(Image source: U.S. Geological Survey)

 

BY STEVEN SPARKMAN

ANCHOR LAUREN ZIMA

There’s a big slithery threat in the Florida everglades. A pet shop favorite is wreaking havoc on the local wildlife. ABC’s Good Morning America has the story.

 

“Too many pythons. Pythons that big. … A new study actually says that those big guys and gals are now wiping out raccoon, opossum, other mammal populations...”

 

Researchers first started noticing the snakes in the wild around 12 years ago. They suspect most of the snakes come from pet owners who got tired of their giant snakes. Researchers set out to gauge the snakes’ environmental impact with a census. Discover Magazine has the findings.

 

“Their roadside census showed that since 2003, when the python populations really took off, raccoon sightings have fallen by 99.3 per cent. Opossum numbers have fallen by 98.9 per cent. There are 87.5 per cent fewer bobcats. They didn’t see a single rabbit.”

 

The problem is -- pythons are big, they eat nearly everything and they don’t have any natural predators in the everglades. National Geographic reports, it’s still not known how much damage they will eventually cause.

 

“Also worrisome is what could be happening to species that were already rare -- and thus more difficult to research … For instance, it's unknown whether the snakes are putting the squeeze on the Florida panther, a subspecies of cougar deemed endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.”

 

The federal government recently banned the importation and interstate trade of four species of giant constrictor snakes. But a writer for the National Review has a less-subtle solution: He half-jokingly suggests the government should put a bounty on the snakes.

 

“Give me five thousand Ted Nugent fans and all the weapons they can carry and the waters of the everglades will run red with Burmese snake blood.”

 

The study’s lead researcher tells the Tampa Bay Times it’s probably too late to restore the everglades. But by keeping a close eye on the situation, they can hopefully keep the species from spreading.

 

“The pythons are going to be here long after we’re gone. I guess my hope is that we will learn enough about what has happened here with the Burmese pythons to hopefully prevent similar situations from occurring in the future.”

Pythons Decimate Native Wildlife in the Everglades

by Steven Sparkman
0
Transcript
Feb 1, 2012

Pythons Decimate Native Wildlife in the Everglades

(Image source: U.S. Geological Survey)

 

BY STEVEN SPARKMAN

ANCHOR LAUREN ZIMA

There’s a big slithery threat in the Florida everglades. A pet shop favorite is wreaking havoc on the local wildlife. ABC’s Good Morning America has the story.

 

“Too many pythons. Pythons that big. … A new study actually says that those big guys and gals are now wiping out raccoon, opossum, other mammal populations...”

 

Researchers first started noticing the snakes in the wild around 12 years ago. They suspect most of the snakes come from pet owners who got tired of their giant snakes. Researchers set out to gauge the snakes’ environmental impact with a census. Discover Magazine has the findings.

 

“Their roadside census showed that since 2003, when the python populations really took off, raccoon sightings have fallen by 99.3 per cent. Opossum numbers have fallen by 98.9 per cent. There are 87.5 per cent fewer bobcats. They didn’t see a single rabbit.”

 

The problem is -- pythons are big, they eat nearly everything and they don’t have any natural predators in the everglades. National Geographic reports, it’s still not known how much damage they will eventually cause.

 

“Also worrisome is what could be happening to species that were already rare -- and thus more difficult to research … For instance, it's unknown whether the snakes are putting the squeeze on the Florida panther, a subspecies of cougar deemed endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.”

 

The federal government recently banned the importation and interstate trade of four species of giant constrictor snakes. But a writer for the National Review has a less-subtle solution: He half-jokingly suggests the government should put a bounty on the snakes.

 

“Give me five thousand Ted Nugent fans and all the weapons they can carry and the waters of the everglades will run red with Burmese snake blood.”

 

The study’s lead researcher tells the Tampa Bay Times it’s probably too late to restore the everglades. But by keeping a close eye on the situation, they can hopefully keep the species from spreading.

 

“The pythons are going to be here long after we’re gone. I guess my hope is that we will learn enough about what has happened here with the Burmese pythons to hopefully prevent similar situations from occurring in the future.”

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