Feds move to keep big snakes off planes, out of US

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January 21, 2010 6:00:17 AM PST
Federal officials want to keep Burmese pythons and eight other kinds of large snakes out of the country, saying they threaten the environment.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says the snakes escape or are released into the wild, where they threaten sensitive ecosystems like Florida's Everglades.

Salazar announced the proposed ban on importing the snakes at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City. He said New York is the biggest point of entry in the U.S. for imported wildlife.

The proposal will be open to public comment before a final decision is made.

The nine species covered by the proposed ban include the boa constrictor, the green anaconda and the yellow anaconda. The snakes are popular as pets but destructive when released into the wild.