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Tue Jul 16, 2019, 02:54 PM

The snakes that ate Florida

In the Everglades, everything still looks the same. The waving saw grass, the cypress and pine trees draped with air plants, the high, white clouds parked like dirigibles above their shadows—if you’ve been to the Everglades before, and you go back, you’ll still find these. But now there is also a weird quiet. In the campsites of Everglades National Park, raccoons don’t rattle the trash can lids at four in the morning. Marsh rabbits don’t scatter with a nervous rustle on the hiking trails as you walk by. Tires don’t shriek when somebody brakes to avoid an opossum transfixed by headlights in the middle of the road. In fact, roadkill, which used to be common in this wildest part of Florida, is no longer seen.

The raccoons and marsh rabbits and opossums and other small, warmblooded animals are gone, or almost gone, because Burmese pythons seem to have eaten them. The marsh’s weird outdoor quiet is the deep, endlessly patient, laser-focused quiet of these invasive predators. About two feet long when hatched, Burmese pythons can grow to 20 feet and 200 pounds; they are among the largest snakes in the world. The pythons are mostly ambush hunters, and constrictors. They kill smaller animals by biting them on or near the head and suffocating them as they are swallowed. Larger animals are seized wherever is convenient, and crushed and strangled in the coils before and during swallowing. Large constrictor snakes have not existed in North America for millions of years. Native wildlife species had never seem them before, and may not recognize them as predators.

By the mid-1990s, the pythons had established a breeding population. For 25 years they have been eating any animals they can get their mouths around. Given the extremely stretchy cartilage joint connecting their jaws to their heads and their ability to extend their windpipe, snorkel-like, outside their mouths, so they can breathe while their mouths are entirely occupied with swallowing—that’s a lot of animals. A 2013 study found that, of a group of marsh rabbits fitted with radio transmitters and released into python territory, 77 percent of those that died within a year had been eaten by pythons. Scientists say that the snakes are responsible for a recent 90 to 99 percent drop in the small mammal population in the national park.

They really should not be here. We Americans can’t agree on much, but most Floridians agree that having large invasive snakes eating up the native wildlife is not a good thing. Given the pythons’ many survival advantages, they will never be eliminated. Today the objective is containment and control.



Read more: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/snakes-ate-florida-180972534/#Dh7YGrw8dZ6F9Ctw.99

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Arrow 26 replies Author Time Post
Reply The snakes that ate Florida (Original post)
left-of-center2012 Jul 2019 OP
Scurrilous Jul 2019 #1
albacore Jul 2019 #2
Botany Jul 2019 #3
CaliforniaPeggy Jul 2019 #4
demosincebirth Jul 2019 #5
COLGATE4 Jul 2019 #7
lpbk2713 Jul 2019 #8
Blue_true Jul 2019 #10
demosincebirth Jul 2019 #13
Blue_true Jul 2019 #14
Ligyron Jul 2019 #16
Blue_true Jul 2019 #17
Ligyron Jul 2019 #18
Blue_true Jul 2019 #19
Ligyron Jul 2019 #20
Blue_true Jul 2019 #21
Ligyron Jul 2019 #22
Blue_true Jul 2019 #25
aikoaiko Jul 2019 #23
Ligyron Jul 2019 #24
rwsanders Jul 2019 #6
Demovictory9 Jul 2019 #9
Blue_true Jul 2019 #11
Vinca Jul 2019 #12
Blue_true Jul 2019 #15
katmondoo Jul 2019 #26

Response to left-of-center2012 (Original post)

Tue Jul 16, 2019, 02:58 PM

1. K&R




I went to Everglades Park a few years back and the only things stirring were the mosquitoes.

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Response to left-of-center2012 (Original post)

Tue Jul 16, 2019, 03:02 PM

2. It an awful problem...

They tried amateur hunters, with not much luck. The pros are doing it now, and it seems like they are pissing into the tide. The only hope is that the snakes eat themselves out of food and starve. Then re-introduce the other critters.
Awful choices for an awful problem.

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Response to left-of-center2012 (Original post)

Tue Jul 16, 2019, 03:05 PM

3. Sex pheromone traps

Bring in the males and or females with pheromones and kill 'em.

However it might be too late for many of the invasive species that are killing the
planet's ecological supportive system.

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Response to left-of-center2012 (Original post)

Tue Jul 16, 2019, 03:14 PM

4. A fairly long article, but fascinating and well worth reading! n/t

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Response to left-of-center2012 (Original post)

Tue Jul 16, 2019, 03:41 PM

5. Didn't they realize this was going to happen twenty or twenty-five years ago?

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Response to demosincebirth (Reply #5)

Tue Jul 16, 2019, 03:58 PM

7. They did. But the major source of these snakes was

the destruction of a storage facility for snakes when Hurricane Andrew decimated Miami. A couple of hundred escaped into the (very) nearby Everglades and the rest, as they say is History. These critters are so perfectly camouflaged that you can be standing within 3 feet of one in the Glades and never even see it.

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Response to demosincebirth (Reply #5)

Tue Jul 16, 2019, 04:02 PM

8. It's 7800 square miles of swampy terrain.



Some of it is inaccessible to humans. They are going to be with us for a while.

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Response to lpbk2713 (Reply #8)

Tue Jul 16, 2019, 06:09 PM

10. Airboats pretty much go everywhere there.

Once they become a real threat to humans and their pets, something real will be done and it will be savage. Those things are a real threat to small babies, no way should people leave a baby unwatched even for a few seconds.

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Response to Blue_true (Reply #10)

Tue Jul 16, 2019, 08:17 PM

13. Why don't they put bounties on them?

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Response to demosincebirth (Reply #13)

Tue Jul 16, 2019, 08:38 PM

14. That is being done.

I read that one adult female can lay some like 40-50 eggs.

One thing that is being tried recently is to lure the snakes during mating season and kill the ones that show up.

Their meat is or was being harvested and sold as fancy meat in specialty meat shops. I don't know how big that has become.

Like I said, once they seriously threaten human subdivisions, they are going to get wiped out. Currently they are decimating small wild animals. But once they start eating pets in neighborhoods and grab a small baby or two, war will be declared on them.

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Response to Blue_true (Reply #14)

Tue Jul 16, 2019, 09:14 PM

16. They taste pretty good.

Skin makes pretty leather goods. My neighbor found one in her recycling crate in the garage. Left the door open a crack for cross ventilation last winter. Every time a neighbor lady has a run in with a snake they call me. I come get them and take them into the woods and release them. Had to kill this one though. 11ft 8 in.

Like I said, they taste pretty good.

There are iguanas and basilisk galore in the hood. Saw a tengu once so there's surely more. Another neighbor found an 8 ft gator in their pool. Called animal control who refused to help so he shot it. Got arrested but demanded a trial and jury acquitted him.

Crazy down here but I love it.

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Response to Ligyron (Reply #16)

Tue Jul 16, 2019, 09:19 PM

17. How far down do you live? nt

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Response to Blue_true (Reply #17)

Tue Jul 16, 2019, 09:26 PM

18. West Palm Beach out in Wellington.

If you know where Wellington is - 12 miles west of the city. Polo and horse country on the edge of the Glades.

Are you in Fl?

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Response to Ligyron (Reply #18)

Tue Jul 16, 2019, 09:45 PM

19. I am in NorthCentral, between Ocala and Gainesville.

I tend to stay in Central Miami and South Beach when down there. I think I drove out in the direction of you once when I chose to drive from Miami up to Tampa, talk about a drive that I won't do again. Coming through the reservation, there seemed to have been a speed check every mile.

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Response to Blue_true (Reply #19)

Tue Jul 16, 2019, 10:32 PM

20. I lived in Ocala for about a year.

I remember those billboards on 75 driving back and forth to G'ville for work. Loved the anti abortion ones and oh, then the best one: Citizens Grand Jury. Wanted to indict Obama, lol. When Romney lost the Villages had a major sad and the "tea party patriots" at their coffee place hang out just went nuts.

Finally moved up to Gainesville northwest section. Like night and day . Loved those festivals in McIntosh. Wanted to move there but nothing for sale at the time.

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Response to Ligyron (Reply #20)

Tue Jul 16, 2019, 10:43 PM

21. I live closer to Ocala. You make a point, going from Gainesville to Ocala is like stepping backward

20 years culturally, has been that way since I was a child. Ocala has a lot more churches, lots more wear it on their sleeve religious people. It is changing slowly as more people move into the region, it is actually trending toward purple, used to be blood, blood red.

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Response to Blue_true (Reply #21)

Wed Jul 17, 2019, 12:02 PM

22. What depressed me most was the state of Silver Springs.

Just horrible compared to what I remember as as child, algae covering almost everything. Zoo, monkeys gone, an orphan nobody wants to adopt. All because of agriculture, golf and horses I suppose. State lets them do it too, just pump out all you want boys. Friggin' Scott. Sinkholes opening up up from lack of the water supporting the roof houses falling in. Looks like they closed that cave in Redding we used to go to when I was in College. Ginnie, Poe and the other springs pretty much all commercial now.

It is getting better politically you're right, bluer and I even thought Gillum had a good chance. Might have been rigged too.

Maybe next time...

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Response to Ligyron (Reply #22)

Wed Jul 17, 2019, 05:17 PM

25. The MAGA bomber hurt Gillum a lot and Nelson even more.

There was an estimate that there could have tens of thousands filled out ballots in Miami area post offices that had to be thrown out because they did not get postmarked after post offices were shut down as the FEDs zeroed in on that idiot.

Gillum lost by around 30k and Nelson lost by around 3k, if I remember correctly. Dade county is the democratic party's biggest county in Florida, even ahead of Hillsborough.

That incident is another reason why people should take advantage of the 11 days of early voting and not mail in filled out ballots. Mailin ballots may work in a blue state, but in a republican controlled purple one like Florida, it is a bad idea to mail in a ballot, IMO.

You had a lot more courage than I did to swim in limestone quarry pits. I went fishing in one with a group of boys my age once. The fish were not biting and it was hot, so one kid decided that he would get into the water. He walked out a few feet and hit a ledge and plunged downward. He could barely swim but brought himself back up but was clearly drowning. Several of us took out fishing poles and gently moved out toward him. One kid got a pole close enough for the kid in trouble to touch. He grabbed the pole and almost jerked the other kid into deep water. Fortunately the other kid held on to the pole while the rest of us grabbed him. We got both kids out of the water. I never went back to a place like that again. I think most of them have been dozed in and now sit under pricey homes, the actor John Travolta has or had a home somewhere near where the kid almost drowned.

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Response to Ligyron (Reply #16)

Wed Jul 17, 2019, 12:12 PM

23. Tengu?

???

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Response to aikoaiko (Reply #23)

Wed Jul 17, 2019, 12:24 PM

24. No, lol, that's a supernatural being I believe.

Darn auto correct got me again! Why it changed it to Tengu I have no clue but I should have checked my post better .

Tegus are lizards and I've never tasted any lizard except iguana. I was speaking of python, a large snake.

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Response to left-of-center2012 (Original post)

Tue Jul 16, 2019, 03:52 PM

6. This should be the answer everytime someone says there is too much government regulation

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Response to left-of-center2012 (Original post)

Tue Jul 16, 2019, 04:04 PM

9. I had no idea

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Response to Demovictory9 (Reply #9)

Tue Jul 16, 2019, 07:34 PM

11. Some of the invasive species have been caught in people's yards and pools.

My guess is when those species (the python does not yet have native preditors) run out of food in the wild, they will more frequently hunt where people live.

There was a situation in a new development near Orlando last year where rattlesnakes were occasionally crawling through yards. Look like what happened was a lot of their local habitat was wiped out during the construction of the subdivision, so they crawled between the pieces that were left.

Some canyons in Southern California have abundant rattlesnake populations, right below people's yards.

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Response to left-of-center2012 (Original post)

Tue Jul 16, 2019, 07:35 PM

12. Yet another reason not to retire to Florida.

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Response to Vinca (Reply #12)

Tue Jul 16, 2019, 08:50 PM

15. We finally have a democratic Secretary of Agriculture for the first time since

big snakes got loose in Southern Florida. She is young and ambitious and likely has her eye on higher office. Will be interesting to see how she deals with the problem, which I think is under her domain.

If you retire to the Gainesville Florida area, or Tallahassee or Gilcrist County, you will find politically blue area that are too cold for the snakes, though warm for you. But some yahoo living next door to you may be raising 20 King Cobras in his home, since Florida grants such permits to people that prove they can properly contain the snakes and undergo annual inspections. In theory, a person can have Crits and Asps in their home as long as they have a permit, indergo inspections and they purchase antivenom, which I guess goes to the local hospital.

Honestly, when it comes to any snake, I have an Indiana Jones state of mind. If a dangerous viper comes anywhere near me, if it does not get me first, it is done.

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Response to Blue_true (Reply #15)

Wed Jul 17, 2019, 05:37 PM

26. I live in Gainesville and I really like it here, I came from NewYork because I couldn't

take the cold weather anymore. I do like being warm and with air conditioning no problem with the heat.

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