The giant snakes are coming!
I like snakes. I always have. Excellent animals. But when they show up in places where they don’t belong, such as the brown tree snake invasion of Guam, their impact as predators is quite troublesome.
Over the past two decades, pythons liberated by accident (and on purpose) have established a serious foothold in the Everglades, and their environmental impact is yet to be determined. But it ain’t gonna be good.
Most biologists in FL have simply accepted the fact that the pythons are there to stay. But what if they get “on the move”?
Ecologists will track the exotic pythons, all captured in Florida, to determine if they can survive in climates a few hundred miles to the north. Using implanted radio transmitters and data recorders, the scientists will monitor the pythons’ body temperature and physical condition.The test could show whether the giant imported snakes, which can grow up to lengths of 25 feet, are able to spread throughout the Southeast. The fast-growing population of snakes has been invading southern Florida’s ecosystem since 1992, when scientists speculate a bevy of Burmese pythons was released into the wild after Hurricane Andrew shattered many pet shop terrariums.
This story has fascinated me ever since early reports surfaced in the mid-1990s of sightings of large constrictors in the Everglades. Imagine an afternoon of peaceful kayaking or bass fishing interrupted by the sighting of a snake that looks like something out of King Kong?
So here’s one idea: A television show. Get together a bunch of Florida good ol’ boys, give them all the beer and gear they can carry, and send them into the swamps in three-man teams. They’ve got 72 hours to catch the biggest Burmese python, alive if possible, dead if necessary (I did say I love snakes, and these exotics are wonderful, but they don’t belong in the wilds of America). Purse is $3,000 and everlasting fame.
Call it Python Round-Up. Or Bubba vs. Snake. It’ll catch on, and the state of Florida can eventually issue python-hunting licenses, with revenues going to conservation efforts. The snake-catchers sell the skins to Gucci. Indigenous turtles and birds (python prey) maybe catch a tiny break. Everyone sorta wins. Circle of life.