Friday, July 31, 2009
Slither and Yon
Photo credit Honolulu Zoo.
Recently, there has been coverage of the burgeoning population of Burmese Pythons in Florida. It’s speculated that these snakes have been released by owners who are no longer able or willing to care for them. In the warm, moist atmosphere of Florida, the snakes are multiplying rapidly. Scientists have been monitoring this problem for several years, and although Burmese Pythons are typically identified, other constrictors have also been discovered.
Burmese Pythons are native to Southeast Asia, and imported to the United States primarily to become pets. Because the snakes grow to substantial sizes (20-30 feet in length and hundreds of pounds at maturity), these same pet owners eventually have a problem they can’t handle...hence the release.
The National Park Service estimates that there are at least 100,000 free roaming constrictor snakes in Florida, and as a non-native species, they are wreaking havoc on the ecosystem. Thus the mission of authorities now is to find, capture, and destroy as many as possible for there is significant evidence that the constrictors have the ability to migrate throughout the southern portion of the United States, where warm weather and mild winters provide a perfect place for them to thrive.
This is yet another unfortunate example of the result when people obtain exotic pets. I had an experience with a constrictor owned by my son many years ago. I won’t go into the details here, but suffice it to say it’s not an experience that I care to repeat.
Please, if you have an exotic animal, consider that this may not be the best situation for either you or the critter. Find an appropriate sanctuary to take the animal in, and never, ever consider releasing it into the wild.
Our fragile environment may depend upon it.