While discussing the hierarchical order of pets, with dogs at the top of the pyramid (obviously), Joe Rogan and his guest, comedian Jim Breuer discussed the python invasion of Florida.
Saturday Night Live alum and Half Baked co-star Jim Breuer was raised on Long Island and lived in New Jersey for a long time before moving to Southwest Florida in recent years.
Breuer tells Joe Rogan he knows a thing or two about Florida’s ‘python invasion’ after a large Burmese python was found and removed from the building where he lives in Naples, Florida.
Joe Rogan’s fear of snakes (‘Ophidiophobia’) is on full display here. It’s amusing to see the former Fear Factor host squirm at the sight of these invasive reptiles.
Interestingly, about 2-minutes into the discussion Joe Rogan says “it’s not their environment.” This is precisely what makes the Burmese python invasion of Florida so complicated.
While they are obviously not native to the Sunshine State, these invasive pythons are about as perfectly suited to the environment as possible, down to their natural camouflage making them nearly impossible to spot in Florida wetlands.
Some of what he says is true, and some of it is speculation. He discusses a ‘wildlife research facility where they were studying pythons’ that allegedly got destroyed in a storm. Then couples that with exotic pets getting released.
‘Research’ is a stretch here. I believe what he was referring to here is an exotic wildlife breeding facility and it was destroyed in 1992 when Hurricane Andrew decimated Homestead and the Miami area. For all intents and purposes, that facility was part of the exotic pet trade and not a research facility.
As a born and raised Floridian who lived through Hurricane Andrew as a kid and has watched the Burmese python threat grow over time, I’m not going to be a stickler on the fine points here.
What is good is that there’s always an ongoing discussion on the threats posed by these invasive species.
Tracking Burmese Pythons In Florida
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.
It’s not a perfect solution but it is a breakthrough in the ability to track the largets of the pythons and eliminate them before they can breed.
To gain a sense of how big the invasive Burmese pythons are in Florida, check out the Python Cowboy YouTube channel. He regularly posts videos of removing eggs and large snakes. He also removes invasive iguanas and other nuisance/invasive species.
Videos like this:
It’s worth knowing what’s out there.