The Burmese python is a vast snake that’s aboriginal to Asia. However, these powerful constrictor snakes have actually started come colonize certain parts of Florida. So, just how did they get there, and why room they prospering in one area that’s countless miles far from your natural ecological range?

A small variety of Burmese pythons were set complimentary by irresponsible owners who sought come abandon your pets. Also, Hurricane Andrew damaged reproduction facilities in 1992, i m sorry released number of hundred Burmese pythons into the wild. These became a reproduction population, i beg your pardon has flourished in Florida’s warm and also hospitable climate.

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Scientists and also hunters desire to cull the populace of Burmese pythons. These snakes are a major threat come the organic ecosystem that the Everglades, and are putting endangered species at risk. So far, castle have had some success, yet exact population figures stay unknown.

Contents hide
1 Burmese Python in Florida truth
1.1 where Did the Burmese Python originally Come From?
1.2 are Burmese Pythons legal in Florida?
1.3 how Did Burmese Pythons reach the Everglades?
1.4 How many Burmese Pythons room in Florida?
1.5 Why space Burmese Pythons a trouble to Florida?
1.6 exactly how Does the Burmese Python influence the Ecosystem?
1.6.1 Apex Predators
1.6.2 fast Breeders
1.6.3 herbal Survivors
1.6.4 Interbred to adapt
1.7 How deserve to the Burmese Python it is in Controlled?
1.7.1 ranger Hunting and also Killing castle
1.7.2 Radiotelemetry searching
1.7.3 Regulatory measures
1.7.4 Chemical regulate
1.7.5 biological Pest regulate

Burmese Python in Florida Facts

The Burmese python is a an extremely long, heavy constrictor snake. Their clinical name is Python bivittatus, ‘bivittatus’ coming from the Latin for ‘two stripes.’ rather than gift striped snakes, they have actually dark brown blotches all along their back. These room bordered by black scales, and are top top a lighter brown or tan background. The ‘two stripes’ describes the two stripes on their head, fairly than your back.

In their aboriginal land, they’re an endangered species. But in the U.S., they’re preserved as pet by part people. Unfortunately, numerous snake owners who bought them throughout their initial popular realized that they couldn’t take care of one. Follow to National Geographic, lock can thrive to longer than 23 feet, and also can weigh 200 pounds. This led to people releasing them to the wild, wherein they began a breeding populace in the Florida Everglades.

Let’s begin by feather at how Burmese pythons managed to gain all the way from southeast Asia, over to Florida, and how they regulated to kind a breeding population so much away indigenous home.

Where did the Burmese Python initially Come From?

The Burmese python originates from Myanmar. It is between Thailand come the south and also east, China to the north and east, and also Bangladesh/India to the west. That a beautiful part of the world, with hills to the north, the just of Bengal to the south, and also rainforest and also jungle in between. Burmese pythons can be uncovered in ecologically comparable regions all across southeast Asia, also (e.g. China, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, etc).

This is the Burmese python’s herbal habitat. Castle semi-aquatic, and need a permanent source of surrounding water. Since of the diversity of their geographical range, girlfriend can discover them in marshes and swamps, hills, woodland, and also jungles. This capability to colonize a selection of habitats, to add their need for water, is what is driving your success together an invasive varieties in Florida.

Are Burmese Pythons legit in Florida?

Burmese pythons space legal in Florida, if you have actually the correct patent for your pet. Recent additions to the state law of Florida have tightened regulations on pets like the Burmese python.

In June 2010, bill CS/SB 318 passed which amended chapter 379 the the Florida Statutes. Under the amended ar 379.372, many additions were made come the list of animals that can’t be possessed, imported, sold, bartered, traded or bred in Florida without a license from the FWC (Fish and also Wildlife conservation Commission).

Under the amended ar 379.4015, a minimum fine of $100 applies for maintaining one there is no the exactly permit. The pet would likewise be confiscated. The only exemption to this rules is when pets are kept for clinical research, which does call for a permit, however the allow is free.

How did Burmese Pythons with the Everglades?

There room two key theories regarding how the initial populace started. Towards the finish of the twentieth century, sightings the Burmese pythons began—from the late 1980s onwards. This was simply as Burmese pythons began taking off together a pet, and also like all pets, are sometimes some abandoned.

Now, this wouldn’t have actually been sufficient to begin the population trends we watch today. Once there are much less than a dozen or so pets of a particular types in the wild, castle can’t discover each other easily, and therefore can’t mate and increase the populace easily. Yet that all changed in 1992 when Hurricane Andrew struggle Florida.


Hurricane Andrew brought about mass destruction—it to be the worst hurricane ever to fight Florida, till Hurricane Irma come along 25 years later. It produced a full of $27.3 billion in damage. What seems to have actually happened is the Hurricane Andrew damaged local reproduction facilities, which let much more than a hundred Burmese pythons free, every at once.

Since then, their populace has get an impression significantly. Since their aboriginal habitat is quite comparable to the Everglades, they’ve been able come continue reproduction ever since. Hunters and scientists have tried their ideal to border how many there space in the wild. However, their techniques so far have only had a minimal impact. Their population is bigger than ever, ironically in ~ a time as soon as their numbers in south-east Asia are decreasing.

How numerous Burmese Pythons space in Florida?

It’s not clear how numerous Burmese pythons there room in the Everglades. They’re difficult to spot in the undergrowth or hiding in trees, and the Everglades is a huge place. The U.S. Geological inspection believes over there to be 10s of thousands of Burmese pythons living in the Everglades. This number is based on studies in pick areas, also as populace trends.

In 2018, scientists established a method to track down groups of males and also females dubbed aggregations. This is whereby a group of male snakes is all contending for the attention of a adjacent female. Researchers captured and released a line they nicknamed Argo, having fitted him with a tracking chip. Lock tracked him because that a couple of days before finding him with a 100lb female that was just around to lay her clutch. Releasing that again, three days later, they uncovered him with a 115lb female and seven various other males.

Why are Burmese Pythons a trouble to Florida?

Burmese pythons aren’t a ‘problem’ in themselves. They’re just an animal doing what it does best: hunting, eating, and also mating.

But invasive types are a problem. Flora and also fauna connect in means that we don’t totally understand. Yet what us do know is that by altering one component of one ecosystem, the rest alters too—and is, perhaps, even destroyed. This is inconceivable to anybody that lives near a nationwide park, or likewise protected habitat. Since once that gone, the gone.

Burmese pythons have so far started to populate the Florida Everglades, which space quite comparable to their indigenous habitat. Castle thriving, and their populace is boosting rapidly. In ~ the very same time, the Everglades themselves room disappearing.

Only 25% the the original Florida Everglades still survives. Politicians have taken steps to defend it, by developing the Everglades national Park. It’s intimidated by numerous issues, including water drainage, nitrates, and also mercury entering the ecosystem, urban encroachment, and now invasive species.

How does the Burmese Python affect the Ecosystem?

According to the Independent newspaper, Burmese pythons have been responsible for rendering plenty of local species practically extinct. Scientists think the 90 percent or much more of the fauna that supplied to inhabit the Everglades are now gone. That method that there room 90% under individual animals living there this particular day than there were since the turn of the century.

They’ve additionally affected details animals much more so 보다 others. Foxes and also rabbits have currently disappeared. Raccoons populaces are under 99.3%, and opossum populaces are under by 98.9%. White-tailed deer have also almost disappeared, with populations 94.1% lower than lock were.


The National Academy the Sciences has proclaimed that lock affecting distinctive species, too. They described how the increase in the variety of Burmese pythons was threatening alligators and Florida panthers through extinction. Burmese pythons are additionally threatening the adhering to threatened species:

Piping ploversEverglades snail kitesWood storksRed-cockaded woodpeckersCoyotes

Burmese pythons feeding on 39 endangered types and 41 various other rare species. If we don’t act soon, then all of these animals could disappear.

Apex Predators

Burmese pythons are very big snakes. They deserve to reach upwards the 23 feet, and weigh 200lbs. For reference, that’s as huge as a phone call pole. We’re talking around a substantial predator. This means that lock bigger 보다 anything rather you can uncover in the Everglades, including alligators.

They’re also good hunters. Their natural camouflage avoids prey from gift able to spot them. It likewise stops any kind of predators from being able to find them, including humans. They can eat almost anything. In 2018, Orland Weekly reported the a Burmese python was discovered in the process of regurgitating a deer. This in itself isn’t unusual.

But what was special about this Burmese python was the it was trying to eat a snake the was bigger than itself. After they captured the snake, they sweet it—it to be 31.5lbs, which no that hefty for a long Burmese python. The deer it to be eating (still a fawn) was 35lbs.

The suggest is that Burmese pythons can eat practically anything, and also there no an animal that can consistently threaten them. Even a crocodile isn’t likely to to win a Burmese python in a fight. Because they’re unchallenged, they deserve to keep breeding, and also their populace keeps growing unchecked.

Quick Breeders

Burmese pythons are prolific breeders. They have the right to lay 30 or an ext eggs in ~ a time. Unlike many snakes, they protect their egg from potential threats. This means that they have the right to breed, place eggs, and have castle hatch. They have the right to breed every year, between March and April.

Not only that, yet they start reproducing as soon as they’re very young compared to other animals. They begin breeding at three years old. You deserve to have many generations of this snakes in ~ just five years.


The problem is the the upper limit to their populace is dictated by just how much prey they deserve to find. This is the top limit of any pet population. This method that the population will keep growing, putting an ext pressure ~ above the populations of food animals, till the prey animals are every gone.

Natural Survivors

Burmese pythons room well camouflaged. If they deserve to avoid hunters, a Burmese python in the Everglades can live for 15+ years. That’s a very long lifespan for a snake in the wild.

Why is the important? If they have the right to mate every year, or every other year, then a female have the right to have countless clutches throughout her life. The unclear even if it is Burmese pythons mate each year in the wild, or take it years off, but a female might have number of clutches throughout her life. Considering that an average clutch is over 30 eggs, you can see how quickly the population could explode.

Interbred come Adapt

Scientists working through the USGS and also Everglades nationwide Park had been examining the population. In 2018, they released a examine on your DNA, come see exactly how they might have adapted to their new environment, and how they can be various from Burmese pythons back home.

What lock found, shocked them. They found that many of the Burmese pythons lock analyzed had interbred with Indian rock pythons. The the 400 or so snakes lock examined, 13 the them had traces of Indian rock python mitochondrial DNA, which is passed down the mummy direct genealogical line. They theorized that this hadn’t happened since they’d to be living in the Everglades, yet had taken place at some point in the past once the straight ancestors of these snakes had been in captivity.

Scientists think that their interbreeding has actually made them an ext adaptable. As soon as two varieties interbreed, each has actually a unique collection of traits that make them an ideal for life in an environment. The offspring of these snakes will certainly inherit the confident traits that assist them adapt to their brand-new habitat, when those that can’t adapt will certainly die off. It’s natural choice at work.

How have the right to the Burmese Python be Controlled?

It’s clear the something needs to be done about the Burmese python as an invasive species. If we proceed to allow them to roam free, the population will keep acquiring bigger, threatening an ext local types with extinction. So, how can they it is in stopped?

Rangers Hunting and Killing Them

Regular, regulated hunts assist keep animal populations in check. It’s important to hunt Burmese pythons and shot and protect against their populace from growing any further.

And that’s specifically what hunters are doing. Follow to the National Post, a full of 1,825 Burmese pythons were found and also killed between 2000 and 2011. Their news story was concerned the biggest ever before Burmese python discovered in Florida, which was 17 feet and 7 inch long. Together if the wasn’t testament sufficient to the success that the invasive species, the snake was a female, and also she to be pregnant with 87 eggs.

Local authorities have urged the hunting and killing that Burmese pythons through bounties. Hunters space paid a level rate that $8.10 one hour, yet they likewise get a bounty based on the dimension of the snake they capture.

Hunters acquire paid $50 because that a 4-foot snake, to add $25 because that each extra foot. So, a 10-foot Burmese python might earn a hunter $200. Hunters likewise get $150 because that a python the was nesting. 25 full-time hunters room working for neighborhood authorities, plus it’s legal for any kind of private individual to sign up with in.

Radiotelemetry Hunting

Remember what we stated above around the line they fitted with a chip, for this reason they can follow that around and find more snakes? that’s radiotelemetry. Researchers at the college of Florida space working v the USGS, and also the nationwide Park Service and many other bodies, to manage the populace of Burmese pythons. They’ve been experimenting with radiotelemetry with good success.

Radiotelemetry help them track under snakes in tiny groups. This is of good help come hunters, who can bag five snakes because that the price the one. Aside from that, though, the researcher are also using it come learn an ext about the habitat lock prefer, what they eat, and how they’re placing local types at risk. Their approach, rather rightly, is that the more we know around these snakes, the far better chance we have of controlling them.

The only downside is the it’s a costly means to manage the population. Yes the price of the tracker itself. There’s likewise the reality that you have to repeatedly catch and also release the snake, which takes man-hours. If this program could be expanded, it would be highly effective, yet costs was standing in the way.

Regulatory Measures

State legislators have actually tried to gain a handle on the Burmese python problem by passing rules and regulations which need to prevent their spread. The Florida Fish and also Wildlife Commission created a regulation that requires anybody who owns a boa or python longer than 2 inches to have a permit.

Besides that, federal laws have made it illegal to income Burmese pythons. They were added to the Lacey Act, i m sorry prohibits trade in certain flora and fauna. As a side note, this is advantageous for the Burmese python—in their herbal southeast eastern habitat, your numbers room decreasing.

Chemical Control

Scientists have actually reviewed the efficacy of acetaminophen in controlling the Burmese python population. Acetaminophen is actually noted by the U.S. Eco-friendly Protection agency as a toxicant that kills brown tree snakes. Through lacing dead prey with acetaminophen, the snakes space tricked into eating it, and quickly die. Laboratory trials imply that Burmese pythons room susceptible.

However, there’s a an excellent reason why utilizing chemical regulate might not be a good option. The takes rather a the majority of acetaminophen to death a big python. If a non-target species were come eat the prey first—like one alligator—they would certainly die instead. Scientists also have to make certain that endangered native snakes prefer the Indigo line don’t eat the prey, for the exact same reason.

Biological insect Control

Biological pest control is where we usage a predator, parasite, fungus, or virus to death off an unwelcome species. The most famous instance is from current history, as soon as in 1995, researchers reintroduced wolf to Yellowstone nationwide Park. Castle did for this reason to regulate the climbing elk population, and they to be exceptionally successful.

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Scientists analyzing the difficulty have reviewed biological control together a potential method of obtaining rid the Burmese pythons. Possibly the finest idea is to usage a virus that particularly affects Burmese pythons, but not aboriginal wildlife. Unfortunately, no such control method yet exists.