Edit: This will take place of Tuesday Terrors this week
Figured I’d throw this one out there before -everyone- had already heard about it. My mom sent me this article the other day, most other article pretty much say the same thing:
As if whitetail Does needed anything else to be paranoid about…
The fact that this happened doesn’t surprise me really. The snakes are everywhere down there and I’m sure this isn’t the first time it’s happened…It’s just the first time we’ve seen it. For anyone that doesn’t know, the Burmese Python (along with thousands of other exotics and invasives) is running loose in South Florida, particularly the Everglades which is most similar to its natural habitat.
The snakes got into the wild via the exotic pet trade. They simply get too big (up to 20ft) and some people didn’t want them anymore and let them go. What resulted was the release of an invasive super predator in the Everglades. The Burmese Python will eat just about anything that it can fit in its mouth and many biologists fear it poses a serious problem for threatened or endangered bird or small mammal species.
During a wildlife techniques course that I took, we were asked to design a poster presentation to help solve a wildlife technique problem. I chose, “Capture methods of the Burmese Python in the Florida Everglades”. The issue right now, is that the snakes are -extremely- difficult to find. The Everglades literally is “a river of grass” and finding them is quite the challenge in the high grass. Baited traps don’t particularly work because the snakes prefer live prey (just imagine the flak someone would catch for live baiting a trap with a cat or something). Funnel traps might work, but then you’re just hoping the snake slithers by and falls in. Scent dogs have the possibility to work, but most of the snake’s time is spent in the water, making trailing by a dog very difficult. Right now, the two most common methods that I’ve heard of are these: Drive along a road at night and look for them crossing the road. And radio tagging adult females and re-releasing them into the wild. Re-releasing actually seems to be a more effective method. This is because when the snakes breed, a female can draw multiple males two her and they have this giant, breeding, snake-ball thing going on. Using radio telemetry, biologists can just locate the female, and dispose of all snakes present around her.
I, of course, made up a beautiful poster for wildlife techniques, presented it flawlessly to the class, and awaited my grade.
80%…B -. Little did I know, that my professor was actually called down to South Florida to be on the conference board to help solve the Burmese Python problem. He said essentially what I said which was “there’s no good way to catch them”. And I guess since he obviously knew a bit more about the situation than I did, he felt my presentation was lacking.
Hopefully we find a solution soon. Their spread north continues, though I question exactly how far north they can spread due to freezing winters. I personally think they should just put a 100$ bounty on each snake’s head, let people take an snake identification test, and if they pass, give them a license and the go-ahead to kill as many as they can find.