5 February 2014
Invasive Species: Burmese Python There are many different invasive species in the United States. This paper will be focused on one in particular, the Burmese Python. These large constrictors are a native of Southeast Asia (University of Florida, 2008). Burmese Pythons can reach lengths upwards of twenty feet (Dorcas, 2011). They live in warm wet climates and can live for fifteen years or more. These snakes were originally brought into the United States as a pet species. Due to the size that these snakes reach, they are often released by overwhelmed owners. This has become a big problem in southern Florida. These large reptiles thrive in the Everglades of southern Florida. They are breeding in the wild and can produce clutches of up to one hundred eggs (Dorcas, 2011). The population of wild Burmese Pythons in the Florida Everglades is estimated to be near 100,000 (Dorcas, 2011). They are taking up a large amount of space in the environment and pressuring many native species. This overwhelming population of a non-native species is causing major problems in the natural food chain and giving rise to concerns about the impact of their presence on endangered species in the area.
Burmese Pythons are generalists meaning that they eat a variety of organisms. They eat a lot of native species some of which are endangered. They eat a wide range of species including raccoons, opossums, rabbits, and many others (University of Florida, 2008). They even eat birds and occasionally small alligators. Other carnivorous species are becoming more stressed to find food due to the large amounts of prey eaten by the Pythons. Scientists are attempting to track the impact of the Burmese Pythons’ eating habits on the general populous of the Everglades.
There are many ongoing efforts to reduce the number of Burmese Pythons in the Florida Everglades. Over 1,800 pythons have been removed from the Everglades National Park (National Park Services . . . 2014). Some of the snakes are found dead on job sites or killed on the road, but the population is still booming. There have been studies conducted that prove that the use of dogs may be an effective method in searching for the pythons, as they can cover more ground more quickly than a human (National Park Services. . . 2014). If a person lives in an area where there in a population of these pythons there are many hotlines which they could call if one of the pythons was spotted. There are even various programs that train people to respond to reports of a sighting and capture the snake (The Nature Conservancy, 2014).
In the end the population of Burmese Pythons in southern Florida will probably never be completely eradicated. They thrive in the Everglades and reproduce quickly. Their voracious appetite will endanger the balance of the food chain