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The Burmese Python In Florida and The Everglades

The importation and keeping of Burmese Pythons in Florida has led to some rather serious problems. People who no longer wish to care for their pythons, or whose pythons have grown too large to be kept in their houses, have been known to release their pets into the wild rather than have them re-homed or even humanely euthanized. This has been particularly problematic in South Florida, along with possible zoo, warehouse, and household escapees from Hurricane Andrew, where a large number of pythons have made their way to the Everglades. They have thrived there, begun to reproduce prolifically, and become an invasive species.

Over 1,330 (US Natural Park Service website- Dec 31, 2009) have been captured in the Everglades. Since they have been known to eat endangered birds and alligators, these snakes present a new danger to an already fragile ecosystem. In February 2008, USGS scientists published a projected range map for the US, based on average climate data of the snake’s home range and global warming projections, which predicted that these snakes could eventually migrate to and flourish in as much as a third of the continental United States by the end of the 21st century. However, a subsequent study produced a map incorporating both climate extremes and averages, which showed the Burmese python’s range to be limited to Southern Florida.

The Burmese Python is the largest subspecies of the Indian Python and one of the 6 largest snakes in the world, native to a large variation of tropic and subtropic areas of Southern- and Southeast Asia. They are often found near water and are sometimes semi-aquatic, but can also be found in trees. Wild individuals average 12 feet long, but may reach up to 19 feet.

Visit the  Key West Aquarium and see our Albino Burmese Python!

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