U.S. Bans Four Snake Species to Protect Florida's Everglades

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According to the Associated Press, the U.S. has banned four species of snakes that have become a major problem in the Everglades. The ban includes yellow anacondas, Burmese pythons, and northern and southern African pythons. It is now illegal to import any of these species in addition to bringing them across states lines.

Florida's Everglades have become plagued with the snakes, many of which are thought to have once been pets and are capable of growing to 26 feet and 200 pounds. The snakes also threaten native species, including larger mammals like deer. With this ban in full force, here are some facts about other exotic species and pet bans in the U.S.

* Reuters reported in October that animal welfare groups pushed for a ban on the private ownership of exotic animals after an animal owner in Ohio released dangerous animals prior to killing himself.

* Seven states have no ban on owning exotic animals: Alabama, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

* San Francisco considered a ban on the sale of all pets under the notion it would help end puppy and kitten mills, though the policy would prohibit everything from fish to dogs, according to the Los Angeles Times.

* Opponents of San Francisco's potential pet ban said it would force small business owners out of business while supporters said it would help save the lives of animals and taxpayer money.

* On Jan. 1, 2006, the Massachusetts Department of Agriculture banned the distribution, sale, and import of more than 140 plant species that are considered harmful and invasive to ecosystems in the state.

* Plants are capable of moving outside their intended area and crowding out and out-competing native species, especially those that may already been under a conservation status.

* Michigan moved ahead in an order to outlaw feral swine, an invasive species that poses an environmental threat to the state's wildlife and ecosystem, in addition to being a vector for disease to both humans and livestock.

* Feral swine have been bred in Michigan as a game animal on private properties even though the species is not listed as a game animal in the state.

* In 2009, Congress began considering passing the Non-Native Wildlife Invasion Prevention Act, which would ban all non-native species that have not been approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, noted WESH-TV.

* The act would specifically help target the problem of the ecological damage caused by non-native species.

Rachel Bogart provides an in-depth look at current environmental issues and local Chicago news stories. As a college student from the Chicago suburbs pursuing two science degrees, she applies her knowledge and passion to both topics to garner further public awareness.
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