Carl Hiaasen doubts that the new ban on importing Burmese pythons will have much of an effect in Florida, in his column, “Those Big Snakes Are Here To Stay:”
Now that federal regulators have outlawed the importation of humongous, gator-eating pythons, all Floridians can breathe a grateful sigh of relief. Finally, we are saved from this insidious reptilian plague!
Sorry, but no. We might as well try to ban fleas.
As anybody who knows anything about the Everglades will tell you, the giant Burmese python is here to stay. If last year’s hard freeze didn’t kill off the tropical snakes, nothing short of a nuclear disaster will do it.
The import ban on the Burmese and three other species of constrictors — which was announced last week — is being hailed by the Obama administration as a victory for Florida’s native environment. In reality, it’s just a classic lesson of how Washington mulls and stalls until things are out of hand.
That there was an actual debate about the invasive snake crisis is incredible to the point of satire. Some reptile dealers and breeders, joined by a few clueless Republican lawmakers (none of whom had experienced a 15-foot python in their swimming pool), claimed that a ban on imports and interstate sales would be “job killing.”
As one who once collected and bred snakes, I cannot overstate how laughably bogus that position was. The realm of commercial reptile dealing, which has always had a sketchy element, is full of clever folks who always find ways to market different exotic species when one becomes unavailable. Not one real job would have been lost.