The invasive Burmese pythons in South Florida have been proliferating for years in The Florida Everglades with a population virtually free to grow unchecked.
Between the lush and welcoming habitat for the pythons and their natural camouflage, these snakes have been growing to gargantuan sizes with unknown population numbers.
Just as a point of reference, these invasive snakes conceal themselves so well in the Florida Everglades scientists estimate there are between 30,000 and 300,000. And 17,000 of them have already been removed as part of the Florida Python Challenge which pays hunters to catch them.
All of that to say is these invasive Burmese pythons in my home state of Florida represent a very real threat to the natural flora and fauna. They are capable of eating small deer, birds, raccoons, possums, and even alligators.
There was a 5-foot alligator found inside an 18-foot Burmese python last November.
But it’s not all fire and brimstone for the alligators. They’re fighting back. Case in point, this video filmed by Katina Boychew of an alligator chewing and swallowing a massive Burmese python:
Katina told WESH “It was amazing. I sat and watched him for like two hours. I had to. I said, ‘This is something I’ll most likely never come across again.”
Tracking Burmese Pythons In Florida Before The Alligators Get Them
Recently scientists stumbled upon a breakthrough in tracking Burmese pythons.
Previously, the best way to track these invasive snakes wasn’t to go looking for alligators or turtles. It was to wait for a cold day and the snakes would seek out the warmth of pavement or open areas.
But a recent study in the Florida Keys that tracked the behavior of raccoons and possums outfitted with GPS trackers led researchers to some of the biggest pythons ever captured. They could watch the GPS tracker and, according to the Tampa Bay Times, they learned “the signature signal that they got eaten by a snake.”
In that study, they found 12-foot Burmese python weighing 66 pounds and she was ‘full of egg follicles.’ That led them to realize they could GPS track the prey to start finding bigger snakes in the Everglades.