The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics - / Bruce Tins­ley

Things are po­lit­i­cally charged even among snakes.

The U.S. As­so­ci­a­tion of Rep­tile Keep­ers is “sus­pi­cious” over the sud­den, much pub­li­cized ap­pear­ance of a 12-foot Burmese python near Tampa, Fla., just as “python ban” leg­is­la­tion goes for a full vote be­fore the U.S. Se­nate. The group be­lieves the snake was de­lib­er­ately let loose by an­i­mal rights ad­vo­cates to sway pub­lic opin­ion — and are of­fer­ing a fat re­ward for in­for­ma­tion about the release, which they say is il­le­gal.

And the leg­is­la­tion? In­tro­duced by Sen. Bill Nel­son, Florida Demo­crat, S. 373 would make it il­le­gal for peo­ple to im­port or en­gage in the in­ter­state trade of “nine danger­ous snakes,” in­clud­ing Burmese pythons, ana­con­das and the boa con­stric­tor. The bill was cospon­sored by Sen. Carl Levin, Michi­gan Demo­crat, and is sup­ported by the U.S. Hu­mane So­ci­ety.

Mr. Nel­son in­tro­duced the bill in Fe­bru­ary af­ter fed­eral park of­fi­cials be­came con­cerned about the num­ber of pet snakes aban­doned in the Ever­glades. But the rep­tile folks think there’s

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