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Burmese Pythons in Florida

Albino Burmese Python in Florida

                                                               Photo Fiona Sunquist ©

From the suburbs of Miami to the Florida Keys, huge snakes are showing up in culverts and under brush piles across south Florida. Burmese Pythons are being captured in Big Cypress National Preserve, Collier Seminole State Park, on Key Largo and in areas around Miami. Biologists think they can probably survive anywhere in Florida.

In 2008, the National Park Service removed 311 Burmese Pythons from the Everglades and that was thought to be just a drop in the bucket. Federal officials estimate there may be as many as 150,000 of these giant snakes sliding through the river of grass that is Everglades National Park.

Burmese Pythons are non-native snakes that grow extremely fast and can reach 26 feet long and weigh more than 200 lbs. Many of the Burmese pythons in south Florida were probably released when they grew too large to be comfortably kept as pets. They eat just about anything they can catch, and have been found with deer, bobcats, alligators, endangered wood rats, and other wildlife in their stomachs.

After a 2-year-old girl was killed by a pet Burmese python state and federal regulators are considering passing laws to prohibit people keeping Burmese Pythons, Reticulated Pythons, and Nile monitor lizards as pets. The two-year-old was killed in central Florida on July 1st 2009 when her family’s 8-foot-long pet Burmese python escaped from its aquarium, slithered into her crib and suffocated her.

Reticulated Python in Florida

Currently, Burmese pythons must be licensed and micro chipped to be kept as a pet. The license costs $100 and mandates special caging requirements.

Click here for more information about pythons.


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Wildlife of Florida 2011
Wildlife of Florida 2011
Fiona Sunquist
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Wildlife of Florida: Lizards
Fiona Sunquist
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