In recent years, the State of Florida has become central in the issue of keeping large constrictors. However, it must be pointed out that most of what is being said would not stand up to any degree of scrutiny.
It is obvious from the programs I have seen on Discovery and National Geographic channels that there are entities that wish to cultivate an atmosphere of fear surrounding these animals. These sensationalized programs have as much to do with education, as Captain Crunch has to do with the U.S. Navy.
The argument that burmese pythons have the ability to invade the lower 48 states is simply ludicrous. Is it being asserted that nowhere else in this Country but southern Florida, large pythons are escaping or being let go? If they could live in the rest of the lower 48, would they not be there now?
The notion of people releasing pet snakes into the wild is a concept only understood by those who do not keep snakes. Owners of large constrictors know they can easily sell such animals for hundreds of dollars, but, for some reason, are portrayed as just preferring to turn them loose? This is a constructed tactic of pure distraction to put the blame on snake owners, and not focus on the problem snakes actually in the Everglades.
Also, there is no empirical data whatsoever to support these overwhelming claims of people releasing large snakes, no police reports, so surveys. This is purely well-polished conjecture made by politicians whose constituents want answers.
The origin for the majority of these animals is not one of irresponsibility, but a force of nature, the hurricane. Many homes and businesses have been utterly destroyed in Florida over the past 3 decades. These homes and businesses that once had burmese pythons, unfortunately and unintentionally released these animals when they were destroyed.
Why is the United States adopting sweeping laws that will do nothing to alleviate the problems in the Everglades? Why are these animals being classified as injurious wildlife, when the only place in the continental U.S. that can be demonstrated or observed is the lower third of Florida?
The old adage “I’ve got some land in Florida to sell you.” Has always been connected with an underhanded con scam, which is what these new federal laws under the Lacey Act are. These laws, which are not based on science or fact, are a political first strike by agencies and organizations that ultimately plan to do away with animals as “pets”.
I am tired of politicians, who in times of real need, put forth laws that are nothing more than a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
David A. Sagan