Why are reptile enthusiasts in Australia not allowed to keep exotic reptiles

Discussion in 'Australian Snakes' started by Cunninghamskinks, Apr 8, 2014.

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  1. Becceles

    Becceles Guest

    All in all it comes down to 2 simple things.

    1. Reason to do it - Because people want them
    2. Reason not to do it - Countless.

    Simple.
     
  2. Swampdonkey

    Swampdonkey Not so new Member

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    Probably because reptiles are some of the most potentially damaging of imports . Look at what is happening in the Florida everglades and look what an Australian native snake has done on the island of Guam.
     
  3. bredli

    bredli Active Member

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    People always think the grass is greener on the other side. Eg if people could only keep exotics here and not natives, those people would want to keep the natives. I am very happy with my grass.
     
  4. butters

    butters Well-Known Member

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    I don't think snakes would be a major threat to non snake wildlife in most areas of Australia for the simple fact that our natives are used to dealing with snakes. If there is a habitat in Australia suitable there is already a species present. We have some of the most venomous land snakes in the world and also some of the largest pythons.
    If natives weren't equipped to deal with them they'd be gone already. Australia is the land of snakes. I think our natives snakes would be more at risk than other wildlife through competition for available space and resources. A comparison would be red eared sliders and how they out compete indigenous species.

    The examples given above by another poster are areas that didn't have an equivalent reptile already present. To compete in Australia an import would have to have a pretty clear advantage over natives and prey would have to unused to predation by a similar predator. Some may fit the bill but the majority probably wouldn't.

    Worst case in my opinion would be a poisonous species. We already have one of the worst of those introduced intentionally and look what it has done. If cane toads weren't poisonous do you think their establishment here would be as successful or dramatic?
    At the end of the day whatever we think it doesn't matter. Imports are illegal and will stay that way for the foreseeable future. The possible risks far out way the benefits and I'm quite happy with the way things are now.
    Sure there are species I wouldn't mind having but I don't need them and if I did I could always move.
    Boa did although I am sure there were other reasons than just the reptiles for his move.
     
  5. Retic

    Retic Almost Legendary

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    Yes, reptiles were the bonus :)
     
  6. Lachie3112

    Lachie3112 Not so new Member

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    How about we stop messing around with nature. There's a reason we've got the wildlife we have, and there is no reason to introduce anymore animals because the cons far outweigh the benefits. I don't want to see Australia become a zoo of sorts because people want to keep something that's not native here. There have been innumerable cases of people who cannot prevent their animals from escaping, so why increase the risks in stuffing up our ecosystem with more foreign species.

    An argument I've seen tossed around is: "make it legal for people to own non-native reptiles because it's already happening illegally". I disagree in two ways:
    1. I believe that most non-natives are kept by people who didn't know they were illegal in the first place, so regulating it on a license system probably would not stop people keeping them off license.
    2. Why not introduce people to what species we have natively? We have a huge range of wildlife in Australia, and yet hardly any of them are kept as pets. Many of our native mammals have potential to be great pets, if only people would give them a chance. Take Sugar-gliders, for example: They make great, fun pets, and yet in Australia there are few cases of people keeping them. Unfortunately they're most popular in the USA.

    Stop all this discussion about keeping non-native reptiles, it probably won't happen, and it definitely shouldn't. Instead, consider talking about the benefits of keeping native wildlife and maybe then we may be able to keep more of our native species, rather than having to jump through so many regulations just to keep a possum.
     
  7. longqi

    longqi Very Well-Known Member

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    2 Gaboon vipers in Jakarta
    4 Black mambas in Surabaya
    1 Western timber rattler in Bali

    These were all escapees in the last 3 years
    Luckily they were caught and destroyed
    What if someone was bitten??
     
  8. Retic

    Retic Almost Legendary

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    Yes definitely a problem, its something that has always been on my mind with so many illegal exotics in Australia. I know there are Vipers, Rattlers, Cobras etc any of which would cause mayhem if they escaped.
     
  9. wokka

    wokka Guest

    As the author of post #64 please note that i am not advocating legalising import of exotic reptiles .My understanding is that it is possible to import exotic reptiles subject to meeting importation protocols (which can primarily only be satified by zoos). The same situation exists with export .
    My concern is that the "ostrich" approach of thinking all is well by sweeping activity under the table gives a false sense of security. It maintains a black market which in turn maintains prices to make the rewards outway the risks , and so encourage illegal activities.
    If a better legal conduit were available to import and export reptiles, and for that matter all Australian wildlife, it should improve the welfare of the trafficed animals, monitor and minimise disease risks, reduce the black market for illegally trafficed animals, increase reporting of illegally trafficed animals.
    For example, my observation is that very few dogs or cats are smuggled in and out of Australia as a legel alternative exists. Those animals that do get legally moved are monitored in both pre embarkation and post arrival facilities and can be tracked if risks are latter realised. The same could be done with all wildlife after performing the usual risk assesssment.
    Although a better alternative may be zero movement of animals the fact is that that cant be enforced. The system is broke so it needs fixing!
     
  10. champagne

    champagne Well-Known Member

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    The whole everglades thing is political bs, it is purely to get large pythons out of the usa because of pressure from uneducated voters... it has been proven that very few are actually in the everglades, which none have been ''designer morphs'' that most keepers have. Also only the smaller Burmese pythons have been able to survive the winter not the huge man eating monsters the media love to report on. They are having very little impact on the environment and a lot are being eating by the predators in the area. They should still be removed as they don't belong there but couldn't the same be said for our large native pythons outside their natural range? large scrubbies, olives or Oenpelli released in south east queensland could cause the political action.
     
  11. wokka

    wokka Guest

    Surely all you need to do is to make it illegal to dump unwanted reptiles and that will fix the problem! Please excuse my sarcasm
     
  12. Klaery

    Klaery Well-Known Member

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    You just making this stuff up? Science disagrees.

    Reed, R.N., J.D. Willson, G.H. Rodda, and M.E. Dorcas.2012. Ecological correlates of invasion impact for Burmese pythons in Florida. Integrative Zoology 7:254-270.

    Dorcas, M.E., J.D. Willson, R.N. Reed, R.W. Snow, M.R. Rochford, M.A. Miller, W.E. Mehsaka, Jr., P.T. Andreadis, F.J. Mazzotti, C.M. Romagosa, K.M. Hart. 2012. Severe Mammal Declines Coincide with Proliferation of Invasive Burmese Pythons in Everglades National Park. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

    Dorcas, M.E., J.D. Willson, and J.W. Gibbons. 2011. Can invasive Burmese pythons inhabit temperate regions of the southeastern United States? Biological Invasions. DOI: 10.1007/s10530-010-9869-6.
     
  13. cement

    cement Subscriber Subscriber APS Veteran

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    Dogs and cats are two of our worst feral pests Warwick. Because they are legal.
    If risks are realised later?? Now your talking cane toads.
    The only real problem with the system is that it isnt properly enforced. A % of illegal activity will always occur no matter what the law says. But thats all the black market is, a small %.
     
  14. -Peter

    -Peter Guest

    Zoos, over the years, have had an over abundance of reptiles that they have bred. either inadvertantly of not. In the 70's there were so many rhinosaurus iguanas at zoos and parks. Wonder what happened to them. Taronga had large numbers of sliders in their waterways, palm squirrels in the pheonix palms, exotic birds wandering around, people slipping out the backdoor with import loophole reptiles. Those were the days
     
  15. champagne

    champagne Well-Known Member

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    like I said uneducated political pressure... it has been proven that the larger Burmese cant thermo regulate in the temperatures experienced during winter so therefor die... did you actually read the papers you posted??? the Burmese they used to try and claim they can survive were all under 3meters. Most of the Burmese that are caught are under this 3 meter mark not the man eaters that are reported.

    The decline in mammal population has nothing to do with the massive amounts of development in Florida... its easier for the politician to blame the Burmese pet trade and not their fat back pockets from developers.
     
  16. Those were the days indeed! I remember being given two Greek Tortoises by the then director of the Perth Zoo in the early 60s when I was at school - they had been handed in and the zoo didn't want them. They used to roam my backyard and come for treats when I banged the bottom of a saucepan with a spoon. I had them for about 5 years until they were stolen :(! Nobody really cared in those days...

    Jamie
     
  17. Klaery

    Klaery Well-Known Member

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    Firstly the paper shows that even during a very abnormally cold period that animals still survived. Other than that I'll leave it alone.. Can't argue with that kind of attitude.
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2014
  18. Cold "snaps" rarely kill tropical reptiles - prolonged periods of cold weather do, however. Green Iguanas and other supposedly fragile species also live quite well in Florida, because apart from occasional brief periods of cold weather, it is otherwise a very mild climate, hence the Winnebago migration in winter. There is no doubt that there has been a focussed political agenda in the US to generate negative attitudes to the breeding, sale and keeping of large constrictors, but the issue of Burms and other large constrictors in the Everglades is strictly a separate one, despite the linking of the issues to suit the various propagandas.

    Jamie
     
  19. Owzi

    Owzi Well-Known Member

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    Interesting read from the Barkers regarding the Burm's in the Everglades-
    http://vpi.com/sites/default/files/Snow_OpenLTR_001_4.pdf

    How many exotic species would be required to satisfy the pet trade?
    I think we are lucky enough in Australia to have the species we do.
    At the same time I think if say a private keeper had a Burmese Python in Melbourne that was captive born, been thoroughly vet checked & given the all clear- what threat would that pose? Escapes are the best example in this thread of what would be a big negative- however I don't see a tropical species surviving long down south!

    This is the argument I have for people in Tassie, why couldn't they be given the all clear to own some tropical mainland species? Nothing will survive escapeing down there.

    The biggest change I believe we need in Oz is to allow legal export of our captive bred animals. Good way to combat smugglers & great for the industry. It would have to be well policed to ensure it isn't wild caught animals being exported.
    If only we had a national body representing us...
     
  20. adderboy

    adderboy Active Member

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    Depends on what you call tropical. Would not be surprised if something like pseudechis australis, for instance, would survive. They are found over such a wide area of the mainland, across a wide variety of conditions. There are likely to be a few others, too, which then raises the question of how you determine what would and would not survive. And I wouldn't be at all surprised if a Burm would find the Queensland/NT tropics much to its liking.

    But I agree with your initial comment that we are lucky to have the species we do. Which is a good thing because I doubt the laws around keeping exotics are going to be relaxed any time soon.

    Simon
     
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