Thousands of invasive pythons removed from Florida Everglades
November 15, 2020 at 11:55 am EST By Jared Leone, Cox Media Group National Content Desk
MIAMI — A record number of Burmese pythons have been removed from the Florida Everglades a year after two state agencies combined efforts to combat the invasive species.
Contractors for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Southwest Florida Water Management District have removed nearly 4,000 snakes as of mid-October, surpassing 2019 numbers, and bringing the total number of snakes removed since 2017 to 6,278.
The numbers also indicate the stranglehold the species has on the delicate balance of the South Florida wetland environment.
“That’s also bad news by the way. I just want to point out that there’s that many snakes,” Eric Sutton, FWC executive director, said during a presentation Thursday, the Naples Daily News reported.
The snakes pose a risk to the small mammal population and the ecology of the Everglades. They were introduced into the wild by breeders and owners who dumped the unwanted animals. They have no predators, and female snakes can carry up to 100 eggs. Researchers found that the reptiles decimated the marsh rabbit population. Pythons also are known to have eaten alligators.
“It’s a serious problem,” said Ron Bergeron, a member of the water district board. “Especially since pythons can get 20 feet long and actually destroy the whole natural food chain.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.