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New threat to birds posed by invasive pythons in Florida

Discussion in 'The Library' started by Rich, Apr 5, 2012.

  1. Rich

    Rich Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Scientists have uncovered a new threat posed by invasive Burmese pythons in Florida and the Everglades: The snakes are not only eating the area's birds, but also the birds' eggs straight from the nest. The results of this research add a new challenge to the area's already heavily taxed native wildlife.

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    Use this thread to discuss the article above. What are your thoughts about New threat to birds posed by invasive pythons in Florida?
  2. Michaelangelo

    Michaelangelo Elite Member

    It's really unfortunate that people just throw their pet outside if they grow bored of it. So many invasive species are ravaging native wildlife in multiple area's in the U.S. (another example being the RES in the Pacific Northwest). It is interesting that they are just now discovering the consumption of eggs, and in such large quantities it appears. Might this be because competition is becoming so high that they are resorting to being more "opportunistic?" I had no idea that so many birds were victim to Burmese Python's, nor that they made up such a solid block of their diet. Thank you for the article.
  3. mshrmheadcharge

    mshrmheadcharge Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

    Very insightful, thanks Rich!
  4. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    There has also been issue with burmese python mammal consumption. Though it includes other invasive animals, such as Feral cats, and swine, they have also been known to dine on mammals on the verge of extinction. Granted, the animals in question (Key Largo wood rat) were already circling the drain long before burms arrived, there is still a lot of heat about it - giant python 'causing' extinction of a cute, fuzzy rat.

    I'm not surprised that a burm would eat an egg - it's probably warm, and likely smells like the parents that have been incubating it. I think there is at least one recorded incidence of a snake eating a lightbulb that had been placed in a chicken coop as a dummy egg. Chickens (most birds) will incubate a dummy egg as if it were their own - it doesn't usually even have to resemble the original in anything but size. It's the primary method for removing fertile eggs for incubation in more controllable conditions, without causing the parents birds much undue stress.
  5. Evozakira

    Evozakira Elite Member

    Please remember not everyone in Florida just throws their pet out. A lot of the problem came from breeding shops that got destroyed in hurricanes.
  6. Michaelangelo

    Michaelangelo Elite Member

    I am not saying that everyone does, nor am I saying it's something exclusive to florida (Hence RES in Pacific Northwest). I am just aware that people do things of the sort. The article itself believes that the pets were "escaped or discarded." This also occurred a long time ago. I have heard of people putting bearded dragons out in the environment here in Nebraska. The only difference is that the everglades is an exceptional environment for many tropical reptiles; whereas, Nebraska the winters get down to -20f and no reptile in the pet trade will survive that isn't already native (Cornsnakes, Schneider Skink, Garter Snake, etc.).
  7. Evozakira

    Evozakira Elite Member

    Sorry if I just jumped at you. It's just thought a lot of people that are for bans just keep saying stuff to me about the issue in Florida is all because stupid snake owners letting them go. They try to ignore the fact that most were escapes from storms. I know people do release pets. My friend had a 13foot burm and when they changed it to permits in Florida he sold it to someone that got a permit rather than dump her somewhere. Sorry if I went on a rant.
  8. Michaelangelo

    Michaelangelo Elite Member

    No worries. I took nothing personally. I can completely understand your perspective and your comment is much deserved. People forget, including myself, that bad things happen not just because of poor care or decisions. I was not aware of storms being a large factor in pet escapes, so that is very enlightening.
  9. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    The blanket bans that are getting pushed do NOTHING to solve the issue of snakes already released - and in fact have the serious potential to create a surplus of illegal goods, with no methods of disposal. In other words, if blanket bans get pushed, they have no provisions for what to do with existing snakes, which has the potential to backfire in the worst way imaginable. If you are a breeder with hundreds of animals in your stock, which are now suddenly illegal, and no mention has been made with what to DO with them? I see a LOT more snakes getting dumped by people who have no other option. It turns honest people into criminals, which would result in more snakes being dumped than initially escaped, compounding the problem for future generations.

    Most of the existing burms are descendents of established populations that have been breeding for decades. They are not new releases. Scientists using mDNA have found that most of the burms captured have been descendent from about 6 breeding females, estimated to have been introduced during whichever hurricane destroyed that exotics warehouse in the 70's. Coincidence: their loss report indicates they lost 7 juvenile female burmese pythons, and a few males. The heaviest populations of Burmese pythons have not strayed far from that location. People talk like the everglades is infested, but the reality is that only parts of it are.

    (The book "Stolen World" also had TONS of information on this subject)
  10. Evozakira

    Evozakira Elite Member

    I don't remember what storm it was but I believe it was in the 90s. A breeding place took a big hit and it released 100s animals into the environment. And like you said that Florida weather is perfect for them to survive and breed like mad. They have burm, Nile monitors and all types of animals in south Florida. I'll do some research on the hurricanes and shops to get some info for you. I'm guessing it would be hurricane Andrew in the early 90s. That's the only big one I remember when living there besides katrina
  11. Evozakira

    Evozakira Elite Member

    Did not hear of the one in the 70s drag thanks for the info. I will read it :)
  12. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    Florida has a LONG list of non-native plants and animals living there (over 1/3 of all species currently known to live within the state, granted, many, such as oranges, are agricultural in origin.), with many being intentionally introduced. Not only the reptiles, but flocks of parrots too. Some areas have resident populations of monkeys as well. Nobody is making fuss over the parrots - you can actually charter a tour, to go see flocks that reside in certain towns. And the monkeys.
  13. Evozakira

    Evozakira Elite Member

    Yes. Growing up if florida I did see monkeys in the wild there and also in the city of Tampa where im from you can see parrots all around. A good amount i believe came from some getting free from busch gardens. There was a tree down the street from my house that used to house tons of parrots :)
  14. Michaelangelo

    Michaelangelo Elite Member

    Yeah I had known that in, I believe, the later 70's was around the time Burmese were introduced and began breeding readily in the wild. There are many reasons behind the introduction of invasive species across the country. The Burmese is made a big deal because they are large carnivore's, I imagine. They are in competition with American Alligators that are in the same geographic range. It's rare to see such a large animal to become a invasive species which is why they are highlighted. I have also seen parrot's in Florida in the few times I have been there. I'll have to check out that book.

    The article discusses the egg consumption as if it is a new found trend. Is this just a recent discovery Burmese preying on nests or has this likely been ongoing? It seems odd that this is just now being brought up.
  15. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    And that right there is the kicker!
    By passing such legislation, politicians put up a smoke screen that makes them look like they are doing something to solve the problem when all they are doing is giving the anti pet lobbyists like PETA and the HSUS what they paid for.

    These bans do nothing to solve the existing problem.
    If they took every exotic pet away from every owner, the exotics already there would still be there and reproducing.

    It's far too easy to point the finger at pet owners as being the problem when in fact the exotics species plagueing south Florida come from a variety of sources.

    The monkeys for instance.
    Ever see any of the old black and white Tarzan movies from the 1950's?
    Guess where they were filmed!
    The movie crew had troops of monkeys brought in for "extras" and failed to recapture all of them when they left. For a while they were confined to one of the islands in the 'glades.
    Then the monkeys figured out that they could swim to other areas and took off from there.

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