Could Twenty-five Foot Pythons Be Coming to Your Backyard?

Check out this neat story from the News & Record about the possibility of huge Burmese Pythons migrating northward.  And here’s another one from Science Daily.

Burmese Pythons are of course a non-native species, a breeding population having only recently (2003) been confirmed in the Florida Everglades.  Some speculate the snakes were introduced into the region by pet owners, others when Hurricane Andrew barreled through in 1992, releasing thousands of pets into the wild.  The python population in the Everglades National Park alone is now estimated at 30,000, and their numbers are growing rapidly throughout South Florida.  

Scientists are concerned that the snakes present a threat to several endangered species, pets such as dogs and cats, as well as humans. 

The Associated Press article appearing in the News and Record quoted herpetologist Whit Gibbons of the University of Georgia who says “[a] 20-foot python, if it grabbed one of us, would bite us and then within just — instantly — seconds, it would be wrapped all the way around you and squeezing the life out of you.”

Of course, it will be a good while before these pythons reach North Carolina, but experts point out that with global warming their potential range could extend even further north in the future.

Greensboro Public Library has lots of books on snakes, including a few on pythons.  Try some of these:  Boas and Pythons of the World by Mark O’Shea; Giant Snakes by Seymour Simon (juvenile); Boas, Pythons, and Anacondas by Eric Ethan (juvenile); Pythons by Matt Doeden (juvenile); and Killer Instinct (DVD).

You can also learn about pythons in Science Online.        


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