published Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

Florida pythons multiply like the rabbits they're killing off

The mere mention of snakes gets attention -- most of it negative.

Some snakes are beneficial in eating rodents and insects, of course, but others are dangerous to humans and wildlife.

Down in Florida's Everglades, Burmese pythons are apparently decimating populations of native animals ranging from foxes to raccoons. (Visitors to the area have not reported a "nuisance raccoon" in seven years, officials noted.) Deer and bobcat populations seem to be falling, too.

Burmese pythons, logically enough, are not native to South Florida. But in many cases, people who strangely bought them as pets understandably tired of them, and released them into the wild. They multiplied like rabbits -- one of their favorite foods -- and today there may be tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of pythons in the region. Only alligators rival them atop the area's food chain.

Burmese pythons grow to an average 16 feet -- and up to 22 feet -- and can lay up to 100 eggs at a time.

You see the problem.

Can anyone see a solution?

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So let me guess, you don't want a free-market solution?

February 1, 2012 at 11:35 p.m.
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