Sunday, January 9, 2011

Snake Banishment Bias

The New York Times article, Snake Owners See Furry Bias in Invasive Species Proposal caught my eye today because I love snakes. I know that it is a little unusual for a girl to love snakes, typically snakes induce a lot of frightened yelping. But, I have always found them awkwardly beautiful.

Normal and Albino Snake. Source: Wikimedia Commons
According to the article the US Fish and Wildlife Service is cracking down on snake ownership due to the increased prevalence of invasive snakes in various ecosystems. Boas, Anacondas, and Pythons are among the types of snakes included in the crack down, but they are popular as pets. Pet snakes become problematic when they escape or get released into the wild and prey on local species.

Opponents to legislation to restrict the sale of snakes say that there should be a distinction between snakes that can't thrive in the wild (suffering from albinism, or in unsuitable climates) versus snakes that are likely to become invasive.

Snake enthusiasts are opposed to legislation that would restrict the sale of snakes on the grounds that there could be a significant loss of revenue for breeders. Because the animals are pets, restrictions would also bring up the issue of whether the government should be able to dictate what type of pets people keep.