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CONTACTS:
CO David Eskeland (603) 271-3361
Col. Jeffrey Gray (603) 271-3128
September 12, 2003


Venomous Snakes Seized by N.H. Fish and Game

CONCORD, N.H. - The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, assisted by the Merrimack Police, seized five venomous snakes from the residence of a Merrimack man yesterday evening. The owner of the snakes is expected to be charged today with five counts of possessing venomous reptiles without a permit, which could incur fines of up to $6,000. The seized snakes included a banded rock rattlesnake and several species native to India and North Africa, including two cobras, a horned adder and a rhino viper.

"It's important for people to know that they can't own these venomous snakes," said Fish and Game Conservation Officer David Eskeland. "You're not allowed to keep venomous reptiles without a permit from Fish and Game, and currently not one person in New Hampshire has such a permit."

New Hampshire has very strict laws governing possession of venomous reptiles in the state because of serious health issues involved, according to Eskeland. For example, anti-venom may not be readily available in the event of a bite by an exotic snake. If the reptiles escape their enclosures, they could endanger people in the community. Also, the permitting system requires Fish and Game to conduct inspections to ensure that the reptiles are enclosed and handled properly.

New Hampshire has one naturally occurring venomous snake, the timber rattlesnake. A state-endangered species, timber rattlesnakes are illegal to possess in New Hampshire. In the rare circumstance these non-aggressive snakes are encountered, they should be left alone.

If you have seen or are in possession of a venomous snake, please call Fish and Game at (603) 271-3361.

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