Invasion Biology

Tuesday, July 04, 2006


The pet trade in exotic species seems to be a world wide problem. Tortoises and geckos have recently been in the news in South Africa, when foreigners were caught trying to smuggle live animals that they had illegally captured in the wild…

In Australia they have a problem with exotic snakes that are illegally kept as pets and then escape. The Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) in Australia has in Victoria alone found 340 “exotic” reptiles over the last four years. Amongst them were 63 corn snakes, native to the United States and Mexico. These snakes were termed as “rabbits of the reptile world” by DSE senior investigator Keith Lanner, because they breed so rapidly.

Apparently the DSE has found a correlation between illegally kept snakes and drug dealing… I found the following passage quite amusing: “A profile compiled by the DSE suggests that a person most likely to be keeping exotic reptiles illegally is: 18 to 35 years old, living in the western suburbs or Geelong, a blue-collar worker or unemployed, licensed to keep native wildlife and a cannabis grower.”

Reports like these just make me wonder when are people ever going to learn? Why are people so obsessed with exotic pets? Without a market there wouldn’t be a trade…

Karen Marais
BCB Hons NISL student
University of the Western Cape
Private Bag X17




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    By Anonymous Tom Pecanic, at November 10, 2008 3:37 PM  

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