Cold-induced mortality of invasive Burmese pythons in south Florida

Product Type: 

Journal Article

Year: 

2011

Author(s): 

Mazzotti, F.J., M.S. Cherkiss, K.M. Hart, R.W. Snow, M.R. Rochford, M.E. Dorcas, and R.N. Reed

Suggested Citation: 

Mazzotti, F.J., M.S. Cherkiss, K.M. Hart, R.W. Snow, M.R. Rochford, M.E. Dorcas, and R.N. Reed. 2011. Cold-induced mortality of invasive Burmese pythons in south Florida. Biological Invasions. 13(1): 143-151.

A recent record cold spell in southern Florida (2–11 January 2010) provided an opportunity to evaluate responses of an established population of Burmese pythons (Python molurus bivittatus) to a prolonged period of unusually cold weather. We observed behavior, characterized thermal biology, determined fate of radio-telemetered (n = 10) and non-telemetered (n = 104) Burmese pythons, and analyzed habitat and environmental conditions experienced by pythons during and after a historic cold spell. Telemetered pythons had been implanted with radio-transmitters and temperature-recording data loggers prior to the cold snap. Only one of 10 telemetered pythons survived the cold snap, whereas 59 of 99 (60%) non-telemetered pythons for which we determined fate survived...