Feds propose to ban Burmese pythons, eight other species

The U.S. Department of Interior is proposing to ban the import of Burmese pythons and eight other snakes that it says pose a threat to the Everglades ecosystem.

Exotic snakes became a news sensation last July after a pet Burmese python smothered and killed a two-year-old girl in the Sumter County home where the snake got out of its cage.

The Department of Interior proposes to list the nine snakes as “injurious species” that can be banned from importation and interstate transport under the Lacey Act. They are the African python, reticulated python, green anaconda, yellow anaconda, the northern African python, the southern African python, Beni or Bolivian anacadona, DeSchauensee’s anaconda and the boa constrictor.

Burmese pythons and boa constrictors already have established populations in South Florida, according to the Department of Interior.

SB 318 by state Sen. Eleanor Sobel, D-Hollywood, would ban six of the nine snake species for which Florida already requires licenses and identifying microchips.

Sobel said in an e-mail to FloridaEnvironments.com that she’s excited about the federal action but she will continue to push for her bill.

“We know that several of these species are non-native, harmful to our delicate environment and dangerous to humans,” she wrote. “With the push at the Federal level still pending, I will continue my efforts in the Florida Senate to turn off the spigot of importation and intrastate commerce of these invasive and dangerous reptiles into Florida.”

The federal proposal will be published in February and the public will have 60 days to comment. To read more about the proposed ban, go to the Department of Interior web site, www.doi.gov .

To read a federal study on pythons in the wild, click here.

(Story copyrighted by Bruce Ritchie and Florida Environments.com. Do not copy or redistribute without permission.)