Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Pet snakes becoming a danger to humans and wildlife in USA

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
According to Adam Roberts, Executive Vice President, Born Free USA, "Clearly this is a national problem and we can only assume that the actual numbers, when factoring in unreported events, are much higher. We are seriously concerned about the epidemic of owning deadly snakes. Large snake ownership remains unregulated or poorly regulated across the country. While there are 40 states with some regulation pertaining to private ownership of snakes, some have fairly strict laws (Hawaii, Alaska, and California) while others are quite vague and lenient (Georgia and Idaho). And in most states, the restrictions are only for venomous snakes."

"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

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