Reptile trade under threat

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Reptile trade under threat

Post by jlmp on Wed Mar 14, 2012 10:05 am

Reptile trade under threat
Call to protect reptile hobby
The reptile hobby and trade are facing their biggest threat to date under new laws being drafted by the EU Commission.
The legislation could effectively ban the keeping of many common reptile species, according to the UK’s leading governmental adviser on exotic pets. Chris Newman, of the Reptile and Exotic Pet Trade Association (REPTA), says that few reptile keepers or businesses are aware of the pending legislation, or the potentially devastating consequences it will have for traders and pet owners.
Legislators are currently discussing ways to control species which are ‘alien’ to the EU, with a ban on the importation, transportation, trading and even keeping alien species being considered. Changes to the law will be implemented some time later this year. The move comes in an attempt to kerb the spread of invasive alien species, which are said to cost around 13 billion Euros each year.
“While on the face of it this legislation might seem like a sensible precaution it is very likely that the new rules will be unnecessary and heavy handed,” Chris told PBW news.
“Rest assured that there WILL be new laws and they WILL affect everyone involved with reptiles. It is important that reptile traders and keepers are active in the decision-making process to stop the process being hi-jacked. We know that some of the more extreme animal welfare groups are looking to exploit this opportunity to push their agenda. Pet keepers need to get on board to make sure the new laws are fair. The industry must mobilise itself to limit the damage.”
And he warned: “It is the greatest threat our hobby has ever faced. The new laws have the potential to ruin every business associated with reptiles and there is even the possibility that reptile keepers could be forced to destroy their pets. The worst case scenarios are a distinct possibility. Commonly-kept pet species could become illegal overnight, forcing dedicated keepers underground to avoid euthanising their animals. This would have serious consequences for welfare as acquiring veterinary care could be impossible for those who keep banned species.”
The main risk to pet keepers appears to be the option for the EU Commission to introduce a ‘white list’ of legal species, as opposed to a ‘black list’ of those animals that are known to pose a risk to native ecosystems. While a white list is widely understood as the most easily administered option, experts strongly criticise this approach. Only 15% of the 11,000-plus alien plants and animals in the EU are considered damaging to biodiversity, which experts sy proves that ‘white-list’ legislation is unviable and unnecessary. “A ‘black-list’ would be fairer and more effective,” says Chris. “A list of species that that are proven to be sufficiently hazardous to each native ecosystem and introduced on a country specific basis.”
It is also unclear if the new laws will form a blanket ban that would affect trade, importation and possession of new unlawful species, or if each part of the hobby would be served by separate legislation. Neither is it known if the new legislation will be rolled out across the whole of Europe or if appropriate laws will be introduced on a country-by-country basis. “Californian king snakes have been found in the wild in the sub-tropical climate of the Canary Islands, and many think that they are breeding there. While it could be argued that this species is a threat in that part of Europe, blanket legislation banning Lampropeltis species in European countries such as the UK or Norway is unnecessary as these animals cannot survive in colder climates,” said Chris.

Lessons from abroad?
Herp professionals and organisations in the US have also issued a warning to British herpers. Similsr legislation in the US has already imposed a ban on the importation of four species of large boids – and more reptiles look set to join this list. Experts there warn that the legislative processes in the EU bear the same hallmarks as those they have been campaigning against. US industry experts predict that the European legislative process will be ‘piggy-backed’ by the scientific community as large amounts of funding become available to study the IAS issue.
“It has already happened here,” said Andrew Wyatt from the United States Association of Reptile Keepers. “ The American issue has been steadily growing over the last few years as environmentalists and scientific groups make best use of the media to garner support from an uninformed public, releasing anecdotal information to the press. This media exposure is the primary form of attack and stirs up the public perception that invasive reptiles are laying waste to the indigenous bird and mammal species. Throw electioneering and political funding from radical environmental groups into the equation and the problem is compounded. After watching the situation unfold in the US, legislators, politicians, scientists and environmental welfare groups in the UK and across Europe have begun making moves in the same direction.
“You guys in the UK and across Europe need to get organised… and quickly,” Wyatt warns.
Reptile keepers and businesses in the UK and across Europe can find out more by reading the information at [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] where the official position of the Federation of British Herpetoculturists is outlined.

Have your say!
The closing date for public consultation responses is April 12th .
You can take action and make your views known by completing the consultation questionnaire at [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
The response given by the Federation of British Herpetoculturists can be used for guidance but REPTA advises that it is important that you complete the questionnaire with the answers you feel are most appropriate.
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Re: Reptile trade under threat

Post by Choobaine on Wed Mar 14, 2012 4:07 pm

I heard about this a while back. Donated to the FBH some time ago but I have next to nothing so it wasn't much of a donation, I have even less now! Anyway, I have filled out the questionnaire and I sincerely hope they make the choice to educate the general public rather than just bring in draconian legislation.

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Re: Reptile trade under threat

Post by Imme on Fri Mar 16, 2012 5:48 am

They should not punish the animals, they should punish the irresponsible owners, or introduce a tax / permit system for certain types of animals (big pythons, monitor species).
Wonder if they realized how lucrative business is this hobby, and if they ruin it they will lose massive amount of money generated by the hobby.
Sad to see how the media uses the ordinary people who don't know anything about the animals they are talking about, to push this legislation through. I can see "the village idiot" on tele talking about how she/he fears of her life because the neighbor kid owns a cornsnake. Very Happy
I guess we will see what will happen...
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Re: Reptile trade under threat

Post by jlmp on Fri Mar 16, 2012 6:10 am

They were aware of the economics in America whenever they passed the ban there, in fact it was the economic impact that caused the original nine species on the list to be reduced to the four that were banned... and more are set to follow through time. Even royals and carpets are on the full list of species that could potentially be banned at some point in America. Extremeist 'animal rights' groups that are dead set against reptiles being kept as pets will definately jump on this and seize the opportunity to try and push through their own agendas.
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Re: Reptile trade under threat

Post by jlmp on Fri Mar 16, 2012 6:14 am

This article is very informative of the events leading up to the American ban, and shows how unfair legislation can be pushed through without any scientific fact to back it up:

This what it has come to…

Posted on January 18, 2012 by MDCrabtree


Since January 16th, 2012, the entire reptile community has been abuzz with some very devastating news. Our U.S. government, specifically the Department of the Interior, has announced that 4 species of large constricting snakes are now being placed on the Injurious Wildlife list of the Lacey Act; this includes the Burmese python, both the northern & southern species of African Rock python, and the yellow anaconda.

What does this mean for anyone who keeps these species? Well, being listed as Injurious Wildlife, this rule, once enacted, makes it illegal to import any of these snakes into the United States from out of the country. That within itself is not big deal. First of all, any of these animals represented in captivity today are the product of captive breeding; the banning of wild collection is not going to affect the market for these 4 species that much in the long run. However, the really bad thing is that this rule also prohibits any interstate transport of these species. This means no more online sales, effectively crippling the market for everyone in the country who commercially breeds them. This also means if you have even one Burmese python as a pet, and you have to relocate to another state, you are very limited in your options! As far as anyone can tell, while it implies that anyone owning these species currently can still legally keep them within their state, this rule does not make any provisions of how to dispose of them if one can no longer keep them.
■You could find someone else to keep it. Difficult as the market for large snakes is not that great to begin with. This issue is amplified for the breeders who currently have gravid females that can have anywhere from 20-60 babies in the months to come. That’s a lot of mouths to feed. Ordinarily, the breeder would sell the offspring through various expos and websites. This is no longer a legal option.
■The only other legal option is to euthanize the snakes. How does one humanely euthanize a snake? Is there a specific procedure to follow? This rule does not provide one.

Many snake keepers cherish their pet pythons just as many dog owners love their canine wards. For anyone having to relocate across state lines, this rule change is forcing a lot of pet owners into an awkward position. If they are unable to find a suitable home with another hobbyist, they are faced with the decision of killing their pet, or breaking the law by either taking the snake with them or worse, releasing it into the ecosystem.

This brings me to another point. Why did this rule change happen in the first place? Well, let me tell the story…

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For years, reptiles had only been available through wild collection and importation. Very few people were breeding anything in captivity. Burmese pythons, like many snakes, weren’t terribly difficult to breed if you had the space, but like many species, the expense and time it took to condition the animals wasn’t worth the effort when you could just import them straight from across seas for cheaper. But that all changed when in the 1980’s, the first albino Burmese pythons were found and ultimately ended up in the U.S. One snake enthusiast, Bob Clark, got his hands on them, and suddenly it was worth it to breed the species in captivity because everyone wanted to get their hands on the heterozygous offspring of the albino gene. Still the demand was higher than captive breeding could supply, and many wild baby Burmese pythons were still imported from Asia each year.

Fast-forward to the early 1990s. The reptile industry was really taking off. All over the country, more people were getting into the hobby, whether it was breeding geckos or wholesaling warehouses full of imported reptiles from around the world. In 1992, Hurricane Andrew devastated the state of Florida, and incidentally, a warehouse in southern Florida that housed nearly 1,000 freshly imported young Burmese pythons was destroyed. Unfortunately, many of the snakes found refuge in the surrounding areas, and eventually established themselves in the nearby Everglades National Park. There the descendants of those snakes have been ever since, eking out a meager existence, making themselves another addition to the invasive species problem in southern Florida along with feral cats, green iguanas, tegu lizards, and countless other exotic species of reptiles, amphibians, birds, insects, fish and plants that seem to survive well enough in the sub-tropical climate of Florida’s southern tip.

Fast-forward another 20 years or so. Until now, no one has really raised a big fuss about pythons in the Everglades. After all, there’s a myriad of other non-native critters around, and I suppose most people assumed that between the top predator of the ecosystem, the American alligator, and our cold winters, the exotic reptiles would be kept in check. But all of that changed when a photo started making its way around the internet. I don’t know who took the photo, but here it is below:



That photo changed a lot of peoples’ perspective on the issue. Here was clear evidence of one of these feral pythons eating an alligator. According to reports, the python in the photo was approximately 12 ft in length, and the alligator around 6 ft. So contrary to claims there was some power struggle for the top of the food chain in the Everglades, it should be noted that this was not a full-grown alligator that fell victim to the python. There was a necropsy done on both animals, and there was evidence that indicated the gator was dead before the python consumed it (presumably shot).

Regardless, this photo was sensational, especially because it happened on American soil, in a national park, no less. Like many such things, it circulated the World Wide Web like a wild-fire, spawning all sorts of theories and stories as to what happened and what this could mean for the Everglades, for python keepers, and for the reptile industry as a whole. There was definitely a storm brewing. Needless to say, the state of Florida was taking a new interest in the Burmese python problem.

Meanwhile, another threat to the reptile community had been simmering under the surface. For years, the animal rights movement, led by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), has fervently attacking any venue that involves animal use: the food industry, the entertainment industry, the fur & skin trade, and the pet industry. Despite what their heartstring-tugging ads imply, these multi-million-dollar non-profit organizations do very little for actual animal welfare. In 2010, HSUS gave less than 1% of its proceeds to helping shelters. Every year, PETA euthanizes 90-97% of the animals they rescue, and somehow only manage to find homes for less than 2%. Meanwhile, they focus their efforts on campaigns like telling children their parents are murderers, and trying to market fish as “sea kittens” so that people would stop fishing. In short, they want to turn everyone in the world into a vegan and are totally against the ownership of any pets that are unconventional, or not “fluffy” and “cuddly.” This means tropical fish, birds, hermit crabs, and of course, reptiles.

Fortunately for the average American with a brain and some common sense, these animal rights groups often fall short of their goals. But they weren’t happy with just encouraging people to stop eating meat and keeping icky reptiles as pets. They wanted to make it a law. But how does a multi-million dollar (cough) kill-shelter, er, I mean, non-profit organization make a law? Simple. You sell your story to the right politicians and pay them to make the law for you. And the photo of a Burmese python with an alligator sticking out of its gut was the perfect exhibit A to sell their case.

Enter the media circus. Soon there were news articles all across the state of Florida, reporting about the growing invasion of giant pythons taking over the Everglades, eating full-grown alligators and going after dogs and children. “Where did these things come from?” was the common question. Florida was no stranger to the reptile industry. There was the National Reptile Breeders Expo that took place in Daytona, FL, every year. The state was already home to a wide variety of native herp species and field enthusiasts often traveled from all over to hike and explore wherever they could to find and photograph their favorite southeastern frog or snake. The general public was dimly aware (emphasis on the word “dim”) of the reptile community, and that many people kept large snakes as pets. So to many, the answer was logical: these pythons often grow too large for the average person to keep, so irresponsible snake owners must be releasing their pets into the wild just to get rid of them.

There are a few things wrong with this hypothesis. While I am not going to say that no one has ever released their pet python anywhere in the country, there are a few implications that the feral Burmese python populations in Florida are not the result of escaped or released pets.
■To date, no color or pattern morphs of Burmese pythons have been seen or captured in south Florida. As mentioned earlier, much of the species’ popularity in captivity is the many mutations that can be reproduced by selective breeding. Some of these morphs are worth thousands of dollars. But regardless of value or appearance, a 15-20 ft python is still a huge expense to care for and house. Yet no albinos or other morphs have been documented in Florida.
■A large portion of the feral pythons captured and seen are in very remote, isolated regions of the Everglades, not easily accessible by the average person. Most of these spots are can only be gotten to by air boat. It is unlikely that the typical irresponsible snake keeper is willing to undertake such expense and effort just to release an unwanted pet. Very few, if any, feral pythons are found in urban areas. However, there have been some reports of pythons sighted in rural areas and being run over by farm equipment.

But regardless of the facts, the powers that be believed every word of this nonsense, and one politician in particular, Democratic Senator Bill Nelson from Florida was especially motivated to do something about this problem, and in the years to come, did everything he could to build up the hype of the issue to further himself and his political career, disregarding real facts and science along the way (and very likely having his pocket padded by H$U$ or some other animal rights lobby group).

In January of 2008, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a Notice of Inquiry, asking pet stores, reptile dealers, and breeders about all pythons, boas and anacondas. This “NOI” involved questions regarding annual inventory and sales, as well as the inquiree’s opinion on the likelihood of any of these snakes establishing themselves in their respective location, and suggested eradication methods, etc. It was a poorly written document that was basically intended to figure out how many people in the country kept these snakes, sold them, and the economic position they held in the reptile market. This was just the start.

Fortunately for the reptile nation, a grassroots movement was underway called the United States Association of Reptile Keepers (USARK). Lead by one Andrew Wyatt, this organization grew into a lobby group that specifically fought and defended the rights of reptile keepers in America. It was about time the herp industry got official and stood up against these political attacks.

Later that year, a piece of legislation was proposed called H.R. 669, which if enacted, would have made any animals non-native to the U.S. illegal to own, sale, trade, barter, as well as import and interstate travel. Not only would it have encompassed reptiles, it obviously included many types of tropical birds, fish, gerbils, hamsters, and many others. It would have severely devastated the pet trade as we know it. Luckily, the economic impact was taken into consideration and with the help of USARK, this bill was defeated.

In 2009, another bill made the rounds called S.373. This one was a little more specific, but still included all snakes under the genus Python, and later was amended to include other constrictor snakes. It too was defeated, mostly due to the actions of USARK.

Another version of S.373 returned under the new title of H.R. 2811. It essentially was the same bill, suggesting that 9 species of large constrictors be listed as Injurious Wildlife on the Lacey Act. These species were: the Indian python and its sister species, the Burmese python; the reticulated python, the northern & southern species of African rock pythons, both the green and yellow anaconda, and the DeSchauensee’s anaconda, and Bolivian anaconda. Fortunately, like its predecessor, it was defeated.

All this time, several studies emerged regarding the feral Burmese pythons and the potential damage they could do to the environment. One notorious study, conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey, proposed that due to the high summer temperatures of much of the U.S., these invading Burmese python could take over the entire lower 2/3 of the country, and make it as far north as Washington D.C. in a matter of a few years! Of course, among many other things, what this paper failed to account for was the harsh, cold winters of much of the nation, as well as factors like humidity, and basic habitat. In reality, a tropical equatorial species like the Burmese python cannot establish itself anywhere else in the United States besides where it already was: southern Florida. If these snakes could indeed survive farther north, why haven’t they migrated in the 20+ years they’ve been there? The answer is they haven’t migrated any further north, because they cannot survive any further north. [CORRECTION: This study actually used the Indian python, not the Burmese python. The reason was because, although the species are similar, the Indian python's climatic tolerances are vastly different. Using this species instead of the Burmese python helped the USGS's case, and because both snakes are similar in size, growth, and location, it was enough for the government to accept.]

USARK attacked these flawed studies with its own arsenal of experts and scientists, debunking each inaccuracy detail by detail. The reptile lobbyists pleaded their own case, emphasizing the economic impact any ban would have on the reptile industry, by now totaling over 1 billion dollars a year. Large constrictors, mostly the color & pattern morph market, make up 2/3 of that industry, and the U.S. is about 80% of that! Restricting interstate travel meant no internet sales, among other things. Many people raise these snakes as their main business, their primary source of income. Others make a living manufacturing cages and other supplies for large snakes, and then there is the feeder business. Big reptiles gotta eat, so many hobbyists make more money-raising rodents and rabbits as feeders then they do selling the reptiles themselves.

Eventually, Florida decided to take matters into its own hands. It had first instated a permit system for the giant constrictors. But in 2010, it decided to ban them altogether, making the Burmese python, reticulated python, green anaconda, yellow anaconda, and African rock python, as well as the Nile monitor all illegal to buy, sell, or trade. Those who currently kept those species at that point were grandfathered, but no one could acquire them after July of 2010. A somewhat disappointing turn for Florida herpers, but it seemed that the issue had been resolved. After all, real science proved that south Florida was the only place in the country that the snake could and would establish themselves, so it seemed logical for it to remain a state problem, and not a federal problem.

After defeating USARK bill after bill, things were beginning to look up for the herp community. After all, money talks, and no politician wants to be responsible for damaging our already hurting economy, right?

But a terrible incident had occurred during the summer of 2009. A Florida couple’s pet 9-ft Burmese python escaped its cage, entered the room of their 2-yr-old daughter, and constricted her, ultimately killing her. Now I certainly do not want to downplay this tragedy. It is sad that the little girl died, and I don’t wish that on anyone. But there are a few things people should be aware of about this incident.
■This was during a time when Florida still had its permit system for giant snakes in place. The owner of the snake, the girl’s mother’s live-in boyfriend, did not have the necessary permit to keep the snake.
■This 9-ft python was being kept in a large aquarium with nothing but a quilt draped over the top. Obviously, this was insecure housing for a large, powerful animal, and it is no wonder the snake escaped. Furthermore, this was not the first, or even second instance that the snake had escaped.
■The owner had six prior felony charges.
■There was evidence that the child was crushed to death, and not actually constricted or asphyxiated as is the typical M.O. of a python dispatching its prey. Also, the child was reported not to have any bite marks on her body. Now, anyone who has worked with snakes can tell that snakes strike their prey with their jaws…THEN they coil around and begin constricting. The evidence was circumstantial at best, but indicates that there is more to the child’s death than just a python.

But apparently there weren’t any snake experts called to testify for the case. Now ultimately justice was served; the couple was found guilty of manslaughter and child neglect, and both are facing up to 45 years in prison.

This case was handled in Florida, and in regards to the ownership of the python, only Florida laws were violated. Regardless, this tragic event was a major black eye to the reptile community. It didn’t matter that the keepers of the animal were at fault and were breaking the law. It didn’t matter that they were negligent parents. The entire world read in news articles everywhere about how a pet python killed a 2-yr-old girl. As always, it was a perfect example of mainstream media blowing an incident out of proportion and painting reptile keepers everywhere as irresponsible lawbreakers. The animal rights movement ate it up and loved every second of it. This was better for their cause than the photo of the python eating the alligator years before.

In June 2011, in response to recent Congressional criticism over his Administration’s intrusive, burdensome – and often job killing – regulatory regime, President Obama issued a very important move called Executive Order 13563, requiring federal agency review of all rules. This was intended to protect jobs and the economy from excessive and over-zealous regulation. How is this important? I’ll get to it soon…

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ADDED UPDATE: from Andrew Wyatt, President of the United States Association of Reptile Keepers

The Information Quality Act governs the standard of quality of information used to substantiate a federal rule making such as the Constrictor Rule. Because, at the behest of USARK, it was confirmed from scientists round the world that the USGS Constrictor Report was NOT the kind of quality scientific work to base policy or legislative changes on, USARK filed a formal challenge in 2010 of the Constrictor Report in the form of a Request for Correction of the myriad of errors, misstatements and inconsistencies within the document. USGS responded that they were not held to information quality standards under the IQA because their “Grey” paper was NOT deemed at the time of publication to be a “Highly Influential” document; meaning that their estimate of the economic impact of the rule it was supporting fell below the $100 million threshold that constitutes a major rule. Unfortunately for them USARK commissioned Georgetown Economic Services to do a comprehensive economic assessment of the reptile industry. They researched the entire industry and determined that the rule, in fact, reached beyond the threshold to approximately $104 million. This put the entire rule making process in jeopardy, because now USGS and FWS could be held to account in a federal courtroom for bypassing information quality standards under IQA. After USARK proved that this would indeed fall into major rule territory, White House oversight officials appeared ready to bury the rule…. Until HSUS, The Nature Conservancy and Defenders of Wildlife pressured Florida politicians to ask Obama to push rule through. Then government did what it always does, it compromised. They chose 4 snakes that would not carry the economic impact constituting a major rule and enacted this limited version avoiding the mandatory integrity in science demanded by going after all 9.

The reality of this situation is this… In 2009 Senator Bill Nelson of Florida introduced a bill, S373, that would add all 47 pythons to the Injurious Wildlife list of the Lacey Act. The bill then passed out of committee and awaited a full vote. USARK was able to convince Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma to place a “HOLD” on the bill because of the economic impact and effectively blocked a full vote; otherwise S373 would have been passed into law in summer 2009. USARK convinced Senator Coburn to renew the hold in 2010 until the conclusion of the 111th Congress killing the bill bill once and for all. Thank you Senator Coburn!

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Now, in the dawn on 2012, the D.O.I. finally succeeded in pushing through their rule change. The captive market and trade of four species of constrictor snakes will effectively dissolve in a mere 60 days. Thousands of Americans will be affected financially by this change. Thousands of animals will not only become worthless in the economic sense, but also there is no clear way to dispose of them. Next spring, even more of these snakes will arrive in the country by way of captive offspring hatching or being born. That’s thousands more of baby pythons and anacondas that are immediately homeless and worthless from Day 1.

I have told you the story behind this rule change and why it happened. I told you how it will affect us all now. Now we’ll look to the future…

First of all, here’s precisely how this rule change is completely useless.
■It will do nothing to help the environment. As mentioned earlier, the pet trade had nothing to do directly with the feral Burmese python population in the Everglades, so making it harder for people to keep the animals as pets won’t do anything about the feral snakes currently existing in south Florida right now.
■If anything, it will create the very scenario it was intended to prevent, which is people releasing unwanted pythons into the environment. This is a real possibility since now, so there is no legal outlet for commercial breeders and dealers to get rid of their captive stock. This wasn’t a huge concern when people were free to sell these snakes online and ship them across state lines as they have been for decades.
■It also could create a black market for these four species.
■In the grander scheme of things, it is restricting the freedom and right of the average American to own whichever type of pet they choose.

But there is a glimmer of hope for the reptile nation. First and foremost, this rule change was pushed through with complete disregard to due process, real scientific facts and evidence, and because of its economic impact, it is in direct violation of the Executive Order 13563 issued by the President himself. This alone is enough cause for an appeal, and I’m sure USARK has every intention of doing so.

Secondly, there is the simple issue of enforcement. USFWS is always stretched very thin, and while on the commercial level, those who work with these four species really need to watch their backs, the average American citizen that only has one or two specimens as a pet shouldn’t expect the “python police” to come knocking on their door anytime soon. Be that as it may, I would certainly advise anyone breeding these snakes to start yanking your males away from the females pronto, just to avoid as many unnecessary mouths to feed next spring as possible!

In closing, the war is not over. There were originally 9 species of snake on the original proposal (although 2 are extremely rare and virtually non-existent in the private sector), and you can bet your bottom dollar the powers that be are not satisfied. Remember who is footing the bill: H$U$, the Defenders of Wildlife and the Nature Conservancy. This is what they want, and they want more. They want all exotic pets banned completely, and I wager that reticulated pythons and the larger green anaconda are next in their crosshairs. But they won’t stop there either. Then, it will be all pythons and boas, including ball pythons, red-tails and carpets. Next, maybe it will be all constricting snakes, which encompasses cornsnakes, kingsnakes, milksnakes, etc. Then lizards…tortoises…parrots…cichlid fish….sugar gliders…

Not only reptile keepers, but pet owners of all types of animals need to fight these ridiculous and draconian laws. Emails and online petitions aren’t enough. Actual mailed letters and phone calls make an impact.

———————–

UPDATE: Additional Notes

Here are some additional things regarding some inaccurate claims put forth by the USFWS and other groups. At one point, there were claims made that the feral Burmese python population in the Everglades numbered over 100,000. This is a grossly exaggerated estimate. What they did was take the approximate number of pythons sighted and captured within a very small area of the park, then just multiply that number by the entire square area of the park. Makes a little bit of sense on paper, but anyone can go on Google Maps, take a look at extreme southern Florida and see that the vast majority of Everglades National Park is water and mud! Burmese pythons are not an aquatic species. It is true that they are good swimmers and will travel through water between the small islands and levees within the park, but they are not living in the water.

The media makes it seem like this is a powder keg waiting to ignite, that these pythons are on the brink of a mass population explosion, that at any moment these giant serpents will come slithering out of the marshes to attack household pets and children. Nothing could be further from the truth. The media would have everyone think Burmese pythons have the state of Florida by a stranglehold (excuse the pun). The truth is that they barely survive year to year by a toehold (yes, I know, snakes don’t have toes…but you know what I mean).

It is true that they are a large species, and it is true that a few pythons have been documented to have eaten a few protected species of indigenous swamp rat. But this problem pales in comparison to other invasive species. Feral cats are a much more serious issue all across the country, yet no legislative action has been taken against them. Countless species of exotic fish are established in many parts of the U.S., both competing and hybridizing with native species. But America loves its cats, and lower species like fish, mussels, and kudzu plants don’t make headlines. This rule change was all about powerful people not liking snakes. They didn’t care about the facts or the science or the truth. This is a clear example of how ignorance and prejudice triumphs over knowledge and freedom.

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Note: Everything in the blog above is factual to the best of my knowledge. However, new information is brought to light all time, and I may periodically edit the blog to correct any errors. This is only to ensure I am not inadvertently spreading falsehoods or inaccurate information myself (that’s the last thing we need!). I can only go by sources that I have deemed credible.

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REFERENCES:

Original Press Release from the U.S. Dept. of the Interior

us_final_python_rulemaking – PDF file

FoursnakesQsAs11612 – PDF file

U.S.G.S. Study on Giant Constrictors

Dave & Tracy Barker’s (of VPI Pythons) Review of Invasive Pythons in the United States by Michael E. Dorcas & John D. Willson

USARK Final Report on Nonindigenous Burmese Pythons in the Everglades

Another Study on Burmese Pythons in Freezing Temperatures

Reptile Radio Podcasts:

David Barker on the Notice of Inquiry in 2008 (second one from the bottom) – [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

Greg Graziani (of Python Hunters)
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jlmp
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Re: Reptile trade under threat

Post by Imme on Fri Mar 16, 2012 9:16 am

This is sad, reading this I do not think we have a chance. :/
We will see what happens anyway...
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Re: Reptile trade under threat

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