Cross-bred snakes euthanased (Australia)

Twenty snakes have been euthanased after they were found to be a hybrid of two native species.Environment officials in Adelaide say the snakes were advertised for sale by a licensed breeder and were found to be a cross between Bredi pythons and coastal carpet pythons.

Cross-breeding native species is illegal. "We don't like to have to euthanase animals, but there are a number of problems associated with cross-breeding of species," SA fauna permits unit manager Sonya Nicholls said. "We are not trying to stop people from keeping or selling protected natives. But it is very important that everyone who does this understands their legal requirements, as well as their social and environmental obligations."

Ms Nicholls said it was important that breeders maintained the purity of genetic stock to ensure the long-term survival of Australia's native species. If a species becomes extinct in the wild it might become necessary to use captive animals to reintroduce it to its native habitat.