Photo courtesy of Flickr user Tambako the Jaguar.
You’ve probably heard recent stories in the news of extraordinarily large pythons in the Florida Everglades. You’re unlikely to see these snakes on an Everglades City airboat tour, since they’re primarily found in the areas much further east in the Everglades. However, with the recent epidemic of these exotic snakes in the Everglades, they are certainly worth mentioning.
This is the eleventh of 12 Things You Should Know about Alligators and Everglades Wildlife, a free eBook.
In recent years, snakes from around the world have been turning up in and around Everglades National Park. One of the largest snake species on earth, the Burmese python is now known to be breeding in the park and spreading throughout South Florida. Over 1,800 pythons have been removed from the park and surrounding areas since 2002, likely representing only a fraction of the total population. Some of the snakes found have measured 17 feet long!
The pythons and other exotic snakes found in the park are often the result of release by pet owners. These snakes can have devastating consequences to the Everglades ecosystem. Burmese pythons have been found to feed on a wide variety of mammals and birds in the Everglades–even the occasional alligator! Pythons are seriously impacting the natural order of the Florida Everglades by eating prey and competing with other native predators. As Burmese Pythons continue to multiply, they will further threaten many of the endangered plants and animals that many are working diligently to protect.
You can learn more about Burmese pythons in the Everglades at the National Park Service website.