Commentary: Pythons must be banned

July 10, 2009 

As a Senate hearing so aptly pointed out Wednesday, the United States needs to take control of the exotic species that have invaded every region of the country. The pest du jour at the hearing was the Burmese python, which Sen. Bill Nelson wants banned from importing and pet store inventories.

In truth there are hundreds of invasive creatures threatening our native species — everything from the zebra snails that plug up power-plant intake pipes in the Great Lakes to the glassy-winged sharpshooter, a bacteria-carrying insect that has caused nearly $40 million in losses in California's wine country.

In all, say scientists with the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, nonnative species — plant and animal — cost the country $100 billion a year.

Mr. Nelson is right: The pythons should be banned. They threaten not just other animals but also humans. Unfurling a 17-foot-long skin of a snake caught in Everglades National Park, Sen. Nelson more than made his point about their danger.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Miami Herald.

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