‘Care parcel’ of rotting snake heads and larvae denied entry to Germany

When living away from your homeland, you might have relatives or friends send you a care package with a few treats to help keep homesickness at bay.

'Care parcel' of rotting snake heads and larvae denied entry to Germany
The decaying snake heads. Photo: ZOLL

But what happens if this care package contains 20 kilograms of rotting fish, decaying insect larvae and foul-smelling snake heads?  

A parcel containing just that arrived at the customs office in Garching, near Munich on June 7th, the Central Customs Office in Munich told The Local. 

Exactly when the parcel, sent from Zambia, was posted to a private individual in Munich cannot be determined, though it is likely to be weeks ago, The Local understands.  

The reeking package could not be imported into Germany due to the rotting state of the contents and also for animal rights reasons, a press release stated.

“The contents are delicacies, so it is a sort of care packet” said a spokesperson for the Central Customs Office in Munich on Friday. The insect larvae originate from mopane worms, which are consumed as a snack in southern Africa.  

The rotten contents of the package. Photo: ZOLL

The Abend Zeitung reported that after the long journey from Zambia, the snake heads, fish and larvae decayed to such an extent that they wouldn’t have been any good to eat in Germany anyway. 

Officials in the customs office found violations against the protection of the species, since the reptiles were heads of snakes from the boidae family, also known as boas. These snakes are protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).  

“In addition to live animals, such as livestock and domestic animals, animal products such as raw materials and animal waste, meat, milk and dairy products are also subject to veterinary legislation,” explained Marie Müller, spokesperson for the Central Customs Office in Munich in the press release.

Since no species protection documents could be found for them, the package was confiscated and destroyed, stated the press release.