Michigan Native Snake Breeding/Selling

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millmoss
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Joined: June 14th, 2012, 7:30 am

Michigan Native Snake Breeding/Selling

Post by millmoss »

I know this isn't a legal forum, and I'm posting more for curiosity's sake after trying to acquire some Michigan snakes.

Based on the document here:

http://www.michigan.gov/documents/RegsO ... 4917_7.pdf

It sounds like it would be legal to take two redbellied snakes from the wild.

Based on the language here, it would be illegal for me to sell those original wild caught snakes. But what if they turned out to be a pair and had babies?

#5 under personal take says "All reptiles and amphibians taken for personal take shall not be bought, sold or offered for
sale."

It doesn't say anything about the offspring of those animals taken. Do you just assume that they are not to be sold as well? Or do you go by the actual statement?

Also, if it is illegal to sell, would it be illegal to give the offspring away to educational programs, or private parties?

Thanks for any insight.

Jeremy

repaphin
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Location: Southern California

Re: Michigan Native Snake Breeding/Selling

Post by repaphin »

I don't think its illegal to give the babies away. but i think selling them would be. because there is really no proof of it being captive produced, without photo evidence but still i don't think they will allow it.

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chris_mcmartin
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Re: Michigan Native Snake Breeding/Selling

Post by chris_mcmartin »

repaphin wrote:I don't think its illegal to give the babies away. but i think selling them would be. because there is really no proof of it being captive produced, without photo evidence but still i don't think they will allow it.

Generally speaking, regulations like this boil down to "intent to commercialize wildlife." In other words, as you say, giving babies (or the adults) away wouldn't be illegal, because there is no profit motive there. This concept presupposes something inherently bad about selling wildlife--a debate for another thread.

Selling of the babies probably violates that "intent to commercialize" idea, but I'm of the mind that if something is not explicitly prohibited by law, then it's permissible (if not encouraged). However, it seems the folks charged with enforcing the law don't like that idea, because they have no independent means of verifying an animal was captive-bred. Therefore, in a departure from the otherwise nearly-universal concept in this country of "innocent until proven guilty," LE assumes the worst with herp breeders. Never mind the meticulous notes many of us keep on our breeding efforts.

I can't recall a case where someone has gone to trial over this, but it seems like the onus would be on the state to prove the babies were wild-caught, and if nobody could verify they were (e.g. a game warden saw the person collect them, which they couldn't if they were born in the person's house!), then there is no case. Unfortunately, most of the time if this situation were to arise, the cost of paying the fine is less than defending the accusation, and that's how we get (negative) precedent from a legal standpoint, and a mindset of "herpers are a bunch of scofflaws" in the eyes of LE (and the public).

Heaven
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Joined: July 8th, 2012, 6:51 am

Re: Michigan Native Snake Breeding/Selling

Post by Heaven »

The Michigan possession limit for snakes and lizards is 6 total in combination. If you have more than 6 native snakes in your possession (regardless of how they were acquired), you are likely breaking the law.

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ratsnakehaven
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Re: Michigan Native Snake Breeding/Selling

Post by ratsnakehaven »

When I lived in MI for many years, it was illegal to sell any native species. I've been gone for five years now, but I doubt if it has changed. It is also illegal to keep a "listed" species w/o a permit, even if it comes from another state, or even if you bought it at a reptile sale. So you have to be careful which species you keep. Redbelly snakes are legal to keep, as long as you don't exceed the limit, and if they have babies they are ok to give away, I'm sure. It's good to read the regs and make sure you understand them.

PS: Another thing, Jeremy, is that you need to have a fishing license to legally collect herps in MI. There are limits on things like snakes, frogs, and turtles, including size limits on turtles.

TC :crazyeyes:

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