Story at a glance

  • Invasive Burmese pythons have officially been sighted making their way north in Florida.
  • The Burmese python isn’t native to Florida, though the invasive species began to overrun the Everglades in South Florida in the 1980s, originally brought into the United States as exotic pets.
  • Due to its large size, the Burmese python have few natural predators there, preying upon alligators, other snakes, and even pets, and decimating the populations of native species in the area.

Invasive Burmese pythons have officially been sighted making their way north in Florida, following years of speculation.

“We have finally, unhappily, sighted a Burmese python in the interior of the refuge,” University of Florida wildlife professor Frank Mazzotti, who heads  Fort Lauderdale’s Croc Docs research team, told The Palm Beach Post.

Biologists and wildlife researchers previously believed that the invasive species was in the area after detecting its DNA in freshwater in the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge. However, contractors with the South Florida Water Management District have sighted the snakes in the refuge in late October.

“We know they are in the refuge but haven’t been seeing them and once you start seeing them that is an indication that the population is expanding,” Mike Kirkland, an invasive animal biologist, told The Palm Beach Post. “The fact that we’ve had a few sightings recently leads me to believe there are more there.”


America is changing faster than ever! Add Changing America to your Facebook or Twitter feed to stay on top of the news.


The Burmese python isn’t native to Florida, though the invasive species began to overrun the Everglades in South Florida in the 1980s, originally brought into the United States as exotic pets. Since then, the invasive snake, one of the largest snake species, has overpopulated and continued to spread further throughout the state. 

Due to its large size, the Burmese python have few natural predators there, preying upon alligators, other snakes, and even pets, and decimating the populations of native species in the area.

To stem the snake population and spread, Florida allows for Burmese pythons to be removed and humanely killed on private lands with owner permission, as well as hunted on 25 wildlife management areas year round.

In the refuge, The Palm Beach Post reports that hunters can now receive $15 an hour, as opposed to $10 an hour in other South Florida areas, to hunt the pythons, with an additional $50 per python measuring 4 feet or longer and $25 per foot after 4 feet to incentivize hunters.

“We don’t expect them to capture a lot of pythons because the populations are very low in the refuge compared to other project areas,” Kirkland said. “We want to keep it that way and that’s why we give the extra incentive for contractors to service that area.”


READ MORE STORIES FROM CHANGING AMERICA

SHARKS SPOTTED IN FAMOUS RIVER THAT RUNS THROUGH LONDON

BIZARRE NEW SPECIES OF BEAKED WHALE DISCOVERED THAT LIVES 6,000 FEET DEEP

MORE THAN 12 MILLION INVASIVE ASIAN FISH REMOVED FROM TWO US LAKES

CHEFS DECLARE WAR ON A TRENDY FRUIT BECAUSE OF ITS ENORMOUS CARBON FOOTPRINT

ELK WITH CAR TIRE AROUND ITS NECK FOR TWO YEARS IS FINALLY FREE

SHAKIRA ATTACKED BY WILD BOARS, WHICH ARE NOW RAMPAGING IN SEVERAL EUROPEAN CITIES

Published on Nov 10, 2021