Pet snakes becoming a danger to humans and wildlife in USA16/09/2013 10:24:57 Born Free USA calls for national crackdown; reports growing numbers of pet snake incidents and inconsistent regulation on ownership, seriously endangering public and environment
September 2013. Incidents involving "pet" snakes in the USA causing injury or death to humans, or escaping and putting communities and the environment in danger, are on the rise, according to Born Free USA, a leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. On the heels of the latest incident reported this week in Florida where a 60 pound family dog was killed by a 10 foot long snake - the 58th snake incident tracked by Born Free USA this year - the organization is calling for a nationwide crackdown on keeping of snakes as pets.
Born Free USA's exotic animal incidents database (www.bornfreeusa.org/database) has tracked more than 600 incidents involving reptiles in less than a decade and an astounding number of them, nearly 75%, involved snakes. The organization has been monitoring incidents involving exotic and wild animal escapes and attacks including reptiles, big cats, and primates and sees a steady rise in snake ownership - particularly deadly boa constrictors and pythons.
Actual numbers much higher
"Snakes are wild animals who cannot be trained and at any time can display their normal wild behaviour, which may include a poisonous bite or strangulation," he adds
In 2012 Born Free USA tracked 106 incidents involving snakes, a record year in the database. Previous years were 82 (2011); 9 (2010) and 20 (2009) (more at www.bornfreeusa.org/database). Incidents this year are already at 58 and predictions from Born Free USA are that this will get worse. This summer alone, deadly pet snakes escaped and were on the loose in New Hampshire, Michigan, Massachusetts, Florida, Wisconsin and Oregon.
Major problem with invasive snakes in Florida
Roberts adds, "It is simply too easy in most states for unprepared individuals to purchase potentially dangerous snakes They are being imported from Asia, Australia, Africa and Central America; they are kept in inappropriate caging; they escape; they kill; and they pose a threat to the natural ecosystem. What will it take for legislators to put an end to this unjustifiable animal ownership?"