A female Burmese python with an unofficial length of 16.3 feet and weight of 140 pounds – a prime example of this invasive exotic that has seriously impacted the Everglades – was recently found and removed by park staff.
Many national parks struggle to manage the impacts on resources by invasive exotic animals and plants, but it seems that the Burmese python in the Everglades has captured the attention of the media and the public on this issue, which may help to focus attention on the larger invasive exotic problem that many land managers are grappling with.
The park has spent the past few weeks emphasizing to the media and the public the importance of not letting unwanted animals or plants loose. It is important to focus on what we have learned from this experience to prevent future invasive exotic infestations and improve our ability to react quickly before a species becomes impossible to eradicate.
The invasive exotic Burmese python has unfortunately adapted to the habitat in south Florida and Everglades National Park. Though members of the park’s staff are working on containment and science to better understand the impacts of this newest exotic in the park, it appears that eradication is currently not possible on a landscape the size of the park (almost 2400 square miles). There is a good deal of information about what the park and partner agencies are doing about this problem that can be categorized in four general areas – research, capture and removal, policy development, and education and outreach.
The python in the photo above was found by Wayne Strebe while he was spraying exotic vegetation in the park and was removed by staff trained in capturing the snakes. These snakes are difficult to find – this one was apparently moving slow due to a recent cold snap and was not difficult to capture.
Click here for more information on the park’s python problem.