May 302008

The Burmese python is one of the largest snakes in the world. It is native to southeastern Asia, but did you know it was living wild in the United States as well?

Almost certainly as a result of careless owners releasing unwanted pets, the Burmese python is living and breeding in both the panhandle and peninsula of Florida, as well as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

There is a press release on the problem here. In the Everglades, where the first breeding population was confirmed in 2003, it competes with the American alligator for the apex predator position. Officials have confirmed more than one occurrence of a python successfully consuming an alligator.

It’s also notable that the press release discusses containment and management of existing populations, as opposed to eradication. Though the piece doesn’t say so, I suspect it’s too late to feasibly consider getting rid of them.

This map shows the locations of known breeding Burmese python populations in the United States:

This map shows the potential suitability of the United States for the Burmese python. Areas that climatically match its natural range are in green, and represent habitat that definitely could sustain the snake. Areas in yellow contain habitat that may be able to sustain the snake:

The Burmese python can reach 30 feet in length and weigh in excess of 200 pounds. Large ones can take prey the size of pigs and goats.

Have a nice day.

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 Posted by at 5:13 pm

  7 Responses to “March of the python”

  1. I’m moving to nashville

  2. Yeah, we may bitch about the winters (okay, *I* might bitch about the winters), but I LURVE that the crawly, stingy, squeeze-y beasties can’t hack the cold….

    The “have a nice day” bit CRACKED ME UP. Perfect!

  3. There are people whose job it is to catch these suckers, I suspect thye’ll never keep up, and our wildlife will suffer.

    These guys can get by with eating as little as 3 times a year, fortunately.

  4. That picture you used for this, March of the Pythons post, is actually a Boa Constrictor, not a Burmese Python.

  5. Michael: Thanks for the heads-up, and given your email address, I’m going to take your word for it. I’ve replaced it with an image of what I hope is the correct animal.

  6. You have the right one now, a beautiful one at that too.

  7. […] talked before about the Burmese python (here, here), and the presence of several breeding populations in the United States.  It’s here to […]

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