Python Infestation On Rise In Everglades National Park

Python Infestation On Rise In Everglades National Park

Postby Snake007 » Sun Oct 07, 2007 8:11 pm

Python Infestation On Rise In Everglades National Park; The Infestation Of Burmese Pythons Has Increased As Park Officials Tackle The Difficult Task Of Eradicating Them. (Now Found Outside Park)Miami Herald, by Susan Cocking, 9/3/07

A Burmese python infestation in and around Everglades National Park continues to worsen.

In the past month or so, farmers plowing vegetable fields in the leased 1,500-acre, state-owned tract known as the Frog Pond killed 51 of the exotic reptiles with their heavy equipment. At roughly the same time last year, the farmers killed 44, according to park biologist Skip Snow.

The Frog Pond area is outside the park boundary, north of SR 9336. Snow said cotton rats typically show up there in the late summer to early fall, with the snakes right behind. This is the third year that numbers of pythons have been documented in the area.

"It just shows you the propensity for it," Snow said. "It's not just a few snakes -- it's thousands of snakes that occupy Everglades habitats."

The snakes, native to the Far East, are imported here as pets. Capable of growing 20 feet long, they are often discarded by their owners when they get too big and scary. The largest recovered in the park so far measured 16 feet.

Owing to their large size and scarcity of natural enemies, pythons prey on everything from rodents to birds to house pets. They have even tangled with native alligators -- with mixed results. The released animals have found one another and are now reproducing in the wild.

A few years ago, most were found along the park's main entrance road. But their range has expanded widely. In April, a python that was tracked to Key Largo had consumed two endangered wood rats.

Earlier this year, the Legislature passed a law making ownership of exotic snakes more difficult and costly. Lawmakers in Congress have proposed a ban on imports.

But Snow faces the more immediate and difficult task of trying to eradicate the pests from the park. He expects to receive federal and state funds for a pilot study to determine the best methods of trapping the snakes without harming people or native wildlife.

"We have projects in place that will help us understand the animal and how pythons react to traps, such as flap-down or squeeze-chute," Snow said.

"The best way to do that is to build some traps and test them in the field and see what works."

Comment - What lawmakers in Congrress have proposed a ban of imports? Isn?t that too late, like closing the barn door after the horse has escaped? Aren?t most of these snakes captive bred? (If not they must be now breeding in the Everglades). Maybe if you put a bounty on those specific snakes? There is a market for snake skin? But then people will bring in all kinds of snakes. I wonder how far north Burmese Pythons can survive? How much cold they can withstand?
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Postby Rhino Viper » Mon Oct 08, 2007 8:36 am

I think they should invite volunteers to go on regular herping expeditions to catch these invaders. It would be nice to see the other snakes that you get in that area in their natural environment. And I think that if they put a bounty on them they should only make use off experienced "Herpers".
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Postby Bushviper » Mon Oct 08, 2007 4:59 pm

Yes we dont need the sheriffs to shoot, miss and kill another child. Competent people is the watchword.

You also need to make sure that any killing or trapping is done in an acceptable humane manner.
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Postby armata » Mon Oct 08, 2007 5:35 pm

Those American visitors I mentioned in another thread are heavily involved with this problem. Its like two steps forward one back all the time was one remark.

Strangely these snakes, unlike the brown tree snake, have not been officially declared a pest as far as I know.
Those who moan about not being able to keep certain species in the W.Cape should give thanks to those irresponsible snake-keepers in Florida.

It is also welcome fodder for the animal rights nutters.
Sadly, responsible reptile keepers will never make the news; not headline grabbing stuff anyway.
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Postby froot » Mon Oct 08, 2007 8:04 pm

If they officially declare them as invasive pests, won't that mean that keeping of burms will be banned? Banning them might be a little impractical.
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