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Should There Be Stricter Rules for Owning Constrictors?

Should There Be Stricter Rules for Owning Constrictors?

Itís not often that politicians and animal rights activists unite, but they have recently managed to come together on one particular issue: establishing stricter regulations for owning large pet snakes.

The coalition between congress people and the Humane Society is calling on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to add certain large and dangerous snakes to the Lacey Act. Passed in 1900, the Lacey Act is animal protection legislation that attempts to prevent illegal transport and the spreading of non-native species.

Members of congress have suggested that the agency now include the following five snake species:

  • Boa constrictor
  • DeSchauenseeís anaconda
  • Green anacdona
  • Reticulated python
  • Beni anaconda

If added, these snakes could not be imported into the country or transported between states.

They would not be the first snakes to be included on the Lacey Actís list. Four species are already bound by the terms of the Lacey Act: Burmese pythons, yellow anacondas, and two varieties of African rock pythons.

The main problem seems to be that snakes are master escape artists. These elusive creatures are known to get out of their cages and go into the wild. Still other snakes are purposely liberated outdoors by owners who have decided the responsibility is too great.

In the past 25 years, 12 people in the United States have died at the (admittedly non-existent) hands of snakes, five of the victims being children. In an extreme and tragic example, a Burmese python that got out of its container killed the familyís two-year-old daughter.

The human death toll isnít too high, but escaped snakes kill a lot of smaller creatures in their wake. In addition to killing family pets like dogs and cats, liberated large snakes have been known to wreak havoc on local eco-systems, killing native species that arenít prepared to face this kind of predator. This fact is extra disconcerting from a conservationist standpoint considering that these animal victims are often threatened or endangered species that require additional protection.

Legislators point out the laws will save taxpayers money, as well. In the past decade, federal agencies have paid $6 million in Florida alone attempting to wrangle loose snakes.

Of course, not everyone is on board with the proposed legislation. Reptile lovers and owners are not keen on having restrictions placed on their pet ownership in general. Others object to the idea that this matter is being taken up on the federal level when it seems to be mainly problematic for one particular area: Florida.

In Canada, British Columbia recently put its own firm laws on the books for snake ownership. The move has been met with debate from reptile owners there, as well. As one op-ed writer points out, no person in the province has ever died from an interaction with a large constrictor, though the same is not true for other pets that remain legal.

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149 comments

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9:04AM PST on Dec 3, 2014

thanks for sharing :)

2:01AM PDT on Mar 13, 2014

MORE ACTIONS -- ONLY THE LAWS THAT ARE NEEDED -- PLEASE GO KILL SNAKES

BEFORE THEY KILL THE PEOPLE, THE ECOSYSTEMS, THE BIRDS, THE WILDLIFE ANIMALS, THE PETS, AND THE WHOLE FORESTS AND FIELDS.

1:30AM PDT on Mar 13, 2014

Go for the Saving of Florida and other place! -- by killing the invasive snake!
Hope you get the snake's eggs too!
We need to save our Florida Birds, animals, vegetation, forests, and fields. Title of next article "Will animal rights people lie down to die -- to feed invasive snakes." This time the situation is the snakes OR the forests, fields, animals, vegetation, and people of Florida.

That is very bad about the 2 year old.

1:29AM PDT on Mar 13, 2014

I approve -- please kill the snakes -- that may be invasive even to many other places.
ON OTHER LINKS PLEASE DO NOT SIGN PETITION TO SAVE INVASIVE SPECIES OF SNAKES -- THOUGHT TO BE ENDANGERED IN OTHER COUNTRIES.

PLEASE SAVE OUR BIRDS, OUR ANIMALS, AND OUR PEOPLE FROM THESE SNAKES IN FLORIDA AND OTHER PLACES.

THESE SNAKES COULD DESTROY THE ENTIRE BIRD AND ALL SPECIES AND ALL ANIMALS AND THEN THE TRESS -- AND THE WHOLE FOREST -- THE WHOLE ECOSYSTEM.

THE SNAKE CAN RECOVER IN IT' OWN HABITAT. SAVE THE PEOPLE FROM THE TROUBLE OF WALKING INTO THESE SNAKES -- and possibly not surviving an encounter -- such as some people and animals have been killed on other continents and islands where invasive snakes have taken over -- leaving the area with no native species and destroyed habitats -- void of almost all life.

1:28AM PDT on Mar 13, 2014

NOT SIGNING PETITIONS TO SAVE INVASIVE SPECIES OF SNAKES -- BECAUSE THERE ARE ENOUGH OF THESE SNAKES -- IN THE PLACES WHERE THEY ARE NOT CONSIDERED INVASIVE. WILD ANIMALS LIKE THESE HAVE A WAY TO NOT BE COUNTED -- AND STAY HIDDEN. DO NOT BELIEVE EVERY THING THAT YOU READ.
THESE SNAKES DO NOT NEED TO BE RESCUED IN FLORIDA -- TO BE SAVED. WE NEED TO SAVE THE BIRDS, THE OTHER ANIMALS FROM THE SNAKES -- MORE THAN AN INVASIVE SNAKE THAT WOULD DESTROY ALL THE OTHER SPECIES.

PLEASE DO NOT SIGN PETITION TO PROTECT THESE SNAKES. PLEASE SAVE THE PEOPLE FROM HAVING TO RESCUE AN UNWANTED INVASIVE SNAKE.

THESE SNAKES WILL DESTROY ALL THE OTHER ANIMALS, BIRDS, TREES AND SPECIES, THAT LIVE IN FLORIDA. IF THEY GET A HOLD OF CHILDREN AND PEOPLE IN OTHER COUNTRIES THEY HAVE KILLED THEM.

THIS TIME LET THE HUNT FOR THE SNAKES CONTINUE -- AND MAY ALL HAVE COURAGE TO TAKE ON A PREDATOR -- THAT HAS BEEN KNOW TO EVEN KILL PEOPLE.

9:18AM PST on Feb 10, 2014

yes, you should stop exporting wild animals as pets, that's so silly! I don't agree with it at all... I find it selfish.

1:26AM PST on Feb 8, 2014

If your gonna own a non-indigenous or non-domesticated animal you should have a permit or license. Just that simple.

12:15AM PST on Feb 8, 2014

I'd think we'd have learned our lesson from the Everglades? I'm not sure why anyone would want a constrictor for a pet and completely agree with the previous poster that owning exotic animals is NOT a right. I don't mind a few in zoos for educational purposes (good to inspire awe and wonder), but beyond that, they serve no purpose.

6:19AM PST on Feb 6, 2014

I vote for more regulations for owning any animal especially the exotics.

9:58AM PST on Feb 5, 2014

Scared of snakes, even the little garden ones. I won't even go into the Reptile House at my zoo.

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