Saturday, December 29, 2007

The New Urban Neighbor: Giant Pythons

Albino Burmese Python [Source - Wikipedia]

It was just another day of mowing the roadsides and canals for Jesse Parker. Parker was working a roadside bush mower along the canal south of 12Th Street in Vero Beach when he hit something he thought was a pile of bricks.
"When I backed up, a head popped up. It was huge," said Parker, who works for a company that does contract work for the county.
The head of a 16 ft. python, Parker said he'd only seen something like this "on Wild Kingdom."
Vero Beach Animal Control Officer Bruce Dangerfield said the snake could have eventually grown to 25 to 30 ft. in length. Dangerfield believes the snake was originally someones pet.

"There is plenty for them to eat out there" and warm canal waters to sustain the tropical creatures during the cold, he said. Source -
Dangerfield said the discovery of the 16 ft. python was the 20Th large python or boa Dangerfield has come across in the past ten years in Indian River County.

18 ft. Python [Source - Reptile Kingdom]

Two years ago another 16 ft. python was found, this time near 4Th St. and 58Th Ave. The snake was captured and given to a serpentarium near St. Cloud.
VERO BEACH, Fla. (AP) - A 16-foot-long Burmese python was captured on a city street after a passing motorist spotted about three feet of it hanging over a curb and called police.

The brown-and-yellow snake was wrestled into a body bag and taken to the home of Vero Beach Animal Control Officer Bruce Dangerfield.

"This is a very irresponsible owner to let something loose like this," he said Thursday of the late Wednesday capture. "Either it escaped - all snakes are escape artists - or someone let it loose." Source - Giant Python Caught on Florida Street
One couple in Ft. Lauderdale thought they had a raccoon in the crawlspace under their house. Neighborhood cats and dogs began to disappear. They called the business, "Pesky Critters" to come retrieve the pest under the house. The "pest" turned out to be a very fat 22 ft. reticulated python.

Giant snakes are the newest neighbors in Florida's towns and neighborhoods.
Elidia Rodriguez, of Miami Gardens, Fla., had been looking for her 1-year-old Siamese cat for two days when her son found a bulging Burmese python slithering in her back yard. Authorities captured the snake and took it to a nature park.

Veterinarian William Chavez said an X-ray shows evidence that the bulge in the python was indeed from a cat it had eaten.

"Something killed a cat and swallowed it," Chavez said. Source - NBC6 - X-Ray Shows Python Ate Cat
Some of the snakes gone wild are escapees.
JACKSONVILLE, FL -- They're not the neighbors you'd want near your home -- but one First Coast community found enormous pythons slithering down its streets, and one of animals is still on the loose.

Neighbors started calling the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office a few weeks ago, saying they'd seen a large python off Nain Road on the Southside. Florida Fish & Wildlife officers were able to find and capture one of them, a 13-foot male. The eight-foot female is still missing, "said Investigator Ken Holmes with Florida Fish and Wildlife.

Both snakes are albino Burmese pythons that the Florida Fish and Wildlife warns could be a "hazard to small children and pets."

"It was a situation where the same snake escaped at least twice."
Source - First Coast News - 10 Foot Python Roams Southside Neighborhood
The Florida Everglades are dealing with a massive influx of Burmese pythons. It's estimated the Burmese population has reached 5,000 and growing. In 3 years the snake can reach 10 ft. in length. The snake can eventually reach 20 ft. and weight of 300 Pd's.

Biologists believe the snakes are offspring of pets released by their owners or escapees after major storms such as Hurricane Andrew. The same applies to the big snakes hanging out in Vero Beach. The climate is good, the canals and neighborhood backyards full of tasty snacks.

According to the book, The Exotic Amphibians and Reptiles of Florida:

Many of the exotic reptiles in Florida have been introduced as a consequence of the pet trade. Pet snakes are notorious for escaping from cages, even from professional herpetologists, and then getting out of a building. Pet trade facilities can be damaged or destroyed by high winds or trees, resulting in the escape of animals.

Those at risk from the influx of these reptiles are pets and small animals.

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood, a beautiful day in the neighborhood.
Won't you be my neighbor? Source - Mr. Rogers Neighborhood

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