A man from New York City has been charged with smuggling three Burmese pythons from Canada to the United States.
According to NBC News, the man, Calvin Bautista, smuggled the snakes in his pants. He had brought the animals in a bus.
The importation of Burmese pythons is banned in the United States
The federal law lists the Burmese pythons as dangerous to humans. They're also classified as an invasive species in Florida.
The importation and interstate transportation of Burmese pythons are banned. In order to import pythons to the United States, you need to have a permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Bautista didn't have such a permit.
The smuggling incident took place in 2018. Now the suspect has been charged in Albany, New York.
According to NBC News, Bautista could face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
Fort Worth Star-Telegram wrote that Bautista's lawyer refused to comment on the case.
Burmese pythons are one of the largest snakes on Earth
The Burmese python grows up to 16 to 23 feet long. It's one of the largest snake species on Earth. According to a video on National Geographic, the record-holder Burmese python was 25 feet long. The animal weighs up to 200 pounds. The snake is able to swallow prey that is 2 to 3 times wider than its head.
Burmese pythons are native to Southeast Asia. The IUCN (the International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List of Threatened Species classifies the species as vulnerable. That means the animal is at high risk of extinction in the wild.
Loss of habitat and pet trade are the greatest threats for Burmese pythons.
Some people keep these snakes as pets. The Spruce Pets warns that they're not suitable for beginners, are potentially dangerous, and are "best left in the wild".