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Melissa Mayntz

Invasive Pythons Preying on Florida's Birds

By April 14, 2012

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Invasive predators are always a problem for native wildlife, and a new study has shown that birds in Florida may not even make it out of the egg before falling prey to Burmese pythons. According to ScienceDaily, a study of the snakes' diets has shown that more than two dozen bird species are at risk from the pythons, and the largest snakes - more than eight feet long - have also been consuming birds' eggs. While only two snakes have so far been discovered as having consumed eggs, the threat is serious considering the sheer numbers of these snakes in Florida and the number of susceptible bird species.

The first Burmese pythons were located in Florida in 1979, and every year more of the non-native snakes are introduced not only as the wild snakes breed, but also as unwanted pets are illegally released. Today, it is estimated that there are tens of thousands of Burmese pythons in Florida's swamps, including the sensitive Everglades region. Depending on an individual snake's size, it can prey on birds as large as herons and egrets.

Anyone who has an unwanted pet - of any type - should never release that animal into the wild where it can do irreparable harm to native wildlife. Such releases are illegal in many areas, and the more humane and responsible action is to surrender the pet to a local animal shelter that can help it find a new home.

Burmese Python
Photo Ted

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