Invasion of the Burmese Python!

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To continue our discussion from class about invasive species, I researched the burmese python problem in the everglades. The python is native to Southeast Asia, but, as sought after exotic pets, and irresponsible owners began releasing them as early as 1979. The pythons were able to adapt extremely well to the humid South Florida wetlands environment because of warm temperatures, plenty of camouflage, and bountiful populations of small and mid sized mammals, amphibians, reptiles, and birds. The estimated population has grown between 5,000 and 180,000. The python has been a specific threat to many endangered and low population species like the Key Largo Wood Rat, Mangrove Fox Squirrel, Key Largo cotton mouse, Wood Stork, Cape Sable seaside sparrow, and American crocodile.  

To defeat the invasion of pythons and the state of Florida has enacted strict import restrictions on any species of large snake and pythons. To also help curb the populations, the state held an annual Python hunting challenge with a 1,500 dollar reward for the hunter with the biggest python yield. Only 68 were caught by the end of the month, a prime example of how difficult it is to find and capture these snakes. The only one natural control of these snakes are harsh cold snaps in the early winter. At least for the moment, the burmese python still reigns at the top of the food chain.

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5 thoughts on “Invasion of the Burmese Python!

  1. It saddens me that we have to kill this species in order for the entire ecosystem to survive, but the ends do justify the means, for if we were to keep them free, they would just devour their prey at such a speed where they wouldn’t have anything to feed on unless they went cannibalistic and started eating their own species.

  2. I’m glad there are laws and restrictions for being able to release snakes into the wild. I have heard many stories in new articles about people buying them for pets and not wanting them anymore. It’s definitely interesting that most invasive species were brought to the area by settlers and other groups of people instead of naturally inhabiting the land.

  3. Unfortunate that the hunting challenge was less than successful. I wonder if a group of professionals would be able to hunt more of them. It’s such a frustrating problem because it seemed so avoidable. I don’t really understand the appeal of keeping these snakes as pets.

  4. Its sad that we have to kill this species because they have such pretty patterns on them, interesting to look at. But I guess they were introduced to a different habitat that makes them invasive.

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