Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts
Illegal exotic snakes seized
5 February 2010
More than 29 illegal exotic snakes and 8 native snakes have been seized by federal and state environment authorities at properties in the Western suburbs of Sydney.
Federal environment department spokeswoman Rose Webb says a number of specimens were seized including corn snakes, king snakes and a boa constrictor.
“These species are fairly docile and non-venomous and they make popular pets.
“Its important people understand they can pose a serious threat to our environment.
“They kill and compete with our native wildlife for food or habitat, and can introduce diseases for which our native reptiles have no immunity.
“Australia has very strict environment protection laws, but unfortunately, some exotic animals are still illegally smuggled into Australia.
“Most privately owned exotic reptiles in Australia are usually illegally imported or are the offspring of illegally imported animals.
“People who buy illegally imported exotic animals encourage this illegal trade, which is an organised and notoriously cruel business.
“Smuggled animals suffer stress, dehydration, or starvation, and many die in transit.
“We urge people who want to own exotic pets to make sure they are legal in Australia.” Ms Webb said.
Ms Webb said the searches had been done with the support of the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service and a number of people are now helping the department with its inquiries. Under national environment law—the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999—the maximum penalty for these offences is a $110,000 fine or 10 years jail.
If you have any information about trade in illegal wildlife or wildlife products contact the department at email@example.com
If you have any information about smuggling of wildlife or wildlife products into or out of Australia, contact the Customs and Border Protection hotline on 1800 06 1800 or Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service Redline on 1800 803 006.
For more information about wildlife and wildlife product trade, go to: www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/trade-use/exoticanimalguide/list.html