U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney (R-Florida) has introduced a bill that seeks to list the Burmese python and several other constrictor snakes as “injurious wildlife” under the Lacey Act, thus prohibiting the importation and interstate trade of the invasive species.
As introduced, H.R. 511 would classify the following snakes as injurious wildlife:
• Burmese python
• Indian python
• Northern African python
• Southern African python
• Reticulated python
• Boa constrictor
• Green anaconda
• Yellow anaconda
• Beni anaconda
• DeSchauensee’s anaconda
The pet trade has faced such bans before. In the past, the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC) and U.S. Association of Reptile Keepers (USARK) have voiced concerns about the possibility of a ban pushing the trade underground and causing those already in possession of the snakes to euthanize the animals or release them into the wild. They’ve also argued that a blanketed ban cannot be justified, because the snake species are mainly confined to Florida.
In an industry alert released today, PIJAC noted that Florida has already enacted comprehensive legislation and regulations to deal with these snake species. Moreover, the species’ impact on Florida may now be negligible to non-existent, because climate changes have caused significant decreases in their populations, PIJAC stated.
H.R. 511 has been referred to the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism & Homeland Security. To view the bill in its entirety, click here.