Feds consider banning imports of pythons, boas

Federal officials are considering a ban on imports of large snakes such as pythons, anacondas and boa constrictors.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Monday it would take another look at rules that would prevent people from buying the snakes overseas and having them shipped to America. For snakes already in the country, the agency is considering whether owners should be required to obtain a permit before traveling across state lines.

The import and travel restrictions would not apply to all snakes, covering only the reticulated python, DeSchauensee’s anaconda, green anaconda, Beni anaconda, and boa constrictor, the agency said in the Federal Register. Some of those snakes can grow longer than 20 feet in length and weigh more than 200 pounds.

In 2012, the Fish and Wildlife Service began prohibiting people from importing and traveling with similar snakes, such as the Burmese python, Indian python, Northern African python, Southern African python and yellow anaconda.

Now, the Fish and Wildlife Service is looking to add four new snakes to the list of injurious wildlife. Though the incidents are rare, the snakes have been known to kill humans.

Under the new rules, snake owners would be allowed to keep the animals they already have, as long as they do not travel between state lines without first obtaining a permit.

The public has 30 days to comment on the proposal.