Exotic animals as pets can pose threat to domestic species
For the second time in the last several months, base Land and Wildlife Resources staff have responded to reports of “huge, strange looking snakes” on base. The first was a ball python found in a barracks and the second was a red tailed boa in a parking lot. Neither of these species of snakes are native to the United States, and certainly not North Carolina. Exotic (non-native) animals can pose various threats to the environment, human health and safety, and even the economy. According to the National Park Service, nearly half of the endangered plants and animals in the United States have been negatively affected by non-native, invasive species.
Many of the plants and animals on base have evolved and adapted to coexist successfully, but are not equipped to handle a new, exotic species in their habitat. An exotic species may prey on native species, have no predators, outcompete native species for food or other resources, introduce diseases, or interrupt a native species’ life cycle in some way. There are many other issues that introduced exotic species can cause. Exotic species are typically introduced by people who own them as pets, and are either intentionally released or they escape their enclosures.
Not only can exotic animals cause many environmental problems, but having them as pets is also not permitted according to Base Order 10570.1. Individuals living within base housing areas are permitted to have select domestic animals. Domestic animals do not include wild, exotic animals such as venomous, constrictor-type snakes or other reptiles, raccoons, skunks, ferrets, iguanas, or other “domesticated” wild animals. No privately-owned animals are allowed in work areas, barracks, or bachelor officer or enlisted quarters.
Fortunately, the ball python and red tailed boa were captured by Conservation Law Enforcement and transferred to appropriate individuals to receive proper care. We can avoid introducing damaging species and allow our native ecosystem to thrive by not housing or releasing exotic species on base.
If you see an animal you think may be exotic or you have one that needs to be rehomed, please contact Land and Wildlife Resources (910-451-7235) or Conservation Law Enforcement (910-451-5226) for assistance.