MIAMI – An appeals court has ruled the federal government cannot legally stop trade of Burmese pythons and other giant exotic snakes within the continental U.S.
However, snake owners are cautioned not to move their reptiles just yet as other legal challenges may remain.
The United States Association of Reptile Keepers sued in 2013 to overturn a nationwide ban on importing eight constrictor species or taking them across state lines.
In an April 7 decision, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court's ruling that the U.S. wildlife officials didn't have authority to restrict interstate trade of snakes such as Burmese pythons, reticulated pythons or green anacondas.
The Center for Biological Diversity says the court addressed the law's wording but not the data supporting the ban.