Florida pythons getting bigger and bigger

usa-florida-python

If it’s true that fear of snakes is among the most common phobias known to humans – and personal experience would indicate this is the case among nearly every adult woman and most men – then the Greater Everglades Chamber of Commerce has some mighty big obstacles to overcome.

Earlier this week, officials in the Sunshine State said they shot and killed a Burmese python in the Everglades that stretched more than 18 feet and weighed 150 pounds.

If confirmed, it would make it the largest snake ever captured in the famed wetlands region of Florida, which is noted for its wildlife, particularly reptiles.

The Burmese python is able to thrive in the Everglades because it’s an invasive species with no natural predators in the area.

“The number of pythons has skyrocketed, with more than 300 pythons being removed from the Everglades every year since 2007,” according to the online publication LiveScience. “Researchers don’t know their true numbers but estimate at least tens of thousands of the giant snakes inhabit the National Everglades Park.”

Tens of thousands?!? Even non-herpetophobes get creeped out by those numbers.

The snakes are wiping out native wildlife like bobcats, foxes and raccoons, according to the Christian Science Monitor.

“You’d be hard pressed to find a rabbit or squirrel down there in the Everglades now,” said Randy Smith, a spokesperson for the South Florida Water Management District. “These snakes eat alligators – or they try to. They don’t have any enemies and they eat anything they can get their teeth on.”

And pythons’ diets can extend to the extreme, and the macabre:

“Cats, pigs, and antelope are regular fare for pythons; rarer treats have included a 14-year-old boy, a Burmese jewelry salesman, and an alligator,” according to LiveScience.

At 18-feet, 2-inches the serpent caught this past Tuesday on a levee about 25 miles west of Miami didn’t set the state record as the longest-ever Burmese python found in Florida.

That distinction belongs to a snake that stretched 18 feet, 8 inches, caught in a rural part of Miami-Dade County last year.

(Above: The 18-foot, 2-inch Burmese python caught in the Florida Everglades earlier this week.)

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8 thoughts on “Florida pythons getting bigger and bigger

  1. Well I wasn’t frightened of the little baby one that came looking into my kitchen – and left – but I might think twice about that one.

    Are most people really frightened of snakes? Bit like saying they are frightened of spiders and mice. Or do they just dislike them? If you look at a lot of the ones supposedly people dislike/fear they move so quickly, is that the issue?

    eg I dislike cockroaches, although not geckos, mice, snakes, chameleon etc etc. But that’s not really on the same planet as an 18′ python!

    • Over here, nearly all the women I know are scared, and I mean full-on petrified, of snakes. Many of the guys want nothing to do with them, as well.

      I made a point with all my kids, both my son and my four girls, to catch snakes and let them see them up close, to help them understand them a little better and hopefully realize that they weren’t something that had to be killed everytime one came across one. One of my daughters is still pretty skittish around them, but the others embrace them with varying degrees of enthusiasm. The youngest, who is 10, will chase them down and catch them, like her dad.

      When my son was younger I made a point to catch the few venemous snakes (copperheads) we came across, doing so very carefully with a stick, and putting them in a box for a short time so he could get a closer look. This was so he would be able to better identify them when he was out in the wild. I figure it’s better to understand nature rather than just be afraid of it.

  2. I take my Like click back. No likey at all.
    I’m glad the snakes here don’t get so big. I’m wary enough of them as it is, if they were reproducing in enormous numbers and big enough to gulp down the dog or one of the boys in one go…. Well, Eeek! 😀

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