Burmese pythons in Florida are going to keep growing and becoming more widespread, as a Miami man confirmed earlier this month. The same story already is playing out with other exotics, as we pay the price for government’s failure to regulate and restrict the import of potentially dangerous and damaging fish, wildlife, and plant species.
Only in the case of Burmese pythons, there’s an increasing risk to human life.
You doubt that?
General wisdom has it that these snakes grow to 17 or 18 feet and can weigh 200 pounds or more. But here’s the thing: These snakes are established in new territory, with none of the variables (climate, disease, predators, etc.) that naturally would inhibit growth and expansion in their native range.
That’s already being shown with silver and bighead carp, as they spread and crowd out native fisheries with their massive numbers. It’s evident with the snakehead. Just a year ago, one of world-record proportions was pulled from the Potomac River.
The python that Jason Leon killed in a rural area of southeast Miami-Dade County measured 18 feet, 8 inches long and weighed 128 pounds, a record for Florida. That’s already large enough to kill and consume a child or dog.
And these invaders are going to keep growing . . . and spreading . . .
Here’s a report from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.