Is that a Burmese python in your pants or are you just glad to be here in America?
Better go with the latter, if questioned at a U.S. port of entry, because Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar wants people to quit bringing Burmese pythons and other "alien snakes" into the United States.
“The Burmese python and these other alien snakes are destroying some of our nation’s most treasured – and most fragile – ecosystems,” Salazar said in a press release. “The Interior Department and states such as Florida are taking swift and common-sense action to control and eliminate the populations of these snakes, but it is an uphill battle in ecosystems where they have no natural predators. If we are going to succeed, we must shut down the importation of the snakes and end the interstate commerce and transportation of them.”
Eight other "giant invasive snakes" listed in the proposed ban are the northern African python, southern African python, reticulated python, green anaconda, yellow anaconda, Beni or Bolivian anaconda, DeSchauensee’s anaconda and boa constrictor.
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The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will publish the proposal in a February Federal Register. The public will have 60 days to comment on it.
About a million of the big snakes have been brought into the United States over the past 30 years, the feds say, "and current domestic production of some species likely exceeds import levels."
The Burmese pythons quickly adapt to a new environment. Since 2000, more than 1,200 have been removed from Everglades National Park. Two found near Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge had in their stomachs the remains of three endangered Key Largo wood rats.
If you've got a Burmese python, keep it to yourself, Salazar said: Don't release it into the wild. The python has populated much of south Florida. Boa constrictors have a wild population south of Miami, and authorities have found evidence that northern African pythons have a population west of Miami.