Venomous Snakes Seized During Arizona Raid Positive for Snake Fungal Disease, Are EuthanizedGreen mangrove pit viper. Photo by Mufti Adi Utomo/Shutterstock

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Venomous Snakes Seized During Arizona Raid Positive for Snake Fungal Disease, Are Euthanized

The individual admitted guilt to criminal charges filed against him and was fined $1,200.

The investigation found that while some of the reptiles were legal to possess, others, such as the Gila monsters (Heloderma suspectum), are illegal to possess.

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The Arizona Game & Fish Department announced on its Facebook page that officers with the department observed venomous reptiles in a residence when dealing with another issue at the residence. The next day, the officers went to further investigate and with a search warrant, entered the residence and found that the snakes had been removed from the residence.


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The investigation found that while some of the reptiles were legal to possess, others, such as the Gila monsters (Heloderma suspectum), are illegal to possess. Some are protected and some are illegal to import into the state. The person who admitted guilt didn’t have a valid hunting license, making none of the reptiles legal to possess in this case. The seized snakes started dying and tests revealed that the non-native snakes carried a snake fungal disease that spread to the native snakes. All the snakes were euthanized because of the disease.

The resident of the house was located several days later and was arrested for tampering with evidence and possession of wildlife that is restricted by the state. The individual then provided the location where the reptiles were moved and when the officers arrived at the location, they found 36 native and non-native venomous snakes and four Gila monsters. The individual apparently admitted to collecting the snakes illegally from the wild, breeding some and purchasing the non-native venomous snakes.

Gila monster

The gila monster is a medium-sized venomous lizard. Photo by reptiles4all/Shutterstock

The individual admitted guilt to criminal charges filed against him and was fined $1,200. The individual was also ordered to pay a $9,684.54 civil penalty for loss of the native reptiles and was ordered to complete a hunter education course before applying for another license to take Arizona wildlife. The person’s hunting, fishing and trapping privileges were also revoked for five years.