Well, it finally happened. The US Fish and Wildlife Service has finally banned the importation and interstate transfer of giant pythons. This is a battle that has been fought for the past several years between leaders in the python and boa constrictor breeding and keeping world and government regulators. The official issue at stake is the invasiveness of these animals and their environmental impact, but big snakes are so loaded politically and emotionally the battle has always been about about more than that. It has been about whether average Americans should have giant constrictors in their homes.
As I’ve said from the beginning, it is greed pure and simple that prevented the reptile industry from regulating itself with regard to these giant snakes. Any idiot can see that giant pythons are inappropriate to most buyers, esp. teenagers, but sell to them the industry did. That same greed led a number of the biggest breeders to import from Anson Wong even though they knew he was a major illegal wildlife trafficker. As a person who believes in responsible keeping it is a shame these reptile industry leaders could not really lead.
The new rule does not include Reticulated Pythons, the largest python on earth, and among its most aggressive. That is strange. And no doubt will come up again.
The new rule also excludes boa constrictors from the ban. That IMHO is a good thing. Boas are not for everyone but they are manageable at most sizes. What boa constrictors and other larger snakes need is not a ban but reasonable standards of welfare. That, too, is no doubt in the future of the reptile industry. Its leaders should get in front of that. But history says they won’t.