SHANGHAI: Shanghai Customs is investigating a passenger who brought 121 ball pythons from Hong Kong to Shanghai.
The ball pythons, which are native to Africa, were discovered in an x-ray luggage check at Pudong International Airport.
The passenger, a Chinese man in his 30s, didn’t declare the snakes when he took a flight from Hong Kong to Shanghai.
When questioned by customs inspectors, the passenger claimed the pythons were rubber toy snakes.
But when inspectors asked him to open the luggage and it was obvious that they were alive, the passenger changed his story and said that he brought the snakes in because he wanted to raise them as pets.
Inspectors seized a total of 121 ball pythons wrapped in black stockings in 21 boxes. One of the snakes is 60 centimeters long, said customs officials.
The ball python is a protected species according to international trade conventions on endangered wild animal and plant species, which means it is banned from trade.
Residents are warned not to bring endangered animals and plants into China as this would violate Criminal Law.
The man is being held in custody in connection with the find, but no charges have as yet been brought, officials said.