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back to article Serial killer PYTHONS stalk Florida's Everglades

Pesky pythons are wiping out mammals and birds – some of which are protected species – in Florida's Everglades National Park, according to a new study. Open-mouthed Burmese python What's for dinner? Credit: Mannes Fotos (GNU license) Non-native Burmese pythons are chowing down on the local populace to such an extent that …

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Joke

Eeek

First thought? Kill 'em.

"The Burmese python is one of the six largest snakes in the world and can reach up to 7m (23ft) in length and a weight of up to 90 kilos (198lb)."

Second thought - with WHAT?

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Anonymous Coward

in America, home of the gun

I wonder what they might use.....

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What can kill a Mega Python?

Gatoroid!

Mega Python vs. Gatoroid (2011)

http://uk.imdb.com/rg/an_share/title/title/tt1680138/

Surely one of the best/worst films ever made.

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Joke

RE: Eeek

Kill them with fake exploding mammals.

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I read that as Gatorade

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Bronze badge
Thumb Up

Send in Carl Spackler

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0080487/

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Facepalm

What about the poor aligator?

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9600151/ns/technology_and_science-science/t/gator-guzzling-python-comes-messy-end/

this is old news.

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Gold badge

Re: with WHAT?

Species-specific kill-bots, developed under a DARPA initiative? How hard can it be?

if (length>7m && scary!=false)

ok2kill = true;

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Silver badge
Devil

Err... Terminally bad idea

In order for the hunter to be any good it will have to have the capacity to learn. A hunting machine that can take out a burmese python which can learn... Cough... Sputter... Cough... Sputter...

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"Nobody is sure exactly how the snakes were introduced to American ecosystems, although it's likely that many of the species arrived as pets and then escaped or were released into the wild."

Both are perfectly plausible, though the latter is more likely. It's the same reason why Ft. Lauderdale is over-run with iguanas. Pet's size becomes impractical, pet gets dumped into the intracoastal, pet breeds like crazy in the favourable environment.

Interesting to see that there's an active programme of spaying and neutering of them going on at the moment , (instead of extermination). Wonder if they could do the same for the snakes?

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Same problem with lions and tigers. I don't know what kind of moron buys a cute lion cub and then acts surprised when it gets a bit difficult to handle as it grows up. Big problem in Texas, I hear.

I wish I was joking.

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Bronze badge

Spaying and neutering long-lived predators is futile.

If your snake's going to live 30-40years, getting bigger all the time, then being neutered is not going to change that much.

About 10% of americans own a reptile. A good few of these grow to unfeasible size so get dumped (see also: baby tigers worth thousands $$, adult tigers zero or less), and this will continue to be the case... So neutered or not, there's the new influx on top of the older ones that will live for decades.

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Thanks god.

For cold winters.

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Cold temperatures = RI

Pythons and Boas can easily catch respiratory infections that kill them. Winter temperatures in northern Florida are cold enough to keep them from migrating further north.

We have a boa, and we keep the cage around at around 80F. We have to be careful in the winter on how long he is taken out of the cage because the room is 68F. He caught a RI this winter and had to go on antibiotics.

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Bronze badge

Too cold in north florida?

Let's wait to see what climate change can do there.

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and here's me thinking from the headline that John Cleese had gone on a rampage... sigh

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Anonymous Coward

And here was me thinking the headline referred to the Republican presidential candidates infesting Florida.

Then I saw the photo and knew I was right.

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Silver badge

Now that is a predator...

How topical! http://wondermark.com/793/

Seriously, though, how the hell does a snake that size catch rabbits and birds? Either they are a lot more agile (and stealthy) than you'd think possible, or they really do practice hypnosis. (Remember Kaa in The Jungle Book?) And leopards? An adult leopard can easily kill a human (disembowelment with the hind claws is a standard technique) as well as being fast and nimble.

How does the native Burmese wildlife manage to survive? If it were my problem to solve, I'd start out by finding out all I could about that question.

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Holmes

How does the native Burmese wildlife survive?

I'd suspect that some sort of local defence mechanism has evolved over the last few tens of thousands of years.

Unfortunately, that's not an option here...

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Silver badge

I think the better way would be to find out what it'd natural predator is, and introduce that to the areas.

Then, when they go out of control, find THEIR natural predator and introduce them.

And then... OK, maybe not such a good plan, a la "She swallowed the spider to catch the fly".

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The python

Is the Apex predator in it's natural environment,

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Most snakes are ambush predators, simply bed down for a period of time and wait for the prey to come close enough to grab it. Constrictors are also known to catch prey whilst it sleeps.

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Gold badge

How does Burmese wildlife survive?

If it encounters one of those, it doesn't. The *species* survives by breeding more than the predators can eat. If the predators get too good at catching prey, the prey population collapses and the predator populations follows a little while later. Mathematicians can have fun with this (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lotka-Volterra_equation).

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Gold badge

Re: the apex predator in its natural environment

In Florida, as with *any* populated area, the apex predator is the human.

Other species can pretend to be the apex predator as long as they don't start bragging about it and drawing attention to themselves. Your local conservation group can no doubt supply you with a list of species that didn't realise this until it was too late.

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"In Florida, as with *any* populated area, the apex predator is the human."

Huh? The Python is naturally equipped for its role. If you were just walking through the grass and one of them started wrapping itself around you there is nothing you could do. Man is only the "Apex Predator" when prepared and hunting with tools/traps. On a straight bare-skin one-on-one we're a tasty treat for many of the animals we kill.

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Bronze badge

In their home environment a lot of snakes are remarkably well camouflaged, and ones like these are ambush predators they can stay in the same spot basically not moving for days until something comes near enough.

It helps they can go a really long time between meals if they get a big enough meal.

Wouldn't suprise me if in Burma they tend to get larger meals easily, and that theres more predators that like baby sized boas keeping the population down.

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"My evolution included a club."

[Paraphrasing from a vaguely remembered sci-fi short story].

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Silver badge

"Huh? The Python is naturally equipped for its role. If you were just walking through the grass and one of them started wrapping itself around you there is nothing you could do. Man is only the "Apex Predator" when prepared and hunting with tools/traps. "

Thus his intelligence and ability to use tools made him apex, like it or not.

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Childcatcher

There's Gold in them there everglades

Think of what will happen when a kid gets eaten? So my solution is for a bounty to be put on them, plus lets see some tasty Python recipes. In my experience any creature with value or s tasty has been usually hunted to extinction or the verge of. Yes lots of Red Necks in the swamps with guns, whats not to like?

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Unhappy

bounty

We tried that in FL a couple of years ago. Open season for whoever wants to kill, plus rewards for big ones. Season is still open and It has not done much, obviously.

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It will just change their behavior

Rattlesnake roundups have caused a surge in non-rattling snakes which is particularly worrying for obvious reasons.

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introduce hedghogs and porcupines

built in toothpicks for the snake...

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Pint

send them to Australia

they have problem with rabbits there, I heard.

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WTF?

@send them to Australia

Right, because that worked so well with the Cane Toad...

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Australian Snakes

Australia has plenty of pythons - some as long as a Bermese python. And plenty of highly venomous snakes, too.

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Paris Hilton

Numerous articles and doco's done on this

In each of them I've seen, they've been trying to round up and/or kill the pythons, and have been for years. Obviously the pythons have been reproducing faster than they can capture/kill them. An important message from the Dept of the Obvious. :)

Paris, cuz she's seen a few snakes

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Trollface

Road surveys...?

Or Road Kill Surveys?

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Invasive Non-Native Species

The real issue with non-native animals occurs when the animals escape or are released by their owners into these new habitats in which they can wreak havoc. This is even more important when you look at the effect on already fragile environments. Invasive species have had quite the effect on Hawaii http://www.uhaul.com/supergraphics/states/hawaii/spider/index2.html

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IT Angle

I Understand

That Samuel L. Jackson has become a spokesman for the campaign.

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Snakes on

Lake Pontchartrain. OK, wrong state but not far off.

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