Burmese pythons appear to be having a marked effect on some prey populations in South Florida, according to a paper published online 30 January 2012 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The research conducted by USGS, NPS, and university scientists shows a strong correlation between abundance of pythons in an area and precipitous declines in certain mid-sized mammal populations, such as marsh rabbits and raccoons. Similarly, in areas where the pythons are not yet known to proliferate, these same species appear stable in numbers. The authors conclude that predation by invasive Burmese pythons is the most likely explanation for the apparently severe decline of these animals in python-dense areas, and that the fauna of this extensive and largely inaccessible park has been markedly altered by the introduction of a large, non-native predator snake. The study corroborates recent scientific reviews suggesting that predators, whether native or exotic, can exert major influence on the structure of vertebrate communities. Read the full news release at Severe Declines in Everglades Mammals Linked to Pythons and FAQs at Frequently Asked Questions--Severe Mammal Declines in Everglades National Park Linked to Burmese Pythons.
For more information contact: Bob Reed
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