View Full Version : Python "Nightmare": New Giant Species Invading Florida

09-14-2009, 11:25 AM
Already squeezed by the invasion of the giant Burmese python, Florida now faces what one scientist calls one of the U.S. state's "worst nightmares."

Africa's largest snake—the ill-tempered, 20-foot-long (6.1-meter-long) African rock python—is colonizing the U.S. state, new discoveries suggest.

Six African rock pythons have been found in Florida since 2002. More troubling, a pregnant female and two hatchlings have been found, which means the aggressive reptiles have set up house.

More dangerous than even Burmese pythons—which are known to eat alligators (alligator-python picture)—the African pythons are "so mean, they come out of the egg striking," said Kenneth Krysko, senior herpetologist at the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville.

"This is just one vicious animal."

So far the giant snakes have been found only in a single square mile (2.6 square kilometers) of suburban area west of Miami. Pet breeders unprepared for the pythons' ferocity may have released them, Krysko said.

What's "really scary" is that the new invaders only have to cross the road to enter Everglades National Park, where Burmese pythons have already eaten thousands of native animals, he said.

With the addition of the rock python, Florida is now an established home-away-from-home for three large alien constrictors—including the Burmese species and the boa constrictor—according to wildlife biologist Robert Reed, who studies invasive reptiles for the U.S. Geological Survey in Fort Collins, Colorado.

In its native habitat, sub-Saharan Africa, the African rock python eats small mammals, antelope, warthog, herons, and other animals.

In Florida the African snake might "eat almost any warm-blooded animal that is big enough to ingest," as the Burmese python does, USGS's Reed said.

"Dozens of species of native wildlife, from white-tailed deer to 6-foot [183-centimeter] alligators to birds, have been found in the digestive tracts of Burmese pythons in Florida," said Reed, who is also working with the Florida museum's Krysko on the Florida python problem.

Also like the Burmese python, the African snake is a constrictor. Lacking poison, it kills animals by encircling and literally squeezing the life out of them.

Florida wildlife may not be the only creatures at risk. In Africa, rock pythons are known to have attacked humans, Krysko said.

Hidden in a Florida swamp, he added, the African python "could strike you and you wouldn't even know it was there."

African pythons have likely already made it into the Everglades, Krysko said. If so, it shouldn't be long before they encounter their Burmese cousins.

If the two python species mate, they may spawn a hybrid species, as has happened in captivity. And because of a biological phenomenon called hybrid vigor, there's an off chance the resulting snakes could be hardier, more powerful predators—assuming they're not sterile, as many hybrids are—USGS's Reed said.

"We can't rule out the possibility," Reed said, "that the introduction of genes from a different species might do something that would allow [the rock pythons] to be even more effective at persisting in Florida and perhaps expanding."

Please read the full article here:

Captured and killed in Florida, juvenile Burmese pythons (left), a young African rock python (center), and a larger African rock python lay coiled on a tray in a Unversity of Florida laboratory in late August 2009.

The African snakes typically grow to 20 feet (6 meters) long and have now colonized the U.S. state, as did the Burmese pythons before them, scientists said in September 2009. Photograph courtesy Kenneth Krysko

09-14-2009, 11:28 AM

free ranger
09-14-2009, 11:43 AM
Well that just adds to the joy of the day...

D. Gale
09-14-2009, 12:42 PM
Waiting for the post where Alan finds one of THOSE in his kitchen...

09-14-2009, 02:05 PM
Dangerous green mamba snake still on the loose in Hollywood
Cable company worker who was bitten is recovering in hospital

Vyskocil, a Comcast cable worker, was laying cable lines nearby when he leaned against a palm tree. The snake snapped with lightning speed and sunk its fangs into Vyskocil's right forearm.Within minutes, Vyskocil's hand and arm went numb. The right side of his face and right side of his lower body were paralyzed within two hours. ``I thought I was going to die, but I was calm,'' recalled Vyskocilhttp://www.nbcmiami.com/news/local-beat/Man-Dances-With-Death-After-Green-Mamba-Attack-53874777.html

, Fri, Aug 21, 2009

South Floridians have another exotic snake species to worry about and this one is far more deadly than a python.

A cable guy was rushed to the hospital Thursday after being bitten by the extremely venomous green mamba in an apartment complex in Hollywood, officials said.

The snake, which lives in regions of Africa, bit the man on the arm as he rested on a coconut tree at the apartment complex he was working in. Antivenin was administered quickly to the victim, who is recovering from the effects of the neurotoxin in a hospital.

How the snake got to Florida or on that coconut tree is anyone's guess. More than likely it was here because of somebody's illegal activity, police said. You need a permit to purchase or handle the deadly reptile and no one in the state has one, according to the Sun-Sentinel (http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/broward/hollywood/sfl-snake-bite-hollywood-bn082009,0,1431615.story). <(more detailed report)

Spotting a green mamba is tricky because of their color and ability to blend in with grass and tree tops. The snake is also an aggressive species and very territorial, like most new to South Florida.

!http://t3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:2QObjca6OJ-9qM:http://www.psc.edu/general/software/packages/charmm/tutorial/crowley/pics/mam1.jpg http://t3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:Ur6HfnkPR9rqFM:http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/38/Eastern_green_mamba_P9240107.JPG

Eta: here's an interesting comment from the above web site attached to the Green Mamba story.

Man Dances With Death After Green Mamba Attack (http://www.nbcmiami.com/news/local-beat/Man-Dances-With-Death-After-Green-Mamba-Attack-53874777.html)

I am furious about Mayor Alvarez' plan to cut Miami-Dade county's Fire-Rescue Venom Response Team from five people to one. This team has the largest anti-venin bank in the world and it delivers anti-venin all over the country and the world. Alvarez is playing politics with our lives here in south Florida and the rest of the world. That snake is still at large and what if someone's child is bitten and there is no one to deliver the anti-venin that will save that child's life? Why hasn't NBC-6 reported this aspect of the story?
Rescue workers responded and rushed him to Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood, which alerted Jillson at the Venom Response Unit.

The venom response team currently maintains the largest and only antivenin bank for public use in the United States, according to Miami-Dade Fire Rescue officials. In its refrigerators are 50 different antidotes for about 98 percent of the world's poisonous snakes, spiders, scorpions and marine animals.

Jillson arrived in the emergency room and showed Vyskocil pictures of snakes to determine what antivenin Vyskocil needed. He immediately identified the green mamba.
Vyskocil was given seven vials of mamba antivenin, a yellow substance made from antibodies found in horses exposed to toxins of several mambas, vipers and cobras.

The antidote slowly released Vyskocil's limbs from paralysis, but numbness and severe nausea kept him in the hospital. Over the next two days, Vyskocil said he felt as if he had a hangover.
The numbness finally subsided on Sunday and Vyskocil was released from the hospital.

Vyskocil was fortunate. A bite from a green mamba snake can inject a victim with extremely potent neurotoxic venom, which attacks the nervous system. The venom also contains cardio toxins, which attack the heart.


09-14-2009, 03:49 PM
I don't think I need that retirement home in Florida any more.

All of a sudden 10 feet of snow doesn't seem so bad anymore...really.:blink:

Mama Alanna
09-14-2009, 06:55 PM
If my parents hadn't already left Florida, that article would have my mother making tracks north, so fast that she'd leave her shadow behind! :panic: :frantic:

Ought Six
09-14-2009, 07:41 PM
I am expecting that sooner or later there will be a story about one of those giant pythons killing and eating somebody's kid.

09-14-2009, 08:24 PM
Add Cobras to the list. I used to do wildlife removal in south florida, rescuing gators from drains and such, and in my travels have found and removed cobra.

On the west coast there's an invasion of unusually large Nile Monitors that have overrun an island and with no natural predators are growing bigger than normal. I had one that Fish and Game officers brought to me that was a full 6 foot tip to tip, and that was the small one. The largest reported (and shot 18 times by scared wildlife cops) was over 9' total length.

Florida is an irreversible ecological disaster of ridiculous proportions that's really going to spread and cause problems when the ocean reclaims it's little sandbar, which it will in due time.

09-14-2009, 09:21 PM
I've never really understood the desire to have pets other than cats or dogs. A roommate in the early '90s had a couple snakes and some sort of iguana and a tarantula. The snakes got out one time. Found one of them in the shower months after he had moved out.

Don't know what happened with the other. Maybe the new tenants found it after the rest of us moved out. :eek:

09-15-2009, 01:20 AM
African Rock Python (Python sebae)
that got caught in the electric fence




The Rock python is Africa's largest snake. The rock python eats mammals and birds.
Lays up to 100 eggs about the size of a tennis ball in antbear (Aardvark) holes, hollow tree or similar suitable place. The female coils herself around the eggs to protect them.
The snake in this picture had eaten a full grown Impala (http://www.bushveld.co.za/pictures-of-african-animals-impala.htm) ewe and, sadly, caught itself in an electric fence.
Over four metres in length, this was a large specimen.

When the python was skinned we found a full grown Impala ewe had just been swallowed.
The python kills its prey by coiling itself around the animal and constricting it. When the animal is dead the python swallows it normally head first. Having swallowed its prey, the snake will find an abandoned burrow or hollow tree in which to hide and digest it's meal.

A view of the python's mouth. A python's bite is not venomous but would be very painful.



09-15-2009, 03:11 AM

09-15-2009, 04:37 AM
Ya mean like this 400 pound, 18 foot "pet" python that was taken from someone's home in Florida? :eek:


09-15-2009, 12:48 PM
Why did I click on this thread again?:panic:

Mama Alanna
09-15-2009, 03:17 PM
Posthypnotic suggestion? :onionhypno::onionzone:

Ought Six
02-26-2012, 08:36 PM
Are pythons overrunning the Everglades? Some experts now say no


Pablo Escobar
08-15-2012, 02:49 PM
Really big python....


and the cure...

Mad Snake Virus


08-15-2012, 03:22 PM
The release of non indigious species is destroying native wildlife!

Personally I'd like to see a bounty placed upon ALL non-native species in FL.

Monitor lizards, another non native species illegally released into the wild, are wrecking havoc on native bird nesting sanctuaries and other local wildlife.

One of the most precious aspects of FL is the variety of native wildlife and flora, both of which are at risk because of the release of assorted 'exotic' reptiles that people illegally release when they've wither tired of them or finally realize they aren't capable of properly caring for them.

08-15-2012, 04:11 PM
I understand its not unusual to walk down the street in Miami and see Iguana's hanging around in the trees. The state is going to have to declare open season on all these invasive species. Maybe even put a bounty on them. Fortunately, we're north of Tampa so they couldn't survive up here.

08-15-2012, 04:25 PM
I understand its not unusual to walk down the street in Miami and see Iguana's hanging around in the trees. The state is going to have to declare open season on all these invasive species. Maybe even put a bounty on them. Fortunately, we're north of Tampa so they couldn't survive up here.

Iguanas are tasty eating..there's one solution...

08-15-2012, 04:37 PM
Yeah, I take a lot of work breaks - sue me.

SO & I were watching a neat documentary on an ancient species of snake - titanoboa... trust me, you don't want to know the details.

As part od the documentary, they were comparing the presumed size of this monster to that on anacondas & boas & a fair bit of time was spent in Florida with snake experts. I couldn't believe the numbers of snakes they kept finding in the swamps & HUGE ones.

blue gecko
08-15-2012, 04:54 PM

From what I've read Pythons are really, really tough. I would suggest cubing thin fillets cut across the grain or making sausage.....

08-15-2012, 06:33 PM
I cook rattlesnake just like breaded shrimp. Tasty.....

blue gecko
08-15-2012, 07:02 PM
The last rattlesnake we ate was very tasty! Python however, is like chewing on rubber (so I hear). You'd have to do some culinary magic on it but I think with the right techniques it could become as popular as alligator. I can't think of a better way to reduce its numbers than to make it a food fad.

08-15-2012, 07:39 PM
The last rattlesnake we ate was very tasty! Python however, is like chewing on rubber (so I hear). You'd have to do some culinary magic on it but I think with the right techniques it could become as popular as alligator. I can't think of a better way to reduce its numbers than to make it a food fad.

Probably be difficult tenderize a constrictor. Them's some pretty powerful muscles.

08-15-2012, 07:52 PM
Probably be difficult tenderize a constrictor. Them's some pretty powerful muscles.

Abalone is basically all muscle; right?

Yet sliced thin and pounded, lightly sauteed, it's yummy! :D

So maybe if the python was pounded out like a cube steak and marinated in something to help break down flesh a bit, it could be tasty.

blue gecko
08-15-2012, 08:03 PM
I'd give it a go. Python dogs sound like a good start :D Grind that puppy to a slurry, season, stuff into casings and grill...works for me.