[Australia's snakes qualify for a higher level of protection than its people.]
DSE seizes illegal corn snakes from home of Sunbury man
April 29, 2009 01:48pm
TWO illegal corn snakes have been seized from the home of a Sunbury man.
The 23-year-old Sunbury man has a licence to keep reptiles, but it is illegal to keep, breed or trade corn snakes.
Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) officers executed a search warrant on the man's home last night after a tip-off and found a male and a female snake.
DSE senior investigator Keith Larner said the man was expected to be charged on summons.
He faces fines of up to $24,000.
"While we haven't ascertained that any breeding has gone on here, it's always our worst fear when we find exotic snakes," Mr Larner said.
"Corn snakes are prolific breeders and they pose a real threat to our native snake populations, both through disease and competition for prey if they are released into the wild."
The man found keeping the snakes had "every reason" to fear losing his reptile licence.
"Keeping native reptiles is a privilege, not a right."
DSE has seized about 80 corn snakes over the past eight years, and it is believed there are many more being held illegally.
Corn snakes are native to the corn fields of North America.