Thursday, January 21, 2010

Banning Snake Imports

In a piece of smart environmental legislation, Bill Nelson and Kendrick Meek have introduced legislation to ban the importation of large tropical snakes. Supported by the White House, this bill should have a good chance of passing, unless the Republicans are also interested in halting all snake related legislation in the Senate.

Too many people buy these snakes, decide they can't take care of them, and release them into the wild. Without natural predators, they breed like crazy, eat everything around them, and severely degrade the ecosystem. This is one of the greatest invasive species threats the U.S. faces. It's probably too late to do too much about it, particularly in Florida and other areas around the Gulf Coast, where these snakes really thrive, but it's a common sense idea that we should enact. Plus, those snakes should stay in their home environments. It's a lovely aspect of environmental imperialism that we demand exotic pets without concern for how they are caught. This also affects the bird trade, as smugglers have decimated populations of macaws and other large birds to export to the United States.