• Switzerland's news in English
 

Border guards seize pythons at French border

Published: 28 May 2013 22:23 GMT+02:00

The snakes were discovered by agents at Goumois, at the French border, when they checked a vehicle registered in France last week, the Swiss federal customs administration said on Tuesday.

Their attention was drawn by a polystrene box in the back of the car.

When they opened it, the customs officials discovered the snakes coiled inside.

The royal python is a listed species under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

The reptiles being brought from France were destined for illegal sale in Switzerland, customs officials said.

The pythons were seized and placed in a vivarium in Switzerland, customs said.

An investigation was opened into the case by the customs anti-fraud department in Basel.

It turns out there have been other similar seizures of the species by Swiss customs officials.

Last September, officials in Stein in the canton of Aargau caught a German man attempting to smuggle a royal python across the border in a van, along with four other snakes, including two boa constrictors, and four geckos.

The man was fined 1,200 francs after he was unable to provide the necessary documents proving ownership of the reptiles.

The royal python, a non-venomous snake that commonly grows to a length of about 120 centimetres, is native to an area of Africa stretching from Senegal to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Experts believe it got its name from reports that Cleopatra, the Egyptian pharaoh, wore the colourful snakes as bracelets around her wrists.

Although the python is not currently considered to be endangered, it was listed under an appendix to CITES in a bid to regulate trade in the species. 

Malcolm Curtis (news@thelocal.ch)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Right-wing group seeks national face veil ban
Member of the Islamic Central Council of Switzerland wears niqab while distributing flyers in Ticino against veil ban in 2013. Photo: Fabrice Coffrrini/AFP

Right-wing group seeks national face veil ban

The same group that launched the initiative to ban the construction of new minarets in Switzerland is now seeking a national law to prohibit the wearing of veils and other face-covering headgear. READ  

Swiss docs 'worst' for leaving items in patients
Photo: AFP

Swiss docs 'worst' for leaving items in patients

Swiss hospitals may have a good reputation but doctors from Switzerland have the worst record in Europe for leaving medical instruments or “foreign bodies” inside patients after operations, according to an OECD report. READ  

UN rights chief alarmed over Egypt clashes
Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein: worried by Egypt developments. Photo: UNHRC

UN rights chief alarmed over Egypt clashes

The United Nations human rights chief in Geneva voiced deep concern on Tuesday over the killing of at least 20 people in clashes between demonstrators and security forces in Egypt in recent days. READ  

Novartis notches higher profit on strong sales
Photo: AFP/File

Novartis notches higher profit on strong sales

Swiss pharmaceuticals giant Novartis said on Tuesday that strong sales of new products helped push its net profit up 12 percent in 2014 from the previous year despite harsh competition from cheaper copycat generic drugs. READ  

Swiss ski resorts offer exchange rate deals
Obersaxen ski area. Photo: Switzerland Tourism

Swiss ski resorts offer exchange rate deals

Certain Swiss ski resorts are offering European tourists discount exchange rates for the euro to offset the impact of the strong franc, although some critics are not happy about the practice. READ  

Wikileaks slams Google 'attack on journalism'
Baltasar Garzón: Google's action "illegal and unacceptable". Photo: Rodrigo Buendia/AFP

Wikileaks slams Google 'attack on journalism'

A controversial Spanish former magistrate slammed Google in Geneva for handing over emails from Wikileaks staff to the FBI without informing the whistle-blowing website. READ  

Refugees get 'priority over foreigners' for jobs
Photo: Seco

Refugees get 'priority over foreigners' for jobs

The federal government is backing moves by the cantons, municipalities and employers’ groups to give priority to hiring refugees living in Switzerland over workers from outside the country. READ  

Horseplay triggers A1 motorway vehicle crash
Photo: Saint Gallen cantonal police

Horseplay triggers A1 motorway vehicle crash

Too much horsepower — literally — was blamed for causing a costly motor vehicle accident on the A1 motorway in the canton of Saint Gallen. READ  

Anglo expats mine creativity to earn crust
Gareth Knott: "Thankfully design is a universal language." Photo: Handout

Anglo expats mine creativity to earn crust

Switzerland’s job market is appealingly lucrative but sometimes anglophones need to be creative to find a job in a country where English is not an official language, as The Local's Emily Mawson finds out. READ  

Libya talks struggle to build on unity deal

A new round of peace talks between Libya's warring factions resumed in Geneva on Monday as the country continued to struggle with divisions. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Sponsored Article
Avoid the costs of wild Swiss currency swings
Features
Anglophone expats in Switzerland mine creativity to earn crust
National
Number of 'immigrants' swells to third of Swiss population: report
International
Pricey Switzerland tops latest global cost of living study
National
Swiss travel agents and retailers cut prices after franc surge
Technology
Solar Impulse team unveils round-the-world route for sun-powered plane
Business & Money
Swiss central bank's shock move to let franc rise sparks debate
National
Markets panic as Swiss National Bank scraps euro rate cap
National
VIDEO: Swiss soldiers publish pictures of antics on internet
National
A portrait of modern Switzerland in ten stats
National
Europe in statistics - from Spain to Sweden
Features
Geneva-based expat pens seismic novel about Haitian homeland
Features
Tons of explosives finally removed from hundreds of Swiss sites
International
'Don't succumb to fear': Swiss President Sommaruga on terrorism
Sport
Federer claims historic 1,000th win at Brisbane tennis tournament
National
Swiss newspapers condemn deadly Charlie Hebdo terror attack
Business & Money
Hackers steal client information from Geneva cantonal bank
National
Charlie Hebdo terror attack in Paris sparks Swiss rallies
National
Pop star Madonna leaves her mark during Swiss mountain holiday
National
Disassembled Solar Impulse heads to Emirates in jumbo jet
National
US ambassador in Bern sparks flap over Swiss ski lift line 'chaos'
National
New President Sommaruga lauds 'bold' Swiss democracy
National
Hopes fade of finding missing Scottish researcher still alive
National
Scientists in Lausanne and Belgium step up search for alien life
National
Nude 'selfie' mayor heads Switzerland's top ten scandal list
Features
The Local's top ten snow sport alternatives to skiing in Switzerland
Culture
Suspected stabber Nabilla given conditional release from detention
International
Swiss hotel school grad 'hero' among Australian café siege victims
Business & Money
Switzerland cracks top ten list of best countries for business
Business & Money
Swiss National Bank imposes negative interest rates
Politics
Federal cabinet ministers rapped for accepting new limouisines
International
Swiss chocolate café at centre of hostage-taking drama Down Under
National
Why has The Local got a new logo?
Features
Exploring the 'most beautiful village' in French-speaking Switzerland
Business & Money
Italian thieves steal 260 tons of Swiss Lindt & Sprüngli chocolate
National
World's longest train tunnel — under the Swiss Alps — set to open in 2016
National
Porn film on video screen spices up fare at Swiss McDonald's restaurant
National
Masturbation scene in Swiss TV ad for Media Markt draws complaints
National
Cantonal lawmakers end 'happy hours' tippling in Vaud pubs and bars
Politics
Former concert pianist Sommaruga elected as next Swiss president
Culture
Jailed German art forger's paintings go on sale at Bern gallery
Business & Money
Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad's family listed as Switzerland's richest
Features
Long-time expats face dilemma: to be or not to be a Swiss citizen
National
Switzerland's voters massively reject strict immigration limits
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

2,278
jobs available