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To Catch a Snake: Largest Python Found in Everglades Signals a Threat

The state is looking for to enhance detection of pythons within the wild, as a result of they’re expert at camouflaging and settling in distant areas, Ms. Spencer mentioned.

“We have to attempt a number of strategies, a number of methods to attempt to management these animals,” she mentioned.

Burmese pythons had been launched to the Everglades within the Eighties by the unique pet commerce business, however their sale was outlawed in 2012, mentioned Stephen Leatherman, an earth and atmosphere professor at Florida Worldwide College in Miami.

Individuals who held the pythons didn’t all the time know what to do with them after they grew to become too large to handle, and lots of launched them into the wild. The Burmese python has since taken the spot of the alligator, which is native to Florida, as the highest predator within the Everglades.

Burmese pythons are endangered in components of Southeast Asia, Mr. Leatherman mentioned, however those who have made their house in Florida can’t merely be returned as a result of they’ve develop into genetically tailored to their new atmosphere. The populations of raccoons, rabbits, possums, birds and alligators within the wetlands have all decreased together with the deer and panthers because the pythons have claimed extra territory.

“They’re fascinating animals, however they’re simply the worst factor for the Everglades,” he mentioned.

The Everglades area, which takes up 1.5 million acres in South and Southwest Florida, is a one-of-a-kind freshwater ecosystem surrounded by sawgrass, with a slow-moving river within the moist season, according to the National Park System. Its habitats embrace cypress swamps, moist prairie and mangroves, with numerous species of birds, mammals, reptiles and crops, according to the National Wildlife Federation.

The Burmese python is simply one of many threats that endanger that pure useful resource, mentioned Steve A. Johnson, a wildlife, ecology and conservation professor on the College of Florida. Water air pollution, rising sea ranges and concrete improvement, along with different invasive species such because the tegu lizard and cane toad, take a toll on the wetlands.

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