TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Gov. Charlie Crist has signed a bill banning the ownership of Burmese pythons and other reptiles, and a bill requiring tracking of over-the-counter ephedrine sales.
The reptile bill (SB 318) signed Thursday prohibits importation and personal ownership of seven non-native species.
Burmese pythons have become a problem in the wild when they escape or are released. One killed a 2-year-old Sumter County girl last year as she was sleeping.
The pythons can grow as long as 20 feet.
In the Everglades, pythons that escaped from pet shops during hurricanes or were released by owners who grew tired of them are threatening the region's balance of species.
Florida wildlife officials have licensed trappers to kill pythons. Since 2000, more than 1,200 of the snakes have been removed from Everglades National Park alone. In January, 25 Burmese pythons were captured in South Florida by water management workers.
Over the past three decades, about 1 million constrictors such as the Burmese have been imported into the United States.
The ephedrine law (SB 1050) is designed to help catch those who use of the substance for making illegal methamphetamine.
Crist also signed bills loosening Florida seaport regulations so they'll be more competitive with ports in other states (HB 963) and lifting restrictions on siting homes for developmentally disabled people (SB 1166).
©2007 The E.W. Scripps Co. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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