On Pythons, Diets And Invasions

On February 5, 2012 by admin

Invasive species are so called because they invade something, and invasions usually represent a serious threat to local population. It’s a story we as homo sapiens should all be aware of, not least because it’s part of our common history as well.

An invasion of sorts is now happening in Florida’s Everglades National Park, reports the US’s National Academy of Sciences. It seems that Burmese pythons (Python molurus bivittatus), one of the largest snakes in the world, are currently having the time of their lives in Southern Florida. Their strength comes from their sheer numbers, but also from their well-trained mouth muscles. Pythons are never hungry at Everglades National Park – but they could soon be forced to go on a diet.

To be honest, it will be their own fault. See, it looks like the pythons have already eaten most of what moves in the Park – or, to be more exact, everything that moves and is tasty, according to pythons. So scientists are reporting a massive decrease in the frequency of raccoon, opossum and bobcat observation, up to 99 per cent in some cases.  In contrast to this, in areas where pythons don’t hang out, these mammals are still having quite a decent life.

So it’s a sad time for the raccoons, but even sadder for Everglades National Park and those of us who realise the importance of biodiversity. Dear pythons, please, leave the raccoons alone.