back to article Serial killer PYTHONS stalk Florida's Everglades

Pesky pythons are wiping out mammals and birds – some of which are protected species – in Florida's Everglades National Park, according to a new study. Open-mouthed Burmese python What's for dinner? Credit: Mannes Fotos (GNU license) Non-native Burmese pythons are chowing down on the local populace to such an extent that …

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  1. nichomach
    Joke

    Eeek

    First thought? Kill 'em.

    "The Burmese python is one of the six largest snakes in the world and can reach up to 7m (23ft) in length and a weight of up to 90 kilos (198lb)."

    Second thought - with WHAT?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      in America, home of the gun

      I wonder what they might use.....

    2. Calumn

      What can kill a Mega Python?

      Gatoroid!

      Mega Python vs. Gatoroid (2011)

      http://uk.imdb.com/rg/an_share/title/title/tt1680138/

      Surely one of the best/worst films ever made.

      1. kororas

        I read that as Gatorade

    3. Rod MacLean
      Joke

      RE: Eeek

      Kill them with fake exploding mammals.

      1. Mediocrates Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Send in Carl Spackler

        http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0080487/

  2. Hud Dunlap
    Facepalm

    What about the poor aligator?

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9600151/ns/technology_and_science-science/t/gator-guzzling-python-comes-messy-end/

    this is old news.

  3. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Re: with WHAT?

    Species-specific kill-bots, developed under a DARPA initiative? How hard can it be?

    if (length>7m && scary!=false)

    ok2kill = true;

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge
      Devil

      Err... Terminally bad idea

      In order for the hunter to be any good it will have to have the capacity to learn. A hunting machine that can take out a burmese python which can learn... Cough... Sputter... Cough... Sputter...

  4. Mako

    "Nobody is sure exactly how the snakes were introduced to American ecosystems, although it's likely that many of the species arrived as pets and then escaped or were released into the wild."

    Both are perfectly plausible, though the latter is more likely. It's the same reason why Ft. Lauderdale is over-run with iguanas. Pet's size becomes impractical, pet gets dumped into the intracoastal, pet breeds like crazy in the favourable environment.

    Interesting to see that there's an active programme of spaying and neutering of them going on at the moment , (instead of extermination). Wonder if they could do the same for the snakes?

    1. Just Thinking

      Same problem with lions and tigers. I don't know what kind of moron buys a cute lion cub and then acts surprised when it gets a bit difficult to handle as it grows up. Big problem in Texas, I hear.

      I wish I was joking.

    2. Marvin the Martian

      Spaying and neutering long-lived predators is futile.

      If your snake's going to live 30-40years, getting bigger all the time, then being neutered is not going to change that much.

      About 10% of americans own a reptile. A good few of these grow to unfeasible size so get dumped (see also: baby tigers worth thousands $$, adult tigers zero or less), and this will continue to be the case... So neutered or not, there's the new influx on top of the older ones that will live for decades.

  5. Andy Farley

    Thanks god.

    For cold winters.

    1. fishman

      Cold temperatures = RI

      Pythons and Boas can easily catch respiratory infections that kill them. Winter temperatures in northern Florida are cold enough to keep them from migrating further north.

      We have a boa, and we keep the cage around at around 80F. We have to be careful in the winter on how long he is taken out of the cage because the room is 68F. He caught a RI this winter and had to go on antibiotics.

      1. Marvin the Martian

        Too cold in north florida?

        Let's wait to see what climate change can do there.

  6. BoldMan

    and here's me thinking from the headline that John Cleese had gone on a rampage... sigh

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      And here was me thinking the headline referred to the Republican presidential candidates infesting Florida.

      Then I saw the photo and knew I was right.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Now that is a predator...

    How topical! http://wondermark.com/793/

    Seriously, though, how the hell does a snake that size catch rabbits and birds? Either they are a lot more agile (and stealthy) than you'd think possible, or they really do practice hypnosis. (Remember Kaa in The Jungle Book?) And leopards? An adult leopard can easily kill a human (disembowelment with the hind claws is a standard technique) as well as being fast and nimble.

    How does the native Burmese wildlife manage to survive? If it were my problem to solve, I'd start out by finding out all I could about that question.

    1. Martin
      Holmes

      How does the native Burmese wildlife survive?

      I'd suspect that some sort of local defence mechanism has evolved over the last few tens of thousands of years.

      Unfortunately, that's not an option here...

      1. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

        I think the better way would be to find out what it'd natural predator is, and introduce that to the areas.

        Then, when they go out of control, find THEIR natural predator and introduce them.

        And then... OK, maybe not such a good plan, a la "She swallowed the spider to catch the fly".

        1. tmTM

          The python

          Is the Apex predator in it's natural environment,

          1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

            Re: the apex predator in its natural environment

            In Florida, as with *any* populated area, the apex predator is the human.

            Other species can pretend to be the apex predator as long as they don't start bragging about it and drawing attention to themselves. Your local conservation group can no doubt supply you with a list of species that didn't realise this until it was too late.

            1. NBCanuck

              "In Florida, as with *any* populated area, the apex predator is the human."

              Huh? The Python is naturally equipped for its role. If you were just walking through the grass and one of them started wrapping itself around you there is nothing you could do. Man is only the "Apex Predator" when prepared and hunting with tools/traps. On a straight bare-skin one-on-one we're a tasty treat for many of the animals we kill.

              1. lowwall

                "My evolution included a club."

                [Paraphrasing from a vaguely remembered sci-fi short story].

              2. Mark 65

                "Huh? The Python is naturally equipped for its role. If you were just walking through the grass and one of them started wrapping itself around you there is nothing you could do. Man is only the "Apex Predator" when prepared and hunting with tools/traps. "

                Thus his intelligence and ability to use tools made him apex, like it or not.

    2. Jigr69

      Most snakes are ambush predators, simply bed down for a period of time and wait for the prey to come close enough to grab it. Constrictors are also known to catch prey whilst it sleeps.

    3. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      How does Burmese wildlife survive?

      If it encounters one of those, it doesn't. The *species* survives by breeding more than the predators can eat. If the predators get too good at catching prey, the prey population collapses and the predator populations follows a little while later. Mathematicians can have fun with this (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lotka-Volterra_equation).

    4. Triggerfish

      In their home environment a lot of snakes are remarkably well camouflaged, and ones like these are ambush predators they can stay in the same spot basically not moving for days until something comes near enough.

      It helps they can go a really long time between meals if they get a big enough meal.

      Wouldn't suprise me if in Burma they tend to get larger meals easily, and that theres more predators that like baby sized boas keeping the population down.

  8. Derk
    Childcatcher

    There's Gold in them there everglades

    Think of what will happen when a kid gets eaten? So my solution is for a bounty to be put on them, plus lets see some tasty Python recipes. In my experience any creature with value or s tasty has been usually hunted to extinction or the verge of. Yes lots of Red Necks in the swamps with guns, whats not to like?

    1. Bill Neal
      Unhappy

      bounty

      We tried that in FL a couple of years ago. Open season for whoever wants to kill, plus rewards for big ones. Season is still open and It has not done much, obviously.

      1. multipharious

        It will just change their behavior

        Rattlesnake roundups have caused a surge in non-rattling snakes which is particularly worrying for obvious reasons.

  9. SirDigalot

    introduce hedghogs and porcupines

    built in toothpicks for the snake...

  10. Bronek Kozicki Silver badge
    Pint

    send them to Australia

    they have problem with rabbits there, I heard.

    1. Graham Marsden
      WTF?

      @send them to Australia

      Right, because that worked so well with the Cane Toad...

    2. fishman

      Australian Snakes

      Australia has plenty of pythons - some as long as a Bermese python. And plenty of highly venomous snakes, too.

  11. admiraljkb
    Paris Hilton

    Numerous articles and doco's done on this

    In each of them I've seen, they've been trying to round up and/or kill the pythons, and have been for years. Obviously the pythons have been reproducing faster than they can capture/kill them. An important message from the Dept of the Obvious. :)

    Paris, cuz she's seen a few snakes

  12. Graham Marsden
    Trollface

    Road surveys...?

    Or Road Kill Surveys?

  13. MovingDavid

    Invasive Non-Native Species

    The real issue with non-native animals occurs when the animals escape or are released by their owners into these new habitats in which they can wreak havoc. This is even more important when you look at the effect on already fragile environments. Invasive species have had quite the effect on Hawaii http://www.uhaul.com/supergraphics/states/hawaii/spider/index2.html

  14. Don S.
    IT Angle

    I Understand

    That Samuel L. Jackson has become a spokesman for the campaign.

    1. Francis Boyle Silver badge

      Snakes on

      Lake Pontchartrain. OK, wrong state but not far off.

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