everglades national park

everglades national park

Giant Hybrid Pythons are Invading the USA

1d ago
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Description

Python, from the Greek word (πύθων/πύθωνας), is a genus of nonvenomous pythons found in Africa and Asia. Currently, 12 species are recognised. A member of this genus, P. reticulatus, is among the longest snake species and extant reptiles in the world. Geographic range Found in Africa in the tropics south of the Sahara, but not in southern Africa, the extreme southwestern tip, or in Madagascar. In Asia it is found from Bangladesh, Nepal, India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, including the Nicobar Islands, through Myanmar, east to Indochina, southern China, Hong Kong and Hainan, as well as in the Malayan region of Indonesia and the Philippines. Some suggest that P. molurus and P. sebae have the potential to be problematic invasive species in South Florida. The United States Department of Agriculture reports that only Python molurus bivittatus is an invasive species in the United States. More recent data suggests that these pythons would not withstand winter climates north of Florida, contradicting previous research suggesting a more significant geographic potential range. Burmese pythons (Python molurus bivittatus) are native to Southeast Asia, but toward the end of the 20th century, they established themselves as a breeding population in the U.S. state of Florida, specifically in the Everglades. A popular exotic animal that has been released or has escaped from people's homes or outdoor enclosures, the first of these snakes was observed in Everglades National Park in 1979. Because they are well adapted to thrive in the South Florida environment they are considered as an invasive species. Between 2001 and 2005, more than 200 Burmese pythons were observed in park boundaries and National Park Service staff created a policy to remove and euthanize them immediately. The estimated population of pythons in the Everglades is between 5,000 and 180,000, and they can be found in all areas of Everglades National Park, Big Cypress National Preserve, and have been observed north of the parks' boundaries .[citation needed] Burmese pythons eat amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals that vary in size from small rodents to deer. Spectacular photographs of the snakes in struggles with native alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) have been released, directing international attention on the problem of invasive species in the Everglades. Authorities have proposed curbing the import of several species of snakes into Florida. A scientific study regarding the impact of Burmese pythons in the Everglades, published in late 2011 ,[citation needed] asserts that populations of mid-size mammals such as raccoons (Procyon lotor), opossums (Didelphis virginiana), and rabbits (Sylvilagus), all native to South Florida, have declined as the number of Burmese pythons has increased .[citation needed] Burmese pythons were included on a list of four snakes banned from import into the U.S.; Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced the ban at Everglades National Park in January 2012.