Wildlife Workers Track And Kill Pythons In Everglades

By Madeline BarĂ³ Diaz
WILDLIFE workers have removed 142 Burmese Pythons from Everglades National Park this year.

On Monday, they sent one back.

The python had a radio transmitter implanted to help scientists track and eliminate the nonnative species that is multiplying in the Everglades. The big reptiles compete with the park’s native species for food, feeding on birds, small mammals and other creatures, Everglades wildlife biologist Skip Snow said.

The snake, one of seven fitted with the tracking devices, is part of an effort by scientists with Everglades National Park, the South Florida Water Management District and other agencies to collect data about Burmese Pythons in the wild. Typically, when the snakes are captured they are killed.

The snakes, which are usually spotted along the main entrance road to Everglades National Park and in the surrounding areas, are native to Southeast Asia. They can grow to more than 20 ft. long and in captivity have lived more than 20 years, Snow said

Park officials say the pythons first made their way into the Everglades when pet owners who no longer wanted them released them into the wild or when the reptiles escaped out of inadequate cages.

While other nonnative snakes have been found in the Everglades, researchers believe the Burmese Python is the only one that is breeding there. Last year, 92 Burmese Pythons were removed from the park, Everglades National Park spokeswoman Linda Friar said.

“This is a species that is not native to this habitat and it is proliferating,” she said. –Sun-Sentinel