The problem of Burmese Pythons in South Florida

Exotic animals bought somewhere abroad and then released in the wilderness of the USA are not as rare as you might think. However, when such an exotic animal is a snake of gigantic proportions, this could cause quite a problem. Burmese pythons are a huge problem in Florida. Someone released these pythons in Everglades National Park, and at the moment there are so many of them there that scientists are trying to find out if it is possible that they might spread to other parts of the country. In the Everglades they don't have any natural enemies and they are breeding at an enormous speed.

A Burmese python is a very impressive animal. It can be over 16 feet long and over 180 lbs. – and there are thousands of them in the Everglades today, even hundreds of thousands. The majority of them don't attack people, but they are a huge threat to the local ecosystem because they are predators – they eat alligators, wild cats, deer...local animals can't resist them because these animals never had to fight with such a huge snake. The Everglades area has enabled them to develop a huge population.

Back in 1994 the Florida Environment Protection Office expressed their concern over the explosion of invasive foreign snake species in this state. The subtropical climate is very beneficial for the snakes, together with the fact that Miami is the city where the majority of exotic snake trade happens in the entire USA – this is a dangerous combination. This report specifically named Burmese and African pythons, which if bred together can create a super snake, one that will be an even bigger menace than each of these dangerous species individually.

Every year local authorities organize con tests with prizes to hunt down these snakes in order to try to cut down their population, while people in neighboring states keep their fingers crossed that these huge snakes will not try to relocate to their states. Several hundred people engage in these contests every year to try to win the prize for catching the largest snake, or for catching the most of them during the prize hunt. The recommended killing method is a shot to the head or cutting of the head, although it is difficult to catch a Burmese python because its colors perfectly blend with the Everglades.

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