Giant Pythons Are Eating Florida

Ian Bartoszek and Katie King recapture the 50-pound sentinel snake Johnny, who has led his minders to 18 adult Burmese pythons for removal. (Gena Steffens)

Health Editor’s Note: This is what happens when someone buys a snake as a pet and then gets tired of taking care of it. Humans are stupid!…Carol

Giant Snakes Take Over the Everglades

by Ian Frazer Smithsonian Magazine

In the Everglades, everything still looks the same. The waving saw grass, the cypress and pine trees draped with air plants, the high, white clouds parked like dirigibles above their shadows—if you’ve been to the Everglades before, and you go back, you’ll still find these. But now there is also a weird quiet. In the campsites of Everglades National Park, raccoons don’t rattle the trash can lids at four in the morning. Marsh rabbits don’t scatter with a nervous rustle on the hiking trails as you walk by. Tires don’t shriek when somebody brakes to avoid an opossum transfixed by headlights in the middle of the road. In fact, roadkill, which used to be common in this wildest part of Florida, is no longer seen.

The raccoons and marsh rabbits and opossums and other small, warmblooded animals are gone, or almost gone, because Burmese pythons seem to have eaten them. The marsh’s weird outdoor quiet is the deep, endlessly patient, laser-focused quiet of these invasive predators. About two feet long when hatched, Burmese pythons can grow to 20 feet and 200 pounds; they are among the largest snakes in the world. The pythons are mostly ambush hunters, and constrictors.

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  1. I saw a Youtube video awhile back where a young pig (older than a piglet, but not nearly an adult yet) was release from a carry cage into the cage of a python by a father and his prepubescent son. The pig started squealing as soon as it saw the pythons large face looking at it. The pythons head remained almost motionless while the lower part of it’s body wrapped around the pig, tightening around it tighter and tighter until the pig could squeal no more. The kid was used to seeing this happen judging by his tone of voice. Snakes have to eat too, but there is no excuse for releasing pythons into the Everglades! In some ways, I wish that the anti-hunters would see videos like this and perhaps come to appreciate the fact that human hunters usually try to kill their prey quickly so that there is little to no suffering.

  2. One of my cats years ago, Emmitt, took on a Rattler and got bit in the head. Emmitt was of course going to kill and eat the snake. For some reason I’ll put my money on the Lion as they outweigh a Python by a considerable margin. Cats are fast and efficient killers; as are snakes. But Lions, Tigers and Bears! Oh My!

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