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Exotic Snakes Banned in Florida to Preserve the Everglades

The government is banning the import of four snakes and their eggs into Florida, citing the necessity of helping to save the Everglades.

In just 60 days time, importing or transporting the northern African python, southern African python, the Burmese python and the yellow anaconda will be a crime, according to MSNBC.

“These giant constrictor snakes do not belong in the Everglades and they do not belong in people's backyards,” said state Senator Bill Nelson.

CNN reports park officials also praise the ban of the reptiles which have prey on native creatures such as deer, alligators, and bird eggs. Most importantly, the snakes prey on endangered native species like the Key Largo wood rat and the wood stork.

“We are very happy to see this finally in place," Everglades Park spokeswoman Linda Friar said. "The python has continued to be an increasing challenge in management and we are hoping this will help us get a better handle on this species."

None of the snakes are native to the United States and believed to have been brought in as pets that escaped.

Residents like Eddie Cox have resorted to trying to catch and kill the estimated over 200,000 snakes already in the park, reports MSNBC.

"I just started going every weekend and picking up trash. I'm not a trash picker upper, I'm a commuter guy but I just don't like seeing it a mess down there," said Cox.

He said the colder the weather, the easier the snakes are to kill.

"This time of year they're easy to catch and kill. I just grab it with my stick and then just slice it."
The legislation forbidding the snakes is known as the Lacey Act. Any felony violation of the act is punished by a 5-year sentence in prison along with a costly fine of $250,000.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar called the step a "milestone in the protection of the Everglades," in a news conference held at the Everglades.

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