A 23-year-old resident of Mevaseret Zion was arrested in the Jerusalem suburb on Tuesday last week for the possession and sale of Burmese and reticulated pythons, Israel Police said.
The suspect was transferred for further investigation on suspicion of animal abuse, failure to take precautions with the animal, and possession of drugs.
Authorities raided the suspect's home in Mevaseret Zion and found two Burmese pythons and one reticulated python. They also seized weapons and a substance suspected to be illegal drugs.
The suspect did not possess any kind of permit to own wild animals, according to police, and was keeping them in poor conditions that posed a threat to their well-being.
Nature and Parks Authority National Wildlife Crime Prevention Unit official Yaniv Shalom explained: "The snakes that were caught today were kept under substandard conditions and transferred to a protected shelter. I would like to stress that the variety of species allowed for private possession and trade is published on the website of the Nature and Parks Authority...Of course, the animals must be kept in [appropriate] conditions."
Illegal animals seized earlier this year
In March, a number of illegal species of turtles, snakes and newts were seized by Israel Police and Nature and Parks Authority in a black market raid in the Jerusalem area.
The animals seized are worth tens of thousands of shekels. Some of them were particularly dangerous species that could pose risks to humans and the environment, transmit zoonotic diseases, could become invasive or were just very rare and exotic animals smuggled into the country.
Some of the animals seized in the raid include, but are not limited to:
- Red-eared slider, a type of turtle infamous for being one of the single worst invasive species in the world
- Albino slider turtle
- Snakes belonging to the Boiga genus, also known as cat snakes or cat-eyed snakes
There are different types of reptiles and amphibians that can be legally sold or kept by individuals, and a list of them is available on the Nature and Parks Authority website.