Everglades Python Population Prospering

MIAMI (CBS4) – Despite record breaking winter cold snaps and drought, the Burmese python population appears to be prospering in the Everglades.

After last years cold snaps, researchers theorized that many of the Burmese pythons in the glades most likely didn’t survive. Now they are re-thinking that position.

More than two dozen have been caught so far this year and the South Florida Water Management District said it removed six pythons from the Everglades in the last two weeks.  The snakes were recovered in areas where they were not previously found.

FAST FACTS: Burmese Pythons

Zoo Miami’s Ron Magill said having survived two very cold periods in 2010, the Burmese python population could be heartier than ever.

“The snakes that survived of course adapted.  Now some, (I) would venture to say, even adapted to deal with future cold freezes, so the freeze is not going to be as effective on the existing snakes as it was previously,” said Magill.

The epicenter for the non-native snakes has been Everglades National Park but now scientists are finding them further north, even above Alligator Alley.

Burmese pythons are top predators known to prey on more than 20 native Florida species.

“Mammals and birds are definitely a possibility,” said Ellen Donlan with the SFWMD.  “Deer, endangered species, wood storks have been consumed, bobcats could be, so it’s really almost anything that comes across its path.”

“A large female can easily produce between 20 and 30 eggs, sometimes even more, and those 30 eggs turn into babies and those babies that survive then become reproducing animals – you do the math,” said Magill.

Scientists had hoped the cold weather would have helped control the spread of pythons and other exotic species that pose ecological threats to South Florida’s native plants and wildlife. Instead, it took a toll on some of our area’s native species.

Nearly 250 manatee deaths were recorded in 2010 which set a one-year record for total deaths, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Service.  A plunge in ocean temperatures killed off corals in shallow waters from Biscayne Bay through much of the Florida Keys and left hundreds of sea turtles dead or stunned and sick. More than one hundred rare North American crocodiles, about 10 percent of the coastal population, also died from cold exposure.

  • Jimbo99

    To me, they’re fair game for a slaughter. They aren’t supposed to be in South Florida and are a threat to the eco-system. Kill them all when encountered, unless someone is going to ship them back to Asia and the Far East. If they are edible, well it’s a source of food.

  • don

    agree they are a threat to our eco system…..but there is no need to kill them….its not there fault……I say ship them back

  • Gladesman66

    Bull !!!! The python “problem” is exaggerated by the employees of the park service- protecting their budget. The majority of snakes they have found are dead- there are no where near the numbers they claim. Why have they resisted allowing gladesmen, anglers and hunters the right to kill them on sight. Do the numbers- talk to people like myself who are in the ‘Glades every weekend. Don’t believe the hype. Ron Magill couldn’t find his way off Loop Road in the Glades. This is about money- Federal money – and lots of it.

  • Florida Cracker

    what is the natural enemy of the python? Must be worse than the snakes. Why not allow year round hunting of the snakes, even put a bounty on them? The fact is that most of the fish in the s.fl. freshwater eco-systems are non-native species. The water quality is terrible, especially in the glades with algae slime choking the bottom of the river of grass. The whole system from the suwanee to okeechobee to the glades is polluted with agri-runoff etc… The govt. programs are full of huge expensive boondogeles like the u.s. sugar deal. The canal systems and levees are for flood control, but they divide the natural flow and create buildup of toxins in the mud along the levees. Everyone knows what needs to be done to restore the system, but it’s all wrapped up in govt. red tape.The whole system feeds into florida bay, the keys, the gulf, the atlantic. The negative impact upon sport fishing, commercial fishing, hunting, tourism, sport diving,the coral reefs, our drinking water from the polluted aquafers…. The s. fl. water man. dist. is an archaic remnant of a bygone good old boy era. Without a healthy glades system all of s.fl. feels it’s effects on the health and commerce that we all deserve and need. Before s. fl. became wall to wall development it was a much more mellow place to live. By the way, the seminoles and miccosukees are not the native people of s. fl. They would be the calusas and others that became extinct. Later, the spanish brought other natives to fl. who escaped and became the seminoles. People come here from all over the world to live in the sun, etc… but most don’t give a damn about the place, except for how they can make $ and escape from whereever they are running away from! You people come here and crowd the place into the open toilet that it is now, and then tell me how great it is wherever the hell you came from! Go back, there’s a plane leaving every hour. I have been here most of my life and if only most of you could have seen what it was like 50 years ago, you would understand how the place has gone down hill. I’ll bet that’s true of a lot of places, and for a lot of the same reasons. People think they can move to Boca or st. Lucie to escape, but it’s all the same big mess. Just look at s.fl. from space and see how we are all crammed into one big corridor of concrete and pollution, and then see the glades wide open,or so it seems. The truth nis that the glades is only a few thousand years old in this incarnation. We have been more under water in terms of geology through millions of years of changes. Maybe we all live to see the ocean re-claim the land here in s.fl. as global warmings effects become apparent.

  • Native American

    The fact that you Cubans are so damn touchy about anyone saying anything that you don’t agree with; that is why you just don’t get it. Give up your cultural identity and try to become Americans. Even if Castro died and Cuba became free most of you would stay here, because this is where the money is and that is what America is all about. I have never seen any group of people more bigoted and racist than the cubans. I used to watch them play army man out in the Glades, what a bunch of crap! A race of cowards, running from your country like rats on a sinking ship. No, you are not Cubans, you are ex-Cubans,crying about the communistas and the REGIME! Not one of you had the smarts or the balls to take Castro out, or to do like our friends min Egypt, etc… and rise up and take your country back from that bearded bastardo! Better maybe to die trying than to live with the shame of cowardice as a race of exiles. Cubans get a free boat from the govt. when they nget here off the boat. S.S.I. , an apt. food stamps, etc… The Haitians get sent back a.s.a.p. Why are you so special? Miami-Dade is rife with corruption of all kinds at all levels, with the cubans leading the way.You brought your culture here allright, a culture of scams and frauds, graft,cheating; you name it! You want to take credit for building Miami, etc.. are you serious?Really? What you did was try to take over what was already here, and take credit. Well look around you, this is one messed-up place, and you deserve all the credit and blame for all , good and bad. Put all that energy together and maybe you could get your country back. I doubt it, most of you can’t even seem to get along with one another. What will be your excuse for being such a bunch of a holes when Cuba becomes another Key Largo?

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