Florida’s Snake Problem
Florida is being overrun with snakes like the Burmese python. They are putting the natural wildlife in the Everglades in danger. The population, estimated to be over 100,000 in the Everglades, will attack and consume any type of wildlife including an alligator.
The governor of Florida is considering signing a bill putting a bounty on a captured snake to reduce the population. This procedure was used to control the alligator population. Besides the bounty, the licensed trappers will keep the proceeds from selling the meat and skin. The trappers will be licensed and trained by the state to capture them. It will be considered very dangerous for anyone to try to capture them without the proper training. It is competing with the alligator as the number one predator in the area.
The burmese python is one of the six largest snakes in the world. It can be found near water or in trees. It can grow up to 18 feet and weigh 160 pounds. It is lighted colored with brown blotches outlined in black. It is found throughout Southeast Asia but has a presence in the United States due to the pet trade.
It is native to Southeast Asia. It is an excellent swimmer and climber and needs a source of water to survive. The Everglades is a perfect habitat for it. It is active during the night and will sleep during the day. It tends to live in the underbrush. Florida’s marshes and wetlands are ideal locations for it. It’s diet consists of birds and mammals but will attack anything for food. It will seize its’ prey with it’s teeth and crush it’s prey with it’s body.
It has been hunted for it’s skin, folk medicines and in some areas, food. It has also been captured for the pet industry. It has a reputation as being docile, but can kill a human being with it’s strength. It is usually afraid of people, but like any wild animal, it is unpredictable and may attack a human. It has an instinct to hunt and will try to escape from it’s cage in captivity. It is recommended that two people be presented when handling the python. If it does attack one person, the other person can unwrap it.
Because of the size it reaches at adulthood, it can outgrow it’s surroundings in captivity. As an adult, it requires a large amount of food and an expensive enclosure. Owners tend to overfeed it. Many owners cannot deal with it as an adult and will release to the wild. As in the situation in Florida, it can start to breed and overwhelm an area causing an imbalance with the natural wildlife.