Trade in python snakes and python products


Report no:

Publishing: 13.06.2023

Key message:

VKM shall assess the impact international trade in python snakes and python products has on wild python populations.

The risk assessment is commissioned by the Norwegian Environment Agency to be used for processing permits on import and export of pythons and python products to and from Norway.


The risk assessment will be based on criteria set out by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of wild fauna and flora (CITES). The assessment primarily concerns the species that are registered as imported or exported to/from Norway since 2010. Based on this limitation the risk assessment will mainly focus on 17 species of the family Pythonidae.

VKM shall describe population trends, and the prevalence of legal and illegal capture of snakes and captive breeding. Based on the aforementioned factors, VKM will assess whether trade is a threat to these species’ populations.


There is extensive trade in snakes globally. Millions of snakes are exported for trade as live animals for the pet-trade market and as skins to be used for belts, bags, and shoes. Furthermore, snakes are used in traditional medicine and as food.

Pythons are the most common snakes in commercial trade, with ball python (Python regius) being the most traded snake listed in the CITES Appendices.

Captive breeding of snakes is common, but for many species, animals are also taken from the wild.

Project group

The project group comprise of:

· Hugo de Boer, chair of the Panel on CITES (Chair of the project group).

· Berit Gerkhe, member of the Panel CITES

· Alexander Kopatz, member of the Panel CITES

· Matthew Grainger, member of the Panel CITES

· Jo Skeie Hermansen, VKM Secretariat (project manager)

The risk assessment shall be assessed and approved by the VKM Panel on CITES and will be published by mid-June 2023.


Jo Skeie Hermansen

Project manager, PhD

M: 482 00 409
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The Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food and Environment

T: 21 62 28 00

P.O. Box 222 Skøyen
0213 Oslo

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