A Chinese university student has been detained for rearing nine pythons at his home after buying snake eggs from the internet.
The student from Fujian province was held for illegally purchasing and transporting precious, endangered wild animals.
But the local procurator have to decide whether to order a formal arrest of the detained student, Hong Kong based South China Morning Post reported.
The student, whose name was not disclosed, told police that the pythons hatched from eggs that he purchased online for 100 yuan ($16) each just a week ago, and that they were delivered to him through the mail.
He then placed the eggs in an incubator until they hatched.
He posted pictures of the baby snakes on the internet, prompting several internet users to report it to the authorities.
The snake, also known as royal python or ball python, is a non venomous python species which originated in Africa.
Adults of the species can grow up to 90 and 120 centimetres. These snakes are bred in captivity and are popular as pets in many places of the world.
Fuzhou’s forestry regulator, which oversees wildlife protection in the city, said China treated the animal as a subject of second-degree state-level animal protection.
“We do not recommend individuals to foster Python regius, because as overseas species and (because it is easy for them) to escape, they could potentially impact the local ecology,” an official said.
In 2012, a Jiangxi resident kept a three-metre-long gold python as a pet and drew public attention for “walking” it in a public park.