Researcher: Burmese pythons moving out

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (UPI) — Burmese pythons are multiplying rapidly in the Everglades and moving north in Florida and south to the Keys, a University of Florida researcher says.

Frank Mazzoti said the pythons can live anywhere alligators can, which would include all of Florida and swamp areas in Georgia and Louisiana, Science Daily reported.

“People might argue the ultimate boundaries, but there’s no part of this state that you can point at and say that pythons couldn’t live here,” he said. “We really need to be addressing the spread of these pythons. They’re capable of surviving anywhere in Florida, they’re capable of incredible movement — and in a relatively short period.”

Burmese pythons are popular pets in spite of being one of the world’s largest snakes. They became established in the Everglades when owners released them as they became too big to handle, and one biologist estimates there are now 30,000 in the Everglades National Park.

Mazzotti said the snakes are difficult to eliminate because females can continue to produce young years after a mating.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International
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