The United States Association of Reptile Breeders is fighting to overturn a nationwide ban on the import of, and the transport across state lines of, four breeds of large snakes.
The ban, which applies to yellow anacondas, Burmese pythons, North African pythons, and South African pythons, is intended to stop the spread of populations of non-native snakes, and to protect and preserve local wildlife.
An attorney for the Association, however, maintains that the ban is a one-size-fits-all approach to a problem that belongs only to southern parts of Florida, and that the effect it has on reptile breeders and keepers in other states is unnecessary and an unfair burden.
They say that because the snakes can’t adapt to cold weather, they would not survive the winters in most parts of the U.S., and therefore the keeping of them in most states does not pose a threat to wildlife.
A number of pet snakes in Florida have been either released intentionally or escaped during Hurricane Andrew, and they are thriving and multiplying in the marshes and wetlands there.
Florida law already forbids keeping these and some other species of large snakes as pets, and the group has no desire to challenge the Florida law, only the parts that affect other states’ pet owners, hobbyists, and vendors.