point in time when something has to be done for the good of the environment. Is it going to make everyone happy? Certainly not. Those on the side supporting the ban think it is a step in the right direction. Those in opposition of it think their inalienable rights are being threatened. No one is telling you that you cannot own those snakes, and no one is telling you that you cannot breed them or sell them. The ban stops the importation of 4 species believed to pose the biggest ecological threat to subtropical climates in the US. It also will control the ability to sell these four species across state lines. However there is a clause that is allowing people to apply for special permits that will allow you to do just that. Many people tried years ago to bring about a law like this and they were held up in litigation and red tape while “pet owners” argued their right to do as they please. Now fast forward 6 years later and all they succeeded in doing was allowing the snakes to grow their wild populations and to continue to be sold to anyone anywhere with no regulations. These snakes have the potential to cause harm to many states in this country, not just Florida. There are also wild populations in Southern Texas, and most likely other regions as well. People argue that those snakes cannot and will not survive in cooler climates….evolution has taught us to never say never. If the Burmese pythons were able to survive the hard freezes that Florida had a year or so ago (and they did) then they are capable of evolving to survive most anywhere. The argument of this being a precedent to future governmental control of pets is so ridiculous it borders on stupidity…..get real people! This ban is nothing personal, and no one is trying to take away your rights, but holy hell something has to be done to gain some sort of control of things. We wouldn’t be in this predicament if people would stop getting these snakes, and then deciding down the road it is not the pet for them and then releasing them. Not to mention the years and years of importation that has led to many species accidentally being introduced. Then the hurricanes hit and animals are released by their owners or accidentally misplaced by their owners. And before you misinterpret where I am coming from, I am an amateur herpetologist that studies timber rattlesnakes. I also personally own 6 exotic species of snakes. I have nothing against people owning or selling snakes, just be responsible.

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