Invasive 9-foot Burmese python found in Biscayne Bay
It’s not news that the invasive and damaging Burmese python has invaded Everglades National Park, but there are signs that they are also adapting to the saltier waters of South Florida.
Miami Herald reporter Jenny Staletovich writes that a 9-foot python was found by a kayaker more than a half mile offshore in Biscayne National Park.
It was the first such sighting in the park.
Read: Python loses fight with alligator caught on film.
“It’s another raising of the notch in the war against pythons,” University of Florida wildlife biologist Frank Mazzotti told The Herald. “When you actually see something like this, how often does it occur that you don’t see it?”
Earlier this year, The Post reported that an Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge officer may have found the refuge’s first known wild python, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said. The officer came across the 10-foot Burmese python in September as it crossed a levee at the refuge west of Boynton Beach the agency said.
A demonstration on how to handle a Burmese Python during training for the Python Challenge at University of Florida Research and Education Center in Davie, Florida, January 12, 2012. (Greg Lovett/The Palm Beach Post)
The Herald has also reported that a more than 15-foot long Burmese python was caught in the Everglades and found to have the remains of three deer in its belly.
According to The Herald:
While it’s the first time researchers have documented such a massive feast, the lead author, Dickinson College herpetologist Scott Boback, thinks the three-deer meal could be an indication of how efficiently the snakes have adapted to the marshes since they appeared in the 1980s.
“What I think is going on is the pythons are completely monopolizing the biomass in the Everglades,” he said. “They’re taking all that stuff that’s out there and just making it more pythons.”
Photo courtesy South Florida Water Management District, Homestead Field Station, August 2016.