Posts Tagged ‘Burmese python’

Burmese Python Goes TODAY

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

Well, the Burmese Python–the same species I got when I was thirteen by telling my mother “Socrates” would grow no bigger than my ten gallon aquarium–hit the Today show this morning.  The Burmese python is the snake that got me and alot of other snake kids off the ground.  It’s also the species that launched designer reptile breeding, turned a number of hobbyists into millionaires, danced with Britney at the MTV Awards,  fueled a decade of wildlife smuggling, and killed a child in Florida a few weeks ago.

Here’s the TODAY show report.  The snakes reporters get excited about are tiny compared to what’s out there.  Below is my version of a Burm, and an annecdote from behind the book. 

Walking a Burmese Python

Bryan Christy Walking a Burmese Python

The Burmese python in this photo came to Strictly Reptiles one day while I was working there.  A local stripper (Stephanie “the water cannon” Evans) had used the snake in her act, but her husband felt it had grown too big for her to handle so he brought it in to Strictly Reptiles to sell.  Mike bought it for around $150 and sold it before the guy was out of the parking lot.   Of course, there are bigger ones out there.

Pet Python Ban?

Monday, July 27th, 2009

(Updated 7/31 below) The reptile keeping world is up in arms over a House Bill, HR 2811, which would ban all python imports.  According to PetHobbyist.com:  “Congressman Kendrick Meek of Florida has authored a bill, HR 2811 , that would ban the “species genera Python” from being imported or sold across state lines. While in response to the recent Florida death of an infant by her parents’ Burmese python, the law is written such that it appears to also ban snakes such as the ball python — an animal usually included on zoo, herp society, and pet information resources as a good snake for first time pet owners.”

Ball pythons can make good pets and there are some great overseas breeding and ranching projects of chondro and other pythons, too.  Banning all pythons will no doubt increase black market trafficking of not only pythons but of other wildlife, too, and will put legitimate reptile breeders and dealers here and abroad out of business.  There are better legislative options than a blanket ban on all pythons to improve protection of the environment, the public, and the animals.

Unfortunately, some leaders in the reptile industry (e.g., USARK) are lobbying Congressman Meek and others to change the bill language to ban only imports of Burmese pythons.  This is a silly proposal which ignores (more…)

Florida Python Slaughter Authorized

Friday, July 17th, 2009

Yesterday, the Interior Department announced a plan to terminate Burmese pythons in the Everglades.  The plan allows “hunters the opportunity to terminate pythons, a non-game species, with the use of their firearm.”  Already Floridians are taking it upon themselves to drive over pythons they see in the road.  Certainly Burmese pythons are a devastating addition to the South Florida eco-system, but the python population, which is estimated to exceed 150,000 snakes, would seem to be regrettably permanent.  If that’s the case, then the proposal’s bounty hunting provisions are not an effective effort to protect an eco-system, but rather a tropical wolf hunt

Since there would appear to be no one on the side of the snakes, I’ll take a shot at it.  I would like to limit dispatching of snakes to techniques that have been proved humane.  Killing by inhumane means should result in a civil or criminal penalty.  Second, I notice that officials rarely refer publicly to the extent of the problem even though in private conversations with me and others they will relate how the populations are already so large as to be impossible to fix. (Note there are no population estimates in Secretary Salazar’s press release.)   Estimates on Burmese python populations should be regularly published so that we can monitor whether we are truly making a difference in the population or instead satisfying some less admirable urge. 

Secretary Salazar Announces Renewed Commitment, Expanded Programs to Eliminate Pythons from Everglades

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today announced today [sic] that the National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in partnership with the State of Florida and other stakeholders, are renewing their commitment and expanding existing programs to eliminate Burmese pythons from the Everglades. (more…)