Pet-tastrophy – Snakes on a Glade!
Welcome to the second installment of Pet-trastrophies (by Ceara C)!
Turns out, abandoning your super huge, super powerful jungle monsters into the wild yonder, isn’t the smartest. (Especially in sensitive ecosystems like the Everglades).
Let’s back-peddle for a moment to fully grasp what we’re dealing with here. The Burmese python is in the top six of the worlds largest snakes, on average they measure 3.7 metres (12 feet) (that’s two tall guys in length). They are tough as nails – having been reported to eat alligators of all things! They are also (you guessed it) native to Southeast Asia.
So yeah, they’re large and in charge (not to mention very robust and adaptable). More and more so now that they are breeding like rabbits in the Florida everglades. A 2009 government reports capturing 1330 snakes (which is just the tip of the iceberg).
So, how’d these guys get there anyways? Escapees resulted largely from the damage caused by Hurricane Andrew, which was supplemented by general abandonment of pets who outgrew their surroundings (surprise surprise- apparently one of the worlds largest snake species gets BIG…).
They have been termed invasive and measures are being taken to control their numbers, but what kind of damage is happening to the flora and fauna in the everglades?
Well, Smithsonian scientists have recently found that these ginormous snakes are not only eating birds themselves but weaseling their way into nests and eating eggs. Bird eggs have not been a reported component of Burmese Python diets until now. They have also found that these slithery Sams have been eating 25 species of birds (some endangered) in the ‘already taxed’ ecosystem.
In conclusion – maybe it isn’t so bright to have a pet like this. Other than the obvious risks of your pet escaping and eating your baby – they simply aren’t suited to be pets, for anyone. Sorry to burst your bubble, weird guy carrying a snake down the street, but those are the cold hard facts.
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