There’s no question they are coming with ill intent, southern assailants slithering toward the last remnant of the northern Everglades where freshwater veins lead to an unspoiled buffet.
The invasive Burmese python, which infests Everglades National Park, has yet to be seen inside the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge west of Boynton Beach.
Without fortification, it’s just a matter of time before the voracious eaters enter the 141,000-acre refuge as conquering parasites, but defenses are being mounted, including a unique python trap that refuge caretakers hope will help with early detection and mitigation.
“Unfortunately, at this moment there are not a lot of control methods — or any effective control methods — for the python,” said Rebekah Gibble, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service senior wildlife biologist at the refuge. “We have people working feverishly to develop other methods of control so we don’t get as bad as Everglades National Park.”
In 2016, a 10-foot-long python was found on a levee near the southeast side of the refuge, and there have been sightings in parking lots adjacent to the refuge, Gibble said.
Water samples taken from the refuge have also tested positive for python DNA, but the water may have flowed into the refuge from other areas.
“I think it’s inevitable that this area will get inundated with pythons so we want to do anything we can to control the invasion,” said Andrew Eastwick, a wildlife biologist at the refuge. “But we want to make sure that what we do doesn’t do more harm than good.”
They are hoping this 5-foot-long trap…Read more about how the innovative trap works in the full story on MyPalmBeachPost.com.