Pythons in Florida Stalked by Hunters and Tourists Alike

Burmese pythons, an exotic invasive snake, is raising a ruckus in the Everglades-

Pythons are just one of many exotics, mostly released pets, that are destroying the Everglades’ orginal ecosystem, but oddly, making it a weird and interesting place.

8 Responses to “Pythons in Florida Stalked by Hunters and Tourists Alike”

  1. Devin Says:

    I couldn’t get the above link to work. Here it is:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/08/us/08pythons.html

    Thanks Devin. I fixed it now. Ralph. M

  2. monty Says:

    The only critter a large python can’t eat is a 300 pound alligator. Today they are expanding in Florida, tomorrow in Geogia or South Carolina? A couple of years ago they took 10 pythons to South Carlina & put them in a enclosure to determine if they could survive the “cold”South Carolina winter. They just “slept” thru the winter & were in good condition the following summer. This indicates that the pythons will thrive in the southeast part of the US.

    • Paul White Says:

      Nope. That cold snap in Florida killed most of the pythons they were tracking, something like 90%. And that South Carolina experiment you reference was taking place *this year* and isn’t over (lots of us want to find out what happens).
      I breed pythons (not burmese; ball and reticulated). To get them to breed I *cool them down* to all of 70 degrees Farenhiet. Exposure to prolonged temps of less than 70 or so results in lung infections, and eventual death.
      The map that USFW released has come under intense fire, not just from the pet trade or breeders but actual scientist.

      And as far as the Burmese wrecking havoc in the glades; has anyone read the stomach contents that they’ve found? It’s mostly the introducted common rat and the non-endangered rabbit.

      They need to be eliminated from the ‘glades–but so do boars, cats and dogs, which likely do far more harm, and receive no press.
      Florida had, prior to the PR, already undertaken regulations in response to this population and it appears to be working. They’ve instituted permits for ROCs (reptiles of concern) which include reticulated and burmese pythons, nile monitors, and a few others. This burmese population has been going since the mid 1970s. It’s not new and hasn’t “exploded.”

  3. WM Says:

    Anybody know what the status is of the invasive, fast growing, and toothy “snakehead” fish from China, that was illegally introduced to a Crofton, Maryland lake? Maryland DNR declared an all out war on them. I gather they have been found in a few other waterbodies, but it seems not much is being reported recently, after a big scare a couple of years ago. Maybe we dodged the invasive species bullet on that one (maybe?).

    Then there is the Asian (jumping) carp, which can grow up to 60-100 pounds, which has been threatening the Great Lakes, and a $7 billion dollar a year fishery. The youtube videos on this threat to our natural aquatic ecosystems is very disturbing.

  4. monty Says:

    Paul, the information I imparted was from 2 TV programs about the Florida python. Your information is a bit of good news. On the TV program they were giving estimates by the Florida Fish & Wildlife Dep. of upwards to 100 thousand pythons loose in southern Flordia. Who is right? However whatever the number is, the Everglades is excellent python habitat. It would not take many pythons to wipe out the remaining 30 or so Florida panthers not to metion the small florida deer. Indian pythons are found in the Himalayan foothills with the same latitude as South Carolina.

  5. Paul White Says:

    They’ve never actually *done* a population study as such though, that’s the problem. They’ve never done the catch/mark/release/recapture. It’s just a WAG.

    And panthers are rather a lot larger than a pythons normal prey (rabbits, perhaps small deer). For size reference, my reticulated pythons (roughly the same size to a bit bigger) get rabbits. Some *really* big ones like Fluffy or Twinkie may get turkeys or small goats.

    Indian pythons are *not* in fact burmese pythons. They’re a different subspecies of P. molurus, and are more cold tolerant. They’re also on appendix one of CITES and almost never available. Trust me, I’ve been trying to find one in Texas for a while😉

    • Paul White Says:

      I want an edit button.
      Part of the reason reptile keepers are reacting so poorly to this is that the danger from the pythons is being greatly exaggerated, and that we’ve attempted to work with the people pushing the bill and basically been ignored. USARK (industry group) was willing to support a bill banning the importation of these animals, and is in theory fine with some licensing for keeping animals, though it favors these being done state by state, as different states have different climates and different animals are concerns. Those proposals were ignored.

      What happens if this passes is that people like me–who keep and may breed some of these animals but don’t do it for a living–will be caught between a rock and a hard place. If the interstate transport of these animals is barred, I can either never leave Texas, or, if I do leave Texas, I have to somehow get rid of the snakes. This isn’t my living–I work in social services–but it’s a hobby that pays for about 50% of it’s own expenses. I have 6 reticulated and 3 ball pythons, all of which would be illegal to move/sell across state lines.

      During this legislative session there’s been at least 2-3 attempts to ban interstate commerce in different reptiles–one would have banned the interstate sale of *all* nonnative animals (reptiles, fish, birds, etc) and never stood much chance. I mean, who wants to put the entire pet industry out of business? Then there’s this one. There was another one or two that were similar but got shot down.

      Essentially, we feel like we’re being scapegoated for the myriad problems in the glades (let’s ignore habitat loss, boars, cats, dogs, water quality and god knows what else…and focus on pythons that don’t seem to have much effect and have been in place for 30 damn years and treat it like it’s a new issue, yay!) and our efforts at compromise have been ignored. We were willing to go along with banning importation of these species, we were willing to work with some licensing requirements, we were willing to help cull the snakes out of the glades, but it’s not enough to satisfy the people pushing for this.
      There’s also the fact that the organizations pushing for this bill include PETA and HSUS, neither of whom are places I, or most reptile people respect since they both want to entirely eliminate keeping herps as pets.

  6. Peter Kiermeir Says:

    Today on the CNN news portal: New exotic reptile found in Florida:
    http://www.justnews.com/news/23499587/detail.html


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