A single python in Florida is one too many, yet these enormous non-native snakes have taken over the Everglades. This includes the vast, gorgeous Everglades National Park, where the behemoths continue to wreck entire ecosystems.
One of the latest sightings in the park comes from Kym Clark. Her startling footage, taken as she stopped then exited her car while driving through the national park, illustrates how large pythons can get. Meteorologist Matt Devitt has shared Clark’s clip to Facebook, which has since gone viral.
“MASSIVE FLORIDA SNAKE!” Devitt exclaims. “Check out the size of this 15+ foot python crossing the road recently in Everglades National Park. Nope!”
“Nope” is right, and not just because this is a snake. The limbless reptiles are largely misunderstood as a family, widely feared, and often killed in cold-blood. But snakes are a vital part of their native ecosystems and work wonders for pest and disease control. No species of python is native to Florida, however. They’re not even native to this side of the planet! And as they continue to wreak havoc on the Everglades, “Nope” is how we must regard them.
This particular python looks to be at around 10-feet-long, which is an enormous snake. But Burmese pythons, one of the main species now breeding rapidly in the Everglades, can reach twice that length. And there’s nothing they can’t eat in Florida as a result, which is a huge disruption to the area’s eons-old food chain.
Burmese pythons hail from Asia, with their natural range stretching from northeast India up into China. Here, they are simply one of the many species brought to America as pets, then released into the wild.
Florida Has Removed over 13,000 Pythons Since 2000
Unfortunately, everything from the geography to climate of the Florida Everglades happen to be a perfect habitat for these giant snakes. They’re no slow breeders, either. A single female Burmese can lay up to 100 eggs in a single clutch. This is, in short, a truly terrifying problem. And is exactly why the state now hosts a paid python bounty hunting system and tournament.
The system (and laws put in place to enact it) have been so successful that, from 2000 to present day, over 13,000 Burmese pythons have been removed from Florida’s wilds. That is an astounding number from any standpoint. It’s more than what remains of some of the native endangered species that pythons continue to feed on. But how did we get here?
Experts now believe that this massive invasive population is the direct result of escaped and/or illegally released pets. Once enough pythons existed in the wild to establish a breeding population, their numbers skyrocketed. To make matters worse, there’s no predator in the Everglades that can take them out when fully grown. In fact, pythons are now well documented to consider the equally giant American alligator as their prey.
Today, Florida officials estimate there could be anywhere from 100,000 to 300,000 wild pythons in the Everglades, with some being far larger than the one seen in this latest clip above.