According to Roberts, “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.”
Perhaps the most glaring example of snakes gone wild is in the Florida Everglades. Most wildlife experts believe the Burmese Python is firmly entrenched in in that state. The original snakes were either pets that escaped or were illegally released by their owners. The invasive species thrives in habitats such as the Florida Everglades.
Just how well the Burmese Python has adapted to its new Florida home was demonstrated when in May of this year a Burmese Python almost 19 feet long was captured.
In Florida alone so far 1n 2013 there have been 58 incidents reported involving dogs killed or injured by snakes.
Humans are also at risk from invasive snake species. Born Free USA claims “There have been at least 19 human deaths including a two year old girl strangled by the family’s 12 foot python in 2009 and a man bitten by his own poisonous snakes in Virginia last year.”
Illinois residents shouldn't make the mistake to think the problem is confined to states in southern climates. This summer deadly snakes have escaped from their owners were on the loose in northern states including, New Hampshire, Michigan, Massachusetts, Wisconsin and Oregon.
Born Free USA has tracked more than 600 incidents involving reptiles, almost 75 percent of which are snakes.
Roberts says “Snakes are wild animals who cannot be trained and at any time can display their normal wild behavior, which may include a poisonous bite or strangulation, “What will it take for legislators to put an end to this unjustifiable animal ownership?”
In addition the economic cost of controlling nonnative species is major. According to the US Fish and Wildlife “One study reported that nationwide, economic damages associated with nonnative invasive species effects and their control amount to about $120 billion per year in the United States.”
One relative easy means for animal advocates and concerned citizens to reduce the introduction of non-native species of snakes and other reptiles is to join Born Free USA's effort to urge legislators to stop ownership of these animals.