Highly adaptable, nonnative snakes pose an unacceptable risk as invaders. Through escape or release, these "pet" snakes invade natural habitats where they pose a threat to endangered and threatened species like coquí llaneros and crested toads.
The snakes also pose a public-safety risk: An escaped constrictor snake strangled a two-year-old Florida girl in her crib.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service took a step in the right direction by banning the importation and interstate trade of four invasive constrictors in 2012. But two years later the agency still hasn't acted on the other five invaders that account for 70 percent of the trade -- the reticulated python, DeSchauensee's anaconda, green anaconda, Beni anaconda and boa constrictor.
In the Everglades the introduction of nonnative pythons is thought to have wiped out most of the native mammals, including raccoons, opossums and bobcats. And boa constrictors have invaded Puerto Rico and are displacing native reptiles.
Take action below to help prevent further harm. Urge the Fish and Wildlife Service to add these five invasive snakes to the Lacey Act's list of "injurious" species.
I am writing to urge the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to ban the importation and trade of the reticulated python, DeSchauensee's anaconda, green anaconda, Beni anaconda and boa constrictor.
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These invasive snakes pose an unacceptable and preventable risk to our nation's most treasured natural habitats. In 2009 scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey identified nine snakes that pose a "high" or "medium" risk of becoming invasive. And yet the Fish and Wildlife Service took action on only four of these species, leaving our wildlife and communities exposed to the other five, which account for 70 percent of the trade.
The Service should list the remaining five snake species as "injurious" under the Lacey Act to avoid preventable situations like in Puerto Rico and Florida, where these snakes are displacing native wildlife and, in some cases, even causing people harm.
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