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Jun. 24 2009 - 4:11 pm | 47 views | 2 recommendations | 8 comments

The giant snakes are coming!

Burmese python (Python molurus bivittatus)

Image via Wikipedia

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. 

via Burmese pythons slithering their way north? – Florida AP – MiamiHerald.com.


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  1. collapse expand

    I would watch that show… forever. You need a law enforcement element. There was a great New Yorker piece about how the snakes were able to take root. Only the abstract is available online…

    • collapse expand

      The NYkr piece was very enjoyable, and the author pointed out an interesting thing — how many invasive exotics actually blend into the domestic ecosystem, don’t disperse or supplant native species, and begin to play a role. The question is, could this occur with an apex predator like these pythons?

      “Bad snake, bad snake — watcha gonna do, watcha gonna do when the good ol’ boys come for you?”

      In response to another comment. See in context »
  2. collapse expand

    I hate snakes. I have nightmares about boa constrictors wrapping around my neck, or attacking my dogs while I’m walking them. I’ve ruled out ever living in Florida because of the stories I’ve read about snakes in the Everglades.

    And you want to send people in there to catch them for entertainment? I don’t even want to think about what they would use for bait …

    • collapse expand

      Viv: Bubba v. Snake is a bit tongue-in-cheek, because no one knows, really, how to catch such a large serpent by hand, in a swamp, probably at night. Anybody who could do that would have to be Aquaman. That said, I wouldn’t put it past a lot of native outdoorsy Floridians to give it a shot.

      Bait? Maybe a chicken.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
  3. collapse expand

    Scott, I wouldn’t put it past a lot of people. Open it up to anyone, because only crazy people who could do it would apply. There are some awesome stories and videos about hardcore rednecks kicking ass. (Redneck in a good way) Shooting fish with bows and arrows as they jump out of the water, noodling, etc. I could see it happening. And I would totally watch it.

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    I've worked as a ghostwriter, a magazine editor, and an acquisitions editor in publishing, and lived for quite a while in NYC. Now I live in the trees and am a freelance "content provider" for print and digital media and for broadcast programming. I also rep the work of angling artist Ernest Schwiebert. I published a short story collection, "The Midnight Fish," in 2001, and the satires, "The Vampire Survival Guide," (2008) and "The Vampire Seduction Handbook," co-written with Luc Richard Ballion" (2009). My novels are represented by Harold Ober Associates, NYC.

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