what do you guys think about this essay i wrote for school? if i were to post it somewhere like as an article, i would work on it some more, this is the first draft. any comments would be appreciated
Herptile laws in RI
The herptile (reptile and amphibian) industry has been very involved lately in local laws. Many mishaps have happened in various states, some even including fatal accounts. Also, many herpetologists in certain states have felt like the banned-species list was to large. In Rhode island, there are no laws relating to domestic herps. I have been to dozens of Government websites, and i could not find a single required permit or a single banned herptile. In Florida, On june 1, 2009, a 2-year old toddler was killed by an 8 ft. Burmese Python. In Florida, there is a 100$ fee to own a python, as well as laws requiring the cage to be locked.1 this story is very tragic, but does this mean we should ban Pythons? In my opinion, Florida has the right idea of laws concerning Herps. People need to hold responsibility for their choices and actions, and the government should do what it can to make fair, yet efficient, laws, a perfect example being permits for large and/or dangerous herps, and fines if a person does not comply.
Among recent issues, Maine has made a step forward in leniency for domestic herps. “The Maine Herpetological Society achieved a long-term goal in August: The group helped to expand the list of reptiles and amphibians that Maine herpers can keep.”2 The article goes on to explain how the MHS (Maine Herpetological Society) met with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. An agreement was made that the MHS would provide $1,000 for the MDIFW to research the addition of 50 named species. Upon review, the unrestricted list grew by 43 species and five genera. The U.S. Association of Reptile Keepers helped the MHS in this ordeal. This is a major change for local herpers, and a hopeful sign for herpkeepers everywhere, for through partnerships and compromise, we can reach a common goal.3
Another large issue in herpetology is the burmese pythons in the Florida Everglades. “Burmese pythons are an invasive species that have no place in the Everglades and threaten its delicate ecosystem,”4, says Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. This has been an issue with many other animals in other areas, with various effects. Florida is trying very hard to address this issue. A few different actions have been taken to ease the issue. “A pilot “partner with hunters” program is taking place in Big Cypress National Preserve in which the Park Service and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation are allowing licensed hunters in the preserve to shoot pythons, a non-game species, if they encounter the snakes while hunting.”5 Along with this, prototype traps, thermal imaging, and other new technology is being used to collect data on the thousands of invasive Pythons. All of this is relevant because bad herp keeping can have many profound impacts, and precautions must be taken.
Yet the biggest issue that has been being seen is personal injuries due to Reptiles. With the increase reptile trade, more injuries have occurred. In recent news, as stated before, a life has been lost to bad herpkeeping. On July 1, 2009, Shaiunna Hare, a 2-year old toddler, was killed in her Crib, with a burmese python wrapped around her. Th Burm belonged to the mother’s boyfriend. Sadly, this was a result of poor herpkeeping, the cage was not locked as it should have been.6 If the owner of the Burm had just locked the cage, all of this would have been avoided. Sadly, because of this one incident, many people see these amazing snakes as evil, bloodthirsty savages. In reality, Burms are known to be extremely docile despite their size, commonly reaching 15 ft. Obviously, this is a tragic story, which we all need to learn from.
The reptile community is very strong, and maybe small, and growing rapidly every day. There is a fine line that the government needs to draw, considering that Herpetology is a huge business, and it has a few rare consequences. This topic is very interesting to me because i own a Bearded Dragon and three geckos, which I’m breeding. various bills (like H.R. 669) that have even proposed the abolishment of 90% of non-native species which aren’t native to america. These are far from being passed, but if the government lets incidents like the fore-mentioned happen, we will slowly lose our right to keep reptiles and amphibians. This would be a huge blow to the entire pet industry, possibly causing a domino effect. By simply requiring a permit for species like the burmese pythons or rattlesnakes, we can avoid incidents of bad herpkeeping, which could have deep ramifications if built up and put in the wrong hands.