15 August 2012
Posted in NatureWorks
The Burmese python is one of the six largest snakes in the world and is native to both tropic and sub-tropic areas of Southern and Southeast Asia. This species was first observed in the Everglades National Park in 1979.
Importation of the Burmese python has led to some rather serious problems in Florida. When people no longer wish to care for or are unable to manage the size of their pythons, they release them into the wild.
These actions have caused the Burmese python to become an invasive species in the Everglades. An invasive species is one that is non-native and generally disrupts its habitat or region by dominating it. Burmese pythons have even been known to swallow animals as large as deer and alligators – yikes!
Roaming freely, invasive species can disrupt the natural order by eating native animals that often have no natural defenses or adaptations against these new predators. Likewise, they generally don’t have natural predators in their new habitat.
Researchers are hoping to learn more through examination of the python about its diet and reproductive status, which will hopefully give them insight into how to potentially manage other wild Burmese pythons in the future. Following scientific investigation, the snake will be mounted for exhibition at the Florida Museum of Natural History and then returned and put on display at the Everglades National Park.