27 January 2022
Biosecurity officers have seized a prohibited exotic snake found at large in an Ipswich home. The find – late last year – brought the number of American corn snakes (Pantherophis guttatus) detected in Queensland in 2021 to seven.
Member for Ipswich Jennifer Howard said the non-native reptile poses a serious biosecurity risk to the state.
“If released into the wild in Australia, corn snakes could prey on and out-compete native species for resources and spread exotic reptile diseases,” she said. “In addition to the biosecurity risk, these animals suffer horrific deprivations and often die during the illegal smuggling process.”
Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said restrictions on the import, possession and sale of American corn snakes were in place to stop them establishing as a pest in Queensland.
“The American corn snake is a prohibited invasive animal under the Biosecurity Act 2014,” Mr Furner said. “You must not keep, feed, move, give away, sell or release into the environment and penalties of up to $137,850 may apply for dealing with prohibited matter.”
Mr Furner said the latest detection was the 31st American corn snake detected in Queensland since 2014.
“Biosecurity Queensland believes all these detections are associated with unlawful keeping and are part of the illegal international wildlife trade,” he said. “A snake catcher alerted Biosecurity officers to the 126-cm American corn snake in the bedroom of an Ipswich home on Christmas Eve.
“The seized snake has been euthanized and investigations are continuing.”
Anyone who suspects an exotic animal is being kept should call Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23. For more information about the American corn snake as an invasive pest, click here.