This day turned out to be a nightmare. The great serpents fled, and the disaster began

That’s Wednesday’s news At the Big Cypress Preserve in Florida, it took five people to wrestle a large Burmese python into submission for 45 minutes., they may surprise you. Logically, what is a Burmese python in Florida? Something is wrong here…

Indeed, the name Burmese python is not misleading. This subspecies of tiger python (considered a separate species by some herpetologists) lives in Burma. It lives there near water, favoring wetlands and mangrove forests, where it preys on rodents, birds, but also large ungulate mammals such as deer, antelopes and wild boars. Outside of Burma, this snake is also known as the dusky python. It also lives in other countries of Southeast Asia, e.g. A dwarf species of this constrictor lives in Indochina, South China, Indonesia, Java.

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However, the remaining varieties are not dwarf. They reach several meters in length, and the record individual caught on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi in 1912 is said to have measured 9 meters and 79 cm. This would put the black python alongside the green anaconda in the fight for the title of world’s longest snake.

But how did this happen? Asian giants have landed in Florida and now they must be caught? Not without difficulty, because large python hunting is carried out in this US state. Authorities in Florida hire people who pay them by the hour to search, so dozens of people search the Florida swamps. The findings are unusual because in 2023, more than 200 pythons were captured in Florida, including many over 5 meters. Paul Hobbs also won the 2023 Florida Python Challenge for capturing 20 pythons during a 10-day search. It is 10,000 round amount. Dollars.

Money is paid willingly because the problem with constrictors in Florida is huge and causes significant losses. And all because of one lucky day.

In 1992, George W. Bush was president of the United States, the Chicago Bulls won an NBA championship with Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, and Polish players Andrzej Jaskowiak and Wojciech Kowalczyk won a silver medal at the Olympics in Barcelona. It was then that it emerged over the ocean Hurricane Andrew hit the Florida coast with great force. On August 16, 1992, it formed in the Atlantic, passed through the Bahamas on August 23, and devastated the United States coast for the next five days.

The losses were huge, over $27 billion. Dozens of people died, and Andrew still ranks seventh on the list of most intense hurricanes in U.S. history — a list that opened with Labor Day in 1935.

Then Miami was inundated with more than four meters of water, and 25 cm of rain fell, similar to New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. The wind speed was 269 kmph. It was stopping little by little.

There was no pet store, and an untold number of snakes crawled out of its broken landscape.. These are reptiles from a private collection. They survived a hurricane and storm, and the conditions in Florida turned out to be perfect for them. Black-skinned pythons are an example of a completely alien species adapting to a new environment. Success to him.

But not for the environment. Each female python lays 50-100 eggs. And controllers are more protective when raising their young. No wonder the snakes quickly multiplied and took over the entire area. They often grow as large as 5 meters (which is the largest size in Asia) proving that they have good conditions, weather and plenty of water and food in America. Nothing disturbs them.

Local animals have not learned to defend themselves against large snakes and become easy prey. Pythons occupy an environment previously occupied by an endemic apex predator and another reptile – Mississippi alligator. There is food competition and fighting.

The theory that the python plague in Florida was the result of a hurricane 31 years ago is widespread, but many scientists question it. They believe this is too superficial an explanation for the phenomenon. Until 1995, there were no actual sightings of pythons in Florida, but when they began to appear, the timing and geographic location of the invasion did not match the storm’s impact. According to a herpetologist, the reasons for the appearance of snakes in Florida may be more complicated.

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For example, they cite the fact that the first python was spotted in this US state in 1979. Someone let him out or someone else. Both cases are common when people buy large snakes, become bored with them, or simply cannot cope with the difficulties and costs of keeping the animals. Python is not difficult to escape – it is a smart and active animal. It goes to every nook and cranny it learned in Asia to look for rodents.

This does not change the fact that the dusky python is one of America’s greatest biological threats. It has already undermined the stability of Florida’s ecosystem, and it seriously threatens local alligators, depriving them of food and the largest colonies of wading and waterfowl in the United States.

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