Snake handler in court over alleged possession of wildlife without a permit

Snake handler in court over alleged possession of wildlife without a permit

A courtroom has been advised a nicely-known Tasmanian reptile handler did not get a allow to continue to keep a carpet python or blotched blue-tongued skink, inspite of the reptiles allegedly currently being located in his possession by wildlife officers. 

Bruce Charles Push, who shot to prominence when he identified a snake with a rare genetic affliction in 2015, has pleaded not responsible to a charge of possession of a controlled animal that has been brought into the state, and possession of guarded wildlife without the need of a permit. 

The Hobart Magistrates Court docket read wildlife officers executed a look for warrant at a Swansea property on the east coast of Tasmania in May well 2019, which resulted in the seizure of a carpet python and a lifeless blotched blue-tongued skink.

It truly is also alleged wildlife officers found a tiger snake in a plastic bag in the freezer, dry snake carcasses in a hearth, frozen toddler snakes in a bottle and a headless snake in the bed room.

Bruce Press from Reptile Rescue Tasmania prepares to have a snake with a spinal disease x-rayed.
The courtroom heard Bruce Press did not have a allow to have a carpet snake.(Reptile Rescue Tasmania)

Office of Main Industries, Parks, Water and Ecosystem (DPIPWE) wildlife ranger Amy Lewis was one of various officers who executed the lookup warrant and told the court the defendant experienced advised her the carpet python came from northern Tasmania. 

“He explained it was previously owned by a person who had stored it as a pet but failed to give any additional certain information than that,” she explained. 

The court was also demonstrated entire body worn digicam footage from wildlife officers throughout the research of the assets the place Ms Lewis can be heard telling a person: “I’m below to see what reptiles you have”. 

A male then replies: “I have not had any reptiles in a even though for the reason that I will not have a allow … oh, that is aside from the deceased snakes.”

The court listened to the are living snake was taken to the DPIPWE New Town investigation laboratories in southern Tasmania, although the other things have been secured in a seizure store. 

Matthew Pauza, who is an invasive species biologist at DPIPWE, explained to the courtroom he was requested to establish the reptile when it arrived in, and seemed at the composition of the animal, the scale pattern on its head, typical physical appearance and colouration. 

“The arrangement of scales on the head are critical markers that set carpet pythons apart from other snakes,” Mr Pauza mentioned.

“The pattern of scale on its head is vastly additional advanced than something we have in Tasmania.”

The court docket also heard that while Mr Press did have a allow to possess safeguarded wildlife issued to him in 2017 for reptiles these kinds of as a tiger snake and copperhead snake, he did not have a permit or authorization to continue to keep a carpet snake and did not utilize for one. 

Mr Press did not look in court docket for the hearing, but prosecutor Elizaveta Belonogoff created an application to Justice of the peace Andrew McKee for the make any difference to be read with no him being current. 

The matter will return to courtroom in April.