Wildlife Cops Bust Man Selling Pythons on Craigslist

The ad on Craigslist Miami shows a photo of two large black snakes slithering on white carpet. "Ball Pythons for Cheap," the headline reads. "They are very tame and eat one mouse a week."

Scroll down a bit and find a "dwarf pastel Colombian redtail boa" for $160. A bit further, and there's a rainbow boa/leopard gecko combo for $250.

And you thought Craigslist was just for anonymous sex.

Selling exotic animals online is legal long as you have a license. But according to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Miguel C. Ruitort, a 20 year-old Miami man, didn't have the proper papers when he sold undercover cops two pythons on Friday. Pythons are considered "reptiles of concern" because they grow more than two inches in diameter.

Acting on a tip, an officer posed as a buyer and met with Ruitort to do some reptile haggling. The cop bought two snakes for $40, at which point Ruitort confessed he was doing it illegally. The officer then charged him with three misdemeanors: Selling wildlife, possessing reptiles, and selling reptiles without a license.

If you want to keep a "reptile of concern" as a pet, you must get a $100 license from FWC's captive wildlife section. It mandates micro-chipping and specific caging rules.

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Natalie O'Neill
Contact: Natalie O'Neill

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