(RTTNews) – Native to Southeast Asia, Burmese python has now built a stronghold in Florida Everglades, causing serious ecological consequences. The Department of the Interior and its partners, including the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, South Florida Water Management District, and others have taken up control measures and regulatory measures to manage the state’s invasive Burmese python problem.
A Burmese python carcass thoroughly studied by the University of Florida researchers on Friday throws more light on the reproductive capability of this snake. Not only is the examined Burmese python the largest found in Florida – measuring 17-foot-7-inch, but has also been found to have 87 eggs on analysis of the internal anatomy. According to the researchers, previous records for Burmese pythons captured in the wild were 16.8 feet long and 85 eggs.
Following scientific investigation, the snake will be mounted for exhibition at the Florida Museum of Natural History for about five years, and then returned for exhibition at Everglades National Park.
Florida Museum herpetology collection manager Kenneth Krysko said, “By learning what this animal has been eating and its reproductive status, it will hopefully give us insight into how to potentially manage other wild Burmese pythons in the future. It also highlights the actual problem, which is invasive species.”
Burmese pythons, which are known to prey on native birds, deer, bobcats, alligators and other large animals, entered the U.S. via the exotic pet trade in 1970s to be sold as pets. In recent years, hundreds of pythons have ended up in Everglades National Park and surrounding areas as a result of pet owners accidentally or intentionally releasing the animals.
To control the population of Burmese pythons, state laws prohibiting people from owning Burmese pythons as pets or transporting the snakes across state lines without a federal permit were enacted recently. Florida residents are also allowed to hunt pythons in certain wildlife management areas during established seasons with a valid hunting license and required permits.
by RTT Staff Writer