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‘Man-Eating Super Snakes’ — and Rep. Tom Rooney — on Animal Planet

by George Bennett | June 7th, 2011

Rooney with a dead python in 2009.

U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Tequesta, will be featured in a Man-Eating Super Snake episode on the Animal Planet channel on Wednesday at 8 p.m. to talk about the Everglades python menace.

On the show, the congressman discusses his proposed legislation to protect the Everglades and surrounding communities by restricting the importation of Burmese pythons, African rock pythons and the like. The snakes threaten people, pets and farm animals and can also cause extensive damage to Florida’s ecosystem.

“Banning the importation of these dangerous snakes is critical to the survival of the Everglades and the surrounding ecosystems,” said Rooney. “These invasive predators are causing severe damage to our native wildlife, and they need to be eradicated.”

31 Responses to “‘Man-Eating Super Snakes’ — and Rep. Tom Rooney — on Animal Planet”

  1. Jamie Beck Says:

    Politicians “know” what they are told by their handlers. The Gentleman from Florida is sadly undereducated. Listing to the Lacy Act is undeserved and an abuse of power. Florida has already enacted very tough rules to clamp down on personal ownership and the problem is not, and will not, be an issue in the rest of the US. Even the FWC admits that the python problem has greatly been reduced by the winter cold (possibly nearly eliminated). Yet our Representatives continue to make hay at the citizenry’s expense.

  2. Angry Citizen Says:

    Tom Rooney is someone I could get behind for U.S. Senate. I am so sick of the three RINOs we have right now.

  3. Dolphin Says:

    The sky is falling!!!!The sky is falling!!!!
    There is also an oncoming problem with ill tempered sea bass equipped with laser beams!

  4. gator.retic.monitor Says:

    Here we go yet more ignorant ideas by uneducated folks with bias an fear of pythons you simple minded man these pythons were not released by owner but a hurricane which destroyed two breeding facilities an your brilliant bans,permits will only make the problem escalate as people will find ways to aquire these animals legal or not an they will become big money for those willing to risk importing the snakes illegaly an when these owners can no longer maintain or keep their animals they will have little choice due to your foolish bans but to release them rather than face criminal charges also the animals will be deprived of proper medical care when needed for the same reason! Your only going to enhance the problem not solve it good job genius glad to know my leadership is comprised of idiots realy reasures me to have faith in my government officials outstanding job morons! Do some real research before you go jumping to conclusions which will damage a billion dollar industry an cause extreme economical troubles an make good citizen instant criminals an yet do nothing to fix what is wrong only make it worse!

  5. kerry derry Says:

    Rooney’s jumping on the bandwagon. We’ve been trying to outlaw the importation of these types of pythons for years now. Maybe Rep.Rooney just needs alittle lengthening of his political resume,ya think?

  6. BULL Says:

    ROONEY! You know NOTHING about snakes, you DICKHEAD!
    I’m just happy we purposely did a SHI* JOB when painting your house in Palm Beach!

  7. Matt Says:

    Banning the importation of these snakes will not make a difference. The state of Florida has already enacted strict rules regarding these animals to prevent their release into the wild. And it’s a proven fact that the Burmese pythons in the everglades came from an importers warehouse that was destroyed in a hurricane. Also, recent data shows that these tropical species CAN NOT survive cold weather. So all this boils down to is a selfish politician trying to make political hay at the expense of the public’s fear of “man-eating super snakes”.

  8. Ed Says:

    It doesn’t matter if you ban them or not, some douchebag will always find a way to get a snake that is non native to the area b/c it is “cool” to watch a snake eat a mouse or a rat. People who own snakes are generally attention starved people who couldn’t get attention if they had a dog like the rest of the normal people. Hey snake people, if you are so into snakes why not get one native to the area like a nice coral snake or a water moccasin, you guys aren’t sp brave when it comes to venomous snakes apparently but when it comes to feeding small rodents to them, you are real tough guys

  9. Spence Says:

    Snakes? Fear not. Politicians. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

  10. Oscar Says:

    Hey ed, you can adopt the snake in my pants. But beware, he is a spitting cobra.

  11. kerry derry Says:

    IKR@Spence Wait till we get more pics of Rooney with his man-eating snake. All of these politicans have some photos,right? Or does it just seem that way lately?

  12. nemo Says:

    We don’t need a snake hunting season. We should have open season on these invasive killers. 24/7/365. It needs to be legal to kill them at all times.

  13. Jack Says:

    It’s a good idea but it’s probably already too late. They’re hear, they’re multiplying and they have no natural preditors… the Pythons that is.

  14. Kevin Says:

    Why do I get the feeling that Jamie Beck, gator.retic.monitor, and BULL are the same person? These snakes are not indigenous to Florida and do not belong here. They are killing the native animals and should be eradicated. Who needs a reptile for a pet anyway? Much less one that can become large enough to swallow a child whole. Rooney’s a republican though, doesn’t he realize that it’s more important o give tax cuts to corporations than it is to save our eco system. He must be a, what is it you call them, a RINO yeah that’s it.

  15. URI Says:

    Much more BOLD… and proposed for nearly a decade now…:

    Commercialize taking of any alligator over 8 feet in lenght year ’round!!

    Set up inspected meat processing plant and prep hides for leather goods.

    We have unemployed adventurist that would make it profitable…

    … and we get the sustainable protein and leather goods!

    Allow these professionals to take ANY invasive snakes YEAR ’round… pythons, green anacondas, cobras, brown tree snakes, etc.

    Consider processing meat and skins at same facilities as sanitation allows.

    The cold winters did NOT harm the snakes… as reported here by Florida biologists for Fish and Wildlife!!

    Saying otherwise is a LIE! Critter eliminators are killing pythons up to Vero Beach…

  16. wha wha Says:

    Check out the snake in Weiners shorts!

  17. SerpentControl Says:

    If pythons are outlawed, only outlaws will have pythons!

  18. Kyle Says:

    Tom Rooney and his cohorts tried to add pythons, boas, and anacondas to the Lacey Act legislatively and he was shot down. Now he’s trying to do it with a regulatory rule change, and he will be shot down again.

    Why? Because Tom Rooney is WRONG.

    First, banning importation and interstate transportation of these animals will do NOTHING about the wild population in the everglades. It will only hurt the captive bred reptile industry. The pythons in the everglades are a result of the destruction of a breeding facility during hurricane Andrew back in 1992. The pythons have been surviving without the aide of humans ever since.

    Second, because these animals cannot survive the winter months any further north than the southern tip of Florida, there is absolutely NO reason to enact federal regulations against them. It’s a problem that can only exist in Florida.

    Third, Tom Rooney is not using science and fact to support his proposals. He’s using ideological bias, and scare tactics to play on the peoples’ fear of these animals to try and sneak useless rule changes through that will hurt the economy and waste tax-payer dollars.

  19. LR Says:

    QUICK! Close the door! The horses are out of the barn! BTW, it is physically impossible for any of these snakes to eat a man…it can’t get past the shoulders. Shame on you, junk science.

  20. EricWI Says:

    Scientific study after scientific study have been done on the Everglades pythons proving what anyone even remotely knowledgeable in the biology and captive husbandry/propagation of pythons have already long known-that these animals cannot inhabit the southern third of the U.S, or even the cooler temperatures and cold spells Florida has experienced over the last several years. For example, all snakes in the Dorcas study conducted in SC died even when provided artificial refugia. Another study by Mazzotti proved that nine out of ten telemetered pythons perished in the cold. A panel of 11 independent and well respected scientists have widely criticized such proposal as being “unscientific” and “unsuitable as the basis for legislative or regulatory policy”.

    Numerous federal legislation and regulatory policies have been introduced on the subject matter for a number of years now, beginning with S373/HR 2811 sponsored by Representative Bill Nelson. These two bills failed, and science and truth prevailed. The state of Florida has then responded to this issue, which has thus far remained a relatively localized problem in southern Florida by recently amending their laws and regulations pertaining to the ownership and possession of Reptiles of Concern (ROCs). A federal rulemaking change is now also underway to determine whether or not to add these nine species to the injurious wildlife listing of the Lacey Act.

    It is most unfortunate and shameful that Animal Planet, a once reliable and well respected source of information pertaining to nature and the natural world has chosen to so blatantly ignore these facts, as well as the truth, in favor of what is little more than heavily sensationalized, and fear mongering “junk science”, all in the name of “entertainment” and ratings.

    Mr. Representative Rooney, I must ask, with all of this under consideration, hasn’t this dead horse been beaten for long enough?

  21. Sandy Says:

    Strange… I keep reading people say that the cold weather killed most of the snakes but I recently read an article from a Miami newspaper by one of the wildlife people that he was surprised to find a large number of snakes still alive in the Everglades. From what I remember reading apparently it was the larger snakes that didn’t make it – but there were still plenty of smaller snakes to make them a threat to native wildlife.

  22. EricWI Says:

    It would not surprise me to hear of such claims. After all, their funding and grant money depend on it!

  23. Snakeman Raymond Hoser Says:

    Well the “science” is in. The killer pythons are about to over-run the USA.
    The government says so, so it must be true.
    We have the same issue here in Australia. As a “dummy run” for the Python ban, the government says surgically devenomized snakes regenerate venom and are killers.
    It’s never happened here yet, but never let the truth get in the way of legislation designed to criminalize law-abiding citizens.
    This is especially when so-called scientists in the herpetological community rush out to give “sworn” evidence of the dangers of devenomized snakes, burmese pythons and the like.
    For more on how dangerous the pythons really are and the massive public safety risk of devenomized snakes, go to: and remember your kids are at risk!

  24. Someone404 Says:

    Looking at some of these comments, it really disturbs me how many people actually want legislative discrimination against reptile lovers. Need I remind everyone that the most invasive species is the DOMESTIC CAT!? No one’s going around banning them!

    URI, what proof do you have that Burmese Pythons can stand freezing temperatures? NONE! They are cold-blooded! Their temperature is affected by their environment! Wouldn’t surprise me if you didn’t know that.

    I will not argue as to whether these snakes are a problem in Florida, but to take it out on every reptile lover across the nation and try to strip them of their right to have a pet just because of a State issue is both disturbing and uncalled for, especially since Florida has already banned these snakes.

  25. SnakeMan1950 Says:

    Ed & Kevin:
    What about someone like me?
    I make my living and have been doing so for the last 30 yrs exhibiting gigantic pythons at state fairs all over the U.S.A.
    My entire livelyhood and support of my family has been built upon and is dependent on the successful business I’ve worked so hard for and which has taken many years to achieve. Am I supposed to give up and go bankrupt? This is no hobby or game to someone like me. I take this very seriously.
    As I said I EXHIBIT them only. I DO NOT breed them or sell them. My licenses and all paperwork have always been maintained and in order at all times.I have NEVER had a snake escape,bite anyone or become a nuisance in any way nor would I EVER allow that to happen.
    To suddenly deny me the ability to support my family in this way would be a very unjust thing.
    Oh, and I feed my snakes chicken quarters that I buy for 50 cents a pound by the freezer load,never live animals.
    Please do not encourage them to ruin my life.
    Thank you.

  26. Markham904 Says:

    I’m a reptile guy to the core, but I wholeheartedly support treating these non-native invasive animals as vermin and killing them on sight. Snake people need to take a reality check, too–we’ve got to stop seeing invasive pythons, breeding unchecked, as our pets. Yes, cold will prevent them from spreading northward, but actively killing them off is the only way to consolidate any victory Nature has given us.

    That said–as to Mr. Rooney’s claims, what a load of nonsense. This is a problem endemic to Florida and should be handled at the Florida level. And as to the potential of rock pythons and Burmeses interbreeding–yes, it’s been done in captivity. Yes, I suppose a lonely rock python could hook up with a Burmese in the wild. But this wouldn’t lead to a “super snake.” It would lead to something the size of a Burmese or rock python.

    Incidentally, I have normal pets as well at my house–a golden retriever and two cats. I have snakes because I like reptiles, they’re simple to keep, and I always feed frozen-thawed rodents, never live. I find it no more exciting than feeding my dog, nor have I ever needed my dog, cats or snakes to improve my social life, thanks.

  27. Jamie Beck Says:

    I don’t believe any of the pro-reptile people here have stated that the loose pythons should be left alone; only that reptile owners should be left alone.

    I’m sure Kevin would like to believe that snake people are few in number and sneaky multi-posters, but get over yourself.

    URI: A Google search will tell you who is lying. From the Washington post, “Our scientists believe that 50 percent of the population of Burmese pythons was decimated with the recent cold snap,” declares Pat Behnke, chief spokeswoman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, with evident relief. As a result, “we are not finding them alive in great numbers. And the ones that we are finding alive are not in good shape,” says Behnke, adding that officials now have some degree of comfort that the snakes are unlikely to migrate north.”

    Plus, FWC does issue year round permits for removing invasive snakes, but they warm that the mercury levels in the snakes are so high, that you shouldn’t eat them!

    I like the fact that my snakes feel no need to worship me like “man’s best friend” does. Are all “normal” pet owners unable to charm an animal themselves, or just you Ed. Maybe if they ban my snake, you’ll pay the $10,000 bond that’s required to have venomous snakes. Put your money where you mouth is?

  28. DiamondCreek Says:

    I am very disappointed in Animal Planet. What happened to scientific inquiry and the dissemination of truth?

    The Florida python issue is a Florida issue, not a national one. Treat it as a Florida issue, as a wildlife issue, but not an issue for law abiding reptile owners.

  29. Roger Says:

    Wow! Some of these people really are inteligent on here. Let’s take Ed for example: What I feed my snakes is rodents, does that make me a tough guy? It’s what they eat in the wild. I enjoy my snakes as well as the rest of my animals, which include my dog,cat,3 birds, 3 turtles, my headgehog, bearded dragon,and leopard gecko. I don’t have them for attention, most people don’t even know what I have. I don’t have to run around telling everyone:Hey I have snakes, cool huh!!. The only animal that my neighbors know I have is my dog when I let him out, in a fenced in yard by the way. Maybe I’m just trying to fit in with the “normal” people like you. On the subject of venomous snakes, I only handle them when necessary. Like getting one out om my yard so the dog doesn’t get bitten, or even getting them out of the neighbors yard the other day when she was running around yelling about a snake. I grabbed my snake hook and a bucket and removed the snake, which by the way was a native Eastern diamondback. If it wasn’t for me her,her kids,or her dog could have been bitten. And I didn’t keep them because I don’t have a venomous license. I relocated them to a local,un-populated area to keep them from coming into contact with other people. And to hopefully spare their life from a scared person who would kill them, along with other harmless snakes that they think are “poisonous” as most of the population would say. By the way where does your dog originally come from? Not America. Same with cats and most other animals in the pet trade. All my snakes come from America.

  30. Jamie Beck Says:


    I feed my snakes culled, frozen, farm raised rabbits. I’m making use of a agricultural waste product. When I chance to find a rat at my house, I live trap it and set it loose elsewhere. I’m SUCH a tough-guy!!

  31. KDLorentz Says:

    Here we go again big brother thinking they know better than us on an issue they know absolutely nothing about.The State of Florida enacted it’s own regulations to take care of the problem in the Everglades.The hysteria started by the US Geological Survey that invasive pythons could spread from Florida to Cali is bordering on bad B grade monster movies.

    All this kind of “expert” thinking has caused legislation to be proposed by lawmakers that know nothing about reptiles and their habitats.If they want to find out real facts they need to start consulting with the people who know these snakes best and stop approaching such concerns with a Hollywood mindset.It is a poor line of thinking to base a law on.

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