Anja Nissen was 12 years old when she received a pet corn snake. It is illegal to keep in Australia.
Anja Nissen, an 18-year-old contestant on The Voice singing show in Australia was a guest on Australia's A Current Affair when she showed off her pet corn snake (Pantherophis guttatus) to host Tracy Grimshaw. Now she has lost it as viewers reported her to the country's NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service for keeping an illegal exotic reptile.
The singer from Australia's Blue Mountains was unaware that the animal was illegal.
“I got Zena when I was 12 years old as a gift and, until now, have been unaware that it is potentially illegal. I am now in the process of formally identifying her and if need be, sadly, finding an exotic pets rescue group that will take her and look after her,” Nissen told the Daily Telegraph.
However, a spokeswoman said that there was no other choice but to euthanize the snake because it is an exotic reptile that could wreak havoc on native species. "Corn snakes are a highly invasive exotic species that pose a real risk to our own native species. They present a serious risk of establishing in Australia as agricultural or environmental pests, carrying pathogens that are capable of spreading diseases to livestock and local wildlife,’’ she said. “We feel for her but there are a lot of legal reptiles you can keep as pets."
Corn snakes are native to North America and are popular pet reptiles. They can grow to about four to five feet length and can live more than 15 years.