Burmese Pythons Threatens the Ecosystem of South Florida

Miami snake

The problems of South Florida on Burmese Pythons started in the 80s. Since then, this snake has been regarded as one of the most invasive and damaging creatures in the area. Burmese Pythons are massive snakes that can grow to around 20ft. While there may be reports overseas that the animal has grown to more than 40ft, Florida's largest capture is approximately 18.9ft. It is a non-venomous, constrictor snake that has decimated the population of smaller mammals in the region.

How Did the Burmese Pythons Get to Florida?
These pythons are native to the Southeast Asian region. Initially, they have been brought to this country as exotic pets. In the 1980s, there was a surging demand for exotic pets, particularly snakes. Miami has become a haven for those who are looking for unusual pets. Since the animal can grow to an unimaginable size, it is no longer shocking that irresponsible owners will release them in the wild. Thus, they started to reproduce. However, some experts believe that it was after Hurricane Andrew when the animals managed to establish a population in Florida. A breeding facility was allegedly destroyed that released several snakes into the adjacent swamps.

How Many Burmese Pythons Are There in Florida?
Today, authorities have no way to determine the exact numbers of Burmese Pythons that are terrorizing the region since the larger part of Everglades remains inaccessible, making it difficult to perform a proper survey. These snakes have adapted well to the new environment that makes it difficult to spot them. Authorities mentioned that there could be tens of thousands of them that are lurking in the area.

What Are the Threats of Burmese Pythons in Florida?
It was in a blink of an eye when the Burmese Python devastated the mammals' population in the Everglades, bringing the population at an alarming rate and threatening the biodiversity of the place. Based on the study, the number of bobcats, opossum, and raccoons have dropped to almost 99%. Foxes, cottontail rabbits, and marsh rabbits have entirely vanished. A separate study wherein the rabbit has been fitted with a radio transmitter found out that this serpent has killed 77% of the rabbits that died after a year. This study shows how invasive and dominant Burmese python is.

What Are Some Efforts of the Authorities to Control the Population of Pythons?
Due to the glaring evidence of the damaging presence of Burmese Pythons, authorities started to work hand-in-hand to eradicate or at least control the population of this invasive animal. Last 2010, it was announced that the ownership of Burmese Python is considered illegal. In 2017, the SFWMD (South Florida Water Management District), together with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission had presented a legal way to hire people and hunt the animals through the Python Elimination Program. This effort has resulted in more than 4,000 dead pythons. Unfortunately, this is just a tiny fraction compared to the large population of this serpent in the area. Go back to the home page: Snakes of Miami