Despite the string of national headlines, television specials, a federal ban, and grotesque photographs, it's becoming increasingly unclear whether Burmese pythons are permanently wrecking the Everglades or if they're just an overhyped nuisance.
Now, the Journal of the American Veterinary American Medical Association goes deep on the issue with a new article titled "How big is Florida's python problem?"
There is something about snakes in general, and very large snakes in particular, that just evokes a very visceral reaction amongst people.
One theory popular within the reptile trade but disputed is that Florida's wild python population exploded after hundreds of the snakes escaped from a facility outside Miami that was destroyed by Hurricane Andrew in 1992.
Today, the giant constrictors are established in Miami-Dade and Monroe counties, and possibly Collier County as well. From 2000-2011, a total of 1,825 pythons were removed from within and around Everglades National Park. Estimates on the number of Burmese pythons inhabiting South Florida range from several thousand to as high as 100,000. Additionally, a small colony of boa constrictors has been established in a park outside Miami since the 1970s, and there's evidence suggesting Northern African pythons are reproducing in that region.
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