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  • Alexandra Roger

Pythons in Florida

The Pythonidae, is a species of snake more frequently referred to as Python. There are a plethora of varying pythons in the python family, but we will be focusing on the larger, wild pythons such as the Burmese Python. These snakes are quite large ranging from 10 to 32 feet long, and weighing a staggering 200-350 pounds. Burmese habitation can be found only in India , and Southeast asia, which indicates that Burmese Pythons are not indigenous to the United States and must be imported.

In recent years people have attempted to keep the snakes in captivity and domesticate them with the ultimate motive being the possibility to keep them as pets. This effort has not failed, as keeping a large python as a pet is not as uncommon as might be imagined.

Understand that properly caring for such a large, exotic snake is very time consuming, and expensive. They must be kept in a spacious enclosure. They must be frequently fed large, expensive, live meals such as rabbits, pigs, and other decently sized mammals.

Many fail to invest much thought into the intensive care required to maintain a healthy Burmese Python, and before they are aware of it, they no longer want to invest the time required. This often leads to people releasing the snakes into the wild.

Burmese Pythons also often escape from their enclosures, and disappear into the wild. Officials believe that this is the root of the increasing population problem of Burmese Pythons in South Florida. Burmese Pythons have reproduced, and proliferated within Everglades National Park in Florida ,and the results are very concerning, and detrimental to the surrounding ecosystems. Burmese pythons have been observed before in this area, as long as twenty years ago. However, in recent years the sightings have become increasingly more frequent.

Approximately 400 Burmese Pythons were removed from the park in 2009. It is estimated by researchers that upwards of 30,000 pythons are currently thriving in South Florida . Everglades National Park is home to a variety of species of animals such as the american alligator, the white-tailed deer, Eastern cottontail bobcat, skunks, raccoons, squirrels, birds ,and many more. 23 of the animal species that inhabit Everglades are classified as endangered.

Considering the fact that Burmese Pythons’ prey on and devour a multitude of the animals described above it is obvious that the ecosystem of everglades is in imminent danger. The Invasion of the Burmese Python has resulted in a staggering decline in in the quantity of mammalian species ,and continues to further jeopardize the endangered species that reside in the area.

Surveys demonstrated and proved that between the years 1993 and 1999 there has been a substantial (approaching 90%) reduction in the sightings of different species inside the Everglades. It is very difficult to control the population of Burmese Pythons due to their inherent ability to reproduce at alarming rates, their sexual development at a tender age, and the duration of their lifespans is a salient factor.

A burmese python generally breeds annually and is capable of producing a clutch of up to 50 snake eggs. Several strategies have been attempted to control the population and the multiplying of Burmese Pythons, however it is a difficult and tedious task ,and most methods have produced little to no results. The importation of burmese pythons was banned in 2012 ,but they continue to breed and multiply at tremendous rates in the wild in the USA. Officials urge individuals to stop the trade of these reptiles. If a Burmese Python is not kept as pets the possibilities of the snakes escaping into the wild are greatly reduced, and officials can concentrate on the elimination of the existing invasive species in particular in Everglades National Park.

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