Just Another Snake Story

A python by the tail.

Pytons are a growing problem in Everglades National Park. NPS Photo.

Non-native pythons, once thought to be someone's pets, are running amuck in Everglades National Park and other parts of south Florida. In the latest story on this dilemma, from the New York Times, park biologists express amazement over the reptile's diet.

“We’ve found everything, from very small mammals — native cotton mice, native cotton rats, rabbits, squirrels, possums, raccoons, even a bobcat, most recently the hooves of a deer,” Skip Snow told the newspaper. “Wading birds and water birds, pied-billed grebes, coots, egrets, limpkins and at least one big alligator.”

The article, which you can find here, relates the problems park and Florida officials are having in combating the big snakes. It also relates that a South American anaconda was found nearby in Big Cypress National Preserve.

For more on this story, check out this 2005 report from National Geographic News.

Comments

That photo is enough to give me nightmares.

Florida is one giant exotic species nature preserve gone awry. I remember one day at the Visitor Center at the 'Glades seeing a parakeet hanging out with a gaggle of sparrows. The poor little guy was certainly lost, but seemed to find some solace in the group of similar-sized birds with similar needs.

Then there are all the bug-eating birds who wait for your car to park and feast on the bugs that have been pasted to the front of your vehicle, the crows who rip the rubber wiper blades off your car as some sort of fowl joke, and the suburbs throughout the state have plenty of boneheads dumping their unwanted tropical fish, caymans, snakes, and other exotic beasts into the canals. It's a jungle down there.

-- Jon Merryman

This photo is too much! Check out the smile on the ranger's face. I love it.

A while back, I interviewed a couple who witnessed an alligator vs python battle to the death on the Anhinga Trail in 2004. Here's a link to the photo and story that appeared in the NY Times http://www.wildphotoguy.com/photoshoot.htm

these snakes are'nt that bad. many think that they are agressive (exspecially burmese pythons) but they are actually gentle and are very relunctant to bite a person because they do not see us as a food prey. i own a ball python (i know ur probably saying its small compared to burmese) but burmese pythons (like the one featured in the picture) are actually pretty docile in nature. i handle my ball python all the time and he has never tried to strike ever... he still only a baby at about 1.5 to 2 ft long. i think people should actually give snakes a chance exspecially pythons only a few certain types of pythons are "agressive" such as the emerald tree python and the blood python. i would'nt say that they are "agressive" they are just defensive in nature and they strike out of fear for themselves. please people give these snakes a chance.

I'll yield to your expertise on whether or not these snakes are a major threat to humans. They do have the potential to wreak havoc as an introduced species in this ecosystem. Its unfortunate so many people think they want snakes or other animals as "pets," and then just discard them into the wild when they become too much trouble to keep at home.

heyy cool