Hand-Wringing from Florida: Record Burmese Python

Eggs removed from a Burmese python at autopsy

A big snake with lots of eggs.

Holy Herpetology! Burmese Python Found With Record 87 Eggs - Yahoo! News

"At 17 feet, 7 inches (5.3 meters) in length, it is the largest snake of its kind found in the state and it was carrying a record 87 eggs. Scientists say the finding highlights how dangerously comfortable the invasive species has become in its new home.

"This thing is monstrous, it's about a foot wide," said Kenneth Krysko, of the Florida Museum of Natural History at the University of Florida. "It means these snakes are surviving a long time in the wild."

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7 comments:

  1. I've made myself fairly unpopular in some online forums on reptilekeeping with my stance on Burmeses, retics, green anacondas and rock pythons. In sum, my view is that there is absolutely no reason to own such an animal unless you're doing legitimate educational work with it, at minimum stringent licensing should be required such as is required for falconry if you want to keep the snake solely for pleasure.

    While I don't buy into the levels of hysteria generated by animal rights groups, seeking to ban pet reptiles of any sort, about pythons "taking over" the Everglades, there is no disputing that they are a serious problem. While bounty systems encourage fraud, it seems a straightforward solution would be to declare the animals vermin that could be dispatched on sight. I imagine a charge of buckshot to the head would settle even the largest python quite effectively.

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  2. I'm not even sure I buy that they're a problem. There was a study claiming they'd put a huge dent in mammal populations, but others have poked holes in that study. The folks campaigning for control, including some at the federal level, have used scare tactics, even implying the pythons will eat humans (none of these Florida ferals has done anything of the kind). I'm not sure what the real agenda here is. I completely agree that, if there were a problem, it could be solved quickly by encouraging people to hunt the snakes--for bounties, for sport, or even for food.

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  3. Its not really that large...

    What a shame, though, that the snakes are paying for human ignorance with their lives.

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  4. In general, I'm skeptical of a lot of the claims made about the inroads the snakes are making--partly because for some of the claims to fit the facts, we would be up to our armpits in pythons, and while Burmese pythons don't belong in Florida, they don't in the larger scheme of things match my definition of "invasive"--starlings, feral hogs, etc.Their activities seem restricted to one area of Florida.

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  5. @Croconut--Yes--calling it a "record" specimen seems like fear-mongering.

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  6. @James--People do get worked up about "invasive" species, but I'd definitely like to see better evidence for real harms before we get excited.

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  7. One of the things I find laughable--or contemptible, according to my mood--about the suggested threat to human safety: all--at least nearly all--reliably documented accounts of Burmese pythons attacking and killing humans have involved captive snakes and handlers (professional or otherwise.) This is not to say that such a large reptile could not, in theory, be very dangerous in a wild state: we are after all talking about an animal known to prey on leopards. But realistically, if Burmese pythons routinely attacked humans and killed them, they would have been doing it in their native range long since, and all things being equal, I'd take my chances with a Burmese sooner than with the natural top predators of the Everglades--crocodilians and cougars.

    And Croconut--you're right. 17 feet and change is average-large for a female Burmese, and hardly a record, although if that was meant to refer to the number of eggs...well, actually I think it would still be shy of the record, but I'm too lazy to go poking through the stacks just now. :)

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