Snakes linked to stunning mammal decline in Florida Everglades

January 31, 2012FLORIDANon-native Burmese pythons are the likely cause of a staggering mammal decline in Florida’s Everglades. In PNAS journal, they report that observations of some mammal species have declined by more than 99%. A team studied road surveys of mammals in the Everglades National Park before and after pythons became common. Researchers found a strong link between the spread of pythons and drops in recorded sightings of raccoons, rabbits, bobcats and other species. The national park covers the southern 25% of the original Everglades – a region of subtropical wetlands that has been drained over the last century to reclaim it for human use. The origins of Burmese pythons in south Florida are unknown, but many were imported into the US through the pet trade. As the pythons have made it from captivity into the wild, the absence of natural predators has allowed populations to balloon. Intermittent sightings were recorded for 20 years before the snakes were recognized as being established across the Everglades in 2000. The pythons are now established across thousands of sq km in southern Florida. Although there are no accurate figures for how many there are, the numbers removed from the Everglades reached nearly 400 in 2009 and this has been increasing year-on-year (apart from a slight drop in 2010 due to a cold spell). “Any snake population – you are only seeing a small fraction of the numbers that are actually out there,’ said Prof Michael Dorcas, one of the study’s authors, from Davidson College in North Carolina. He told BBC News: “They are a new top predator in Everglades National Park – one that shouldn’t be there. We have documented pythons eating alligators; we have also documented alligators eating pythons. It depends on who is biggest during the encounter.” Earlier this month, US Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced that the US was poised to approve a ban on importing Burmese pythons. But some observers remarked that the move was about 30 years too late. -BBC
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This entry was posted in Acquatic Ecosystem crash, Dark Ages, Earth Changes, Earth Watch, Ecoystem crisis due to population boom, Food chain unraveling, Mass animal deaths, Pest Explosions. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Snakes linked to stunning mammal decline in Florida Everglades

  1. Amy says:

    Too bad they don’t only eat nutria. Humans have GOT to stop upsetting the balance of nature.

    Like

  2. Alex says:

    This couldn’t be more further from the truth , the fact is that I was very involved with the Fla Everglades project, what has brought down the Mammal population in the everglades is the hand of Park service administrators who have no Idea how to manage this area, they continually play god with the habitat and interfeered with the way animals behavior, they chase the Fla Panther with dogs and then shoot them with darts off tree tops 40 feet high ,then they inject them with drugs, they innundate the glades with water and don’t allow natural fires to burn old woods so no new growth is available to animals, they don’t allow hunting of non native species except during hunting season such as wild boars , etc etc.

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  3. Irene C says:

    People buy pythons thinking they’ll make cool pets. Then they get tired of the python and let them loose. Some people shouldn’t have pets of any kind. These are living creatures that need love and care. Irresponsible pet owners get me angry.

    Maranatha

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    • Anything man tampers with, ends up grossly unbalanced or in ruins- From bringing rats to tropical islands to poking holes in the ground. We have no respect for the cycles of natural ecology and that’s one of the reasons why nature will soon become man’s most valiant foe.

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  4. Melissa Jacobs says:

    Oki Alvin and EP family! I have been following this story for years as I used to live in South FL and loved the “river of grass”, the Everglades. It is a shame that people were so irresponsible as pet owners and I have always wondered why so many creatures, plants and birds are allowed to be brought into different countries, when no natural enemy exists to keep the balance.
    Nearly every news story about these snakes reports how they can swallow alligators and deer, but they never report on the obvious problem. When all the wild mammals are gone, what will these pythons be eating next? They have spread into the bayous along the Gulf, and been found as far north as Del Ray, FL. I am glad I live in the New York now, but I worry for the people, especially children, who encounter these giant snakes. I think man needs to become their “natural predator” quickly.

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  5. elijahsmom3 says:

    Anybody remember this from October? Irene, I’m sure you heard about it. Thirty five of the forty nine exotic animals that were freed had to be killed to protect the public.

    http://newsfeed.time.com/2011/10/19/after-shoot-to-kill-order-three-exotic-animals-still-on-the-loose-in-rural-ohio/

    Like

    • Irene C says:

      Oh I certainly remember. I cried. Such a waste of such beautiful animals. I know the public had to be protected and they had to act fast, but I will never understand why he opened those cages.

      Like

  6. nickk0 says:

    Now it appears there’s a potential invasion of Gambian Rats in the FL.Keys:

    http://goo.gl/kQzZ3

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