Python Problems

Invasive species can be a real problem for the environments that they are introduced to. Whether it’s the lionfish in the Florida Keys or rabbits multiplying in Australia, they can affect and even destroy ecosystems beyond repair. But one subject that I really feel strongly about is the increasing problem of large pythons in Southern Florida.

 These pythons were brought over from their native countries and regions so that people could domesticate them and keep them as pets. Some species of snake stay small but others like the reticulated python can grow up to 20 feet long. Due to the owners being unable to care for these large and often very expensive animals, their solution is to release them into the wild. This is where the snakes are introduced into ecosystems where they do not belong, eating much of the food source of other animals and sometimes finding their way back into urban settings.

 The reason I feel so strongly about this subject is because I have a real passion for snakes. I’ve always wanted one of my own and have taken care of them in the past. I realize that they are causing a problem for local species, and I do think that something should be done about it, but when you have bands of hunters seeking these snakes out and killing as many as they can, I can’t help but feel that this is a bad course of action.

 This also reminds me of an even worse subject which is the Rattlesnake Roundups that happen in places like Texas and New Mexico. On one hand in Florida you have people hunting a species that has invaded their ecosystem, but in the instance of the Rattlesnake Roundup, you have people competing in a contest to go out in the Rattlesnakes own native habitat and kill as many of these snakes that are sometimes even endangered. They blame these snakes for injuries and deaths they cause, often when someone has irritated them or entered their territory, but it is also the Rattlesnake’s venom that cures people and makes certain medicines.

 The growing population of pythons in South Florida has led to lawmakers considering the banning of certain snake species as pets. This is extremely unfair to the large community of snake owners and breeders who actively care for these animals and even make a living off of them. They get a very bad reputation from the few people who were unable to care for those snakes. The same thing is happening with the pitbull breed right now, they are getting bad press because of owners that have not treated them correctly.

 There are other solutions to the python problem that doesn’t involve killing so many of them. Instead they could be captured and relocated to specially made sanctuaries to house them just as certain groups have been doing with problem alligators. There are a lot of possibilities that haven’t been looked into yet and I hope that we can come to a much less violent solution in the future.

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3 thoughts on “Python Problems

  1. Being an animal lover, it’s hard to agree with any sort of animal killing. We cause these problems ourselves and it seems the only way to solve anything is to kill everything. We kill alligators because they accidentally wondered in someones backyard. We kill pitbulls because we treat them poorly. We kill animals because we’re an irresponsible superior race. Hopefully we find a better solution to these growing populations that doesn’t involve more destruction. Before you know it, we’ll be the cause of mass animal extinction.

  2. It pains me to hear about hunting animals down to decrease a population, especially pythons. I understand its hurting alligators and invading territory (everglades), but I agree with you when you say maybe move them to their proper location. We, as humans, think that killing some population won’t hurt them, in reality it does. How would we feel if they wanted to kill off our population? We don’t really think about what’s best for the animals, only best for ourselves.

  3. It’s a difficult decision to make, but the ends do justify the means in most of these decisions on having to hunt a certain type of species so the rest of the ecosystem can survive. When you think about it in the long run, once these predators have wiped out their food source because of their rapid growth being close to unstoppable, they would either starve or resort to cannibalism in order to survive.

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