Queenslanders are being reminded of the dangers of keeping exotic reptiles after the recent seizure of four non-native snakes.
Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities Mark Furner said three American corn snakes and a four metre Burmese python had been seized by Biosecurity Queensland officers in the past two months.
“Exotic reptiles pose a very serious biosecurity risk to Queensland,” Mr Furner said.
“Overseas evidence clearly shows that private possession of non-native reptiles poses a significant risk to native wildlife, the environment and, in some cases, human life and safety.
“Virtually all species of non-native reptiles are capable of establishing wild populations when introduced into a new environment such as Australia and can also threaten our environment, agricultural industries and economy.”
Mr Furner said American corn snakes and Burmese pythons were exotic non-native reptiles and were declared as prohibited invasive biosecurity matter under the Biosecurity Act 2014.
“Under the Biosecurity Act, it is an offence to deal with prohibited matter which includes keeping, possessing, feeding, distributing, importing, transporting, disposing, buying, supplying or using prohibited matter,” Mr Furner said.
“Currently, the maximum penalty for dealing with prohibited matter is $133,450.00.
“Preventing the possession of high-risk species helps to avoid the development of large-scale, generally intractable pest problems.”
Mr Furner said Biosecurity Queensland officers had seized 81 exotic animals in the past six years.
“Alarmingly, one-third of all these seizures have been American corn snakes,” Mr Furner said.
“This high rate of detection means that American corns snakes could become an established pest in Queensland.
“The three recently seized American corn snakes and Burmese python have been euthanized and investigations are ongoing.”
Anyone who suspects an exotic animal is being kept should call Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23.