SERIOUSLY scary snake killed in Florida

Burmese pythons are a HUGE nuisance in Florida to say the LEAST. Just LOOK at this monster, 17 ft long, killed in a picnic area.

This huge size is very rare for this subspecies so it must be eatin’ good in this neighborhood. Yikes. This size critter is large enough to be hazardous to pets and children but game officials say they mainly decimate native populations of rabbit, fox, opossum and bobcat.

A record-sized python (17.5 ft), pregnant to boot, was found back in August. A healthy population of breeding snakes are found in Florida. Climate change may render larger parts of the southern U.S. as potential habitat for these invaders.

Park rangers shot the snake. Hopefully, it was collected for study.

Some lawmakers wish to enact bans on importation of certain kinds of snake.

Live Burmese python, one of the world’s largest snakes.

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  28 comments for “SERIOUSLY scary snake killed in Florida

  1. David
    December 29, 2012 at 1:35 PM

    these snakes are nearly as big of a problem as most people want to make them out to be. they’re aren’t dangerous to people there has never been a record of a burmese python eating a person anywhere in the world. secondly most of the burmese pythons in Florida have died over the past few years because of the mildly cold weather. most scientists also believe that domesticated house cats do more damage to the environment of the everglades than these snakes could ever do.

    • bill kirby
      December 29, 2012 at 2:16 PM

      What? Where do you get your information?
      Yes the cold two years ago lowered the population of the snake but it is nearly back to what it was. [Editor: expletive deleted as completely unnecessary]

      • David
        December 29, 2012 at 2:40 PM

        http://www.gareptilesociety.org/burmese-pythons-myths-rumors-and-misunderstandings
        Talks about when most Pythons died more references at the bottom of this page
        http://usark.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/PythonColdTempfulltext.pdf
        This talks about the pythons inability to spread to other states
        http://usark.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Barker_Burmese-MammalDeclineENP_BCHS47-4.pdf
        This discusses how the Pythons are not responsible for the decline of animals in the everglades
        http://www.abcbirds.org/abcprograms/policy/cats/materials/predation.pdf
        this discusses how cats are the number one reason for the decrease in bird populations
        http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/fish/southflorida/everglades/endangeredglades.html
        list of endangered animals in the everglades which an overwhelming number are birds.

        to be honest it should be illegal to own cats that go outdoors but that won’t happen it’s too helpful to the environment and not enough people care about that

        • December 29, 2012 at 3:20 PM

          Isn’t there a suggestion that they will learn to adapt better to cold snaps? Thus, in a few generations, the survivors will have the ability to make it through?

          I understand that they might not be a MAJOR hazard now but they seem to be doing VERY well right now. Invasive species of the this size are not a good thing for the local ecosystem. I would assume action taken now would be more prudent.

          I would counter with some of the scientific surveys that say action is needed.
          http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/article.asp?ID=2324
          http://www.invasivespeciesinfo.gov/animals/python.shtml#.UN9QEmk-vOY

          • David
            December 29, 2012 at 4:20 PM

            The snake was not obviously not doing very well or it would not have been caught in the park. Pythons are very reclusive by nature and would not go anywhere near an open area like that unless it was either starving or looking for warmth.

            http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080812213816.htm this is a study from a much less bias source than my other that says it is near impossible for them to expand beyond the everglades.

            http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/bb/Natural_Range_of_Python_molurus6.jpg if they had the ability to expand beyond a small area why are they only within an incredibly small section of the planet near the equator where they have been for thousands of years

            • December 30, 2012 at 1:33 AM

              No, of course not. A snake that is seventeen feet long is “obviously not doing very well” and you can tell by its puny size. If

              • December 30, 2012 at 11:25 AM

                A snake that large doesn’t get that large by being stupid. Given the choice, most of them will avoid human contact. That snake entered a populated area for a reason. I’m leaning towards it either having just been released, it being sick, or it was frightened out of it’s territory. It’s important to find out why it wandered into human habitat. If it’s sick, the cause needs to be known as it might solve the problem. If something frightened that snake out of it’s home, I’d really want to know what that could be. There aren’t many animals that could frighten a Burm that size.

                The only real exception to the rule of human habitation that I’m aware of in the colubrid family is the ball python. They seem to enjoy human company. They only get to about 6-8 feet long though on the high end.

                My curiosity is up over this snake. I’d love to get more information. Was it male or female? was it sick? the video is very poor quality and the cameraman didn’t seem to want to get close so I couldn’t tell if it was a morph or a typical. If I could get a really good look at the snake I could narrow down the possibilities pretty easily. That snake just didn’t go wandering into that area by itself without some reason. It didn’t seem lacking for food so I’m not thinking that it was hunting… and snakes are territorial.

              • bill in florida
                December 30, 2012 at 11:43 AM

                It was a pregnant snake with 87 eggs inside of it. Where it was caught was a picnic area in the Everglades, so it want far from the “wild” a few of its body lengths.

          • December 29, 2012 at 7:05 PM

            Several years ago, there was a bounty put on the heads of the Colubrids (pythons, boas, anacondas, etc.) in the state of Florida. About 350 professional collectors/hunters came in for the season. The catch for the entire season between all of those hunters were… 7 snakes. That’s it.

            The problem isn’t the exotic pet trade, the main reason that there are any number of these snakes in Florida is from a research lab that was breached during a hurricane some years back. Yes, some idiots do release their pets when they get too large to keep. This is really stupid on their part as some of these animals go for very large amounts of money at the reptile trade shows. They’re throwing away a LOT of cash.

            Most of the larger constrictor snakes shy away from people. They are solitary animals that are quite shy and will only bite if they feel threatened or if they mistake you for food. I have two ball pythons that are quite young. They’ll grow to about 5 or 6 feet. I’ve interacted with Burmese, retics, red tail boas, and others. Knock on wood, but I’ve never been bitten by any of them. On the other hand, I have a garter snake that loves to chew on me.

            The point is, the threat is being blown way out of proportion. Yes, there is an impact on the native species but it’s not nearly as much a problem as being portrayed by some special interest groups that fear snakes. Pythons cannot adapt to colder weather. Not in any short time anyway. It would take thousands of years if even that short of a time for those species to adapt to the colder climate of North America.

            • December 29, 2012 at 7:33 PM

              I recall the hurricane-related release.

              I understand your point about overblown because of fear of snakes. I’m not that sympathetic though because they are not native (like rattlesnakes or any other snakes that are part of the normal ecosystem). I’m not clear that such a predator really ISN’T going to cause serious issues. If not now, in a few decades. I’m also not sure rational heads will prevail on this one because of this fear. Policy is often enacted that is irrational to the problem. (I’m not saying it’s right, I’m saying it happens all the time. We have a ton of really DUMB laws.)

              • December 29, 2012 at 7:51 PM

                It’s not a bad thing to be concerned. What concerns me is the improper information being given by so called wildlife experts on the matter trying to make it sound like the end of the world.

                They continue to make the claims that these snakes are decimating the wild life in the area. The problem with this is that snakes don’t eat every day and temperature as well as other environmental factors have a huge impact on snake feeding cycles. A 17 foot Burm is going to eat maybe once every two weeks to once a month. That’s 24 meals at the most in a given year. But, when you factor in winter, where the temps in Florida may drop to below 70, the snakes will fast. They will refuse to eat. Some larger snakes can go a year or more without food. So, the number of animals being consumed by any one snake is actually very low compared to any native species.

                I’ve read reports claiming that tens of millions of native animals are falling prey to these snakes every year. There simply isn’t that many of these snakes in the Everglades to put that kind of dent in the native populations.

                As David said, for a snake that size to come into human habitation is strange. The larger constrictors are shy animals. We’re a much larger threat to them than they are to us. I’d be concerned as to why that snake left the wilderness to enter a populated area. Something forced it out. Either it was sick or injured or some other predator pushed it out. That’s what I’d be trying to find out because if there is a predator out there that is scaring a 17 foot Burm, I’d be really concerned about THAT over that snake.

                Sad that they killed it. I hope they do a complete work up on it to find out if it was sick.

            • bill in florida
              December 29, 2012 at 7:39 PM

              You are close as far as the reason for the population. During hurricane Andrew a storage facility/breeding compound was leveled. Thousands if not 10′s of thousands of reptiles and snakes were released into the wild. Its crazy to believe that the public is to blame. Its also crazy to say cats have that much of am impact on the ecosystem. House cats at that! Lol. Although I do agree they should be outlawed!

              • December 29, 2012 at 7:46 PM

                It’s been reported that housecats are one of the greatest hazards to songbirds. But it’s also disputed. Birds are not their first choice or they aren’t real great at catching them.

              • David
                December 29, 2012 at 7:47 PM

                It is proven house cats do more damage to animals in the wildlife than any other “domesticated” animal. housecats eat over a billion animals in a year but that’s not an issue? a house cats will eat/kill more rodents/birds, by weight, in a month if given the chance than a snake of equal weight will eat/kill in nearly a year

              • David
                December 29, 2012 at 7:50 PM

                http://www.fieldandstream.com/blogs/field-notes/2011/03/new-study-house-cats-taking-serious-toll-wildlife
                cats are known to be responsible for over 40% of all bird deaths in this study but they are not an issue to the environment give me a break.

              • bill in florida
                December 29, 2012 at 7:51 PM

                Let’s use the cats as bait to catch the snakes! 2 birds one oops. But you get the point. Cats are much more likely to get into your garbage than eat a bird or rodent.

              • David
                December 29, 2012 at 7:58 PM

                This study mounted cameras on to cats to watch what they did with they’re day after leaving home

                http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/nation/story/2012-08-06/house-cats-kill/56831262/1

                The study was done in athens georgia where the cats killed many birds snakes lizards mice and rats

              • December 29, 2012 at 8:03 PM

                I really like that you guys are providing links. This story had more facets than I anticipated. Good discussion. This is a science-based site but even the science on this issue is a bit muddy.

              • December 29, 2012 at 8:04 PM

                Was it Andrew when that happened? Wow, I’m getting old. LOL.

                What you’ll see is a stabilization of the population of reps in the area within the next 10 or 15 years. They are far less damaging than feral cats, hogs, or other species of animals. Their metabolism is so slow that a single snake living for 50 years out there will most likely only eat about 450 to 500 meals in it’s life. Native species such as the alligator, many turtles, birds of prey, snake eating snakes, etc. will curb the population in time of many of these invasive species. The climate will have a serious impact on them as well.

              • David
                December 29, 2012 at 8:07 PM

                Most of us snake owners have been fighting this battle for years. I’ve been following this study because i now must get a zoological license to own one of these amazing animals. if properly cared for they are amazing pets.

              • bill in florida
                December 29, 2012 at 8:16 PM

                I don’t want to debate the effect of house cats on the ecosystem. The results of any study can be skewed. I find it hard no impossible to believe the numbers you’ve given. I also find it hard to believe the 10′s of thousands of snakes are from irresponsible owners. I think the amount of animals the python kills is grossly overestimated as well.

                As far as the snake in the article , it was found in an area of the Everglades, not a neighborhood. I live in S Fl occasionally I get a snake in my yard or driveway. I assume it wondered out of the woods on either side of my house.

          • December 29, 2012 at 8:16 PM

            Something else I’d like to point out. That being the fact that these snakes are very reclusive. In fact, most snakes are. An example is the common ring neck snake. This species inhabits most of the continental US but is rarely seen. It’s estimated that there are dozens if not hundreds per acre across the US. Most of us have walked within a few inches of these snakes and never knew it.

            Killing off the colubrids in Florida is not going to be easy. It’s a fools task to be frank about it. Most people hunting them will step right next to them or be within a few feet of them and never even know it. idoubtit, if you’re on facebook, feel free to send me a friend request and I can introduce you to several herps I know that are far more learned on the subject at hand than I am.

            Mike

    • dee
      December 29, 2012 at 8:00 PM

      The problem is an unbalanced ecosystem. http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/uw286

  2. D. Walker
    December 29, 2012 at 1:50 PM

    I’d certainly favor banning importation of many types of animals of that sort, and would favor their being hunted in order to spare as much native wildlife as possible.

    • David
      December 29, 2012 at 1:57 PM

      But why ban them in every state for a problem in Florida. These snakes can ONLY live in the everglades, year round, within United States. Create a ban in Florida don’t make it impossible to own in other states.

    • December 29, 2012 at 7:10 PM

      A ban would only increase the value of the snakes and open a black market for them. What is needed is for Florida to provide a rescue system for these animals that would allow owners to adopt them out to people that can care for them and keep them out of the wild.

  3. Jonathan e
    December 29, 2012 at 11:02 PM

    We all suffer from irresponsible people that release their pets into the wild, a tad cool here for most to survive, though there is the Beast of Bodmin a reputedly large cat roaming the moor, surviving on small mammals and birds as it goes. personally I think exotic species should be left to their exotic home where they help keep the balance of nature, red in tooth and claw.
    Regarding the domestic cat v (Garden) songbirds, though my cats have when much younger brought in the occasional bird they seem to be mostly interested in Mr rat.
    Nowdays they just seem to enjoy watching the birds as i do.
    The population decrease in some of our songbirds can be put down in my experience to the Corvidae, Crows jays ravens rooks Magpies which I have witnessed myself taking young from the nests in springtime, quite ravenous!, as i say while there’s been a decrease in song bird population there’s been an increase in the Corvids, they are everywhere.
    No big snakes though, only our tiny ‘grass’ and adder. We like it that way.

    • December 31, 2012 at 12:16 AM

      Corvines are songbirds.

      I’ve also handled Burmese, ball, retics, boas, etc. They’re none of them much of a threat to humans as predators. As an ex-Floridian I also point out that they’re way, way less dangerous than our native crocodiles and somewhat less than the native alligators.

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