Invasive Burmese pythons could find comfortable climatic conditions in roughly one third of the United States according to new "climate maps" developed by FORT scientists. Although other factors such as type of food available and suitable shelter also play a role, Burmese pythons and other giant constrictor snakes have shown themselves to be highly adaptable to new environments. Biologists with Everglades National Park confirmed a breeding population of Burmese python in the Florida Everglades in 2003, presumably the result of released pets. Python populations have since been discovered in Big Cypress National Preserve, Miamiís water management areas, Key Largo, and many state parks, municipalities, and public and private lands in the region. The just-released USGS maps can help natural resource agencies manage and possibly control the spread of non-native giant constrictor snakes such as the Burmese python. FORT researchers are also conducting a risk assessment for nine species of giant constrictors (including boa constrictors and yellow anacondas) that are prevalent in the pet trade and as such, potential invaders in the United States. Due to be completed by early 2009, the assessment evaluates the risk of invasion for these species and the potential for social, economic, and environmental impacts.
For more information contact: Gordon Rodda
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