(USNewsMag.com) – Pythons are a dangerous species that have been growing in population in South Florida.
The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission claims that Burmese pythons are not native to the Sunshine State and that their presence in southern Florida’s Everglades environment and on its native species has a detrimental effect because a female Burmese may lay up to 100 eggs at once.
Researchers say the Burmese pythons are from Southeast Asia and were brought into the Everglades in the 1990s.
Something had to be done.
The researcher’s novel idea is the utilization of raccoons and possums to track and remove the Pythons. On the outskirts of Key Largo’s Crocodile National Wildlife Refuge, about 40 miles south of Miami, the team has developed a strategy to locate and trap invasive Burmese pythons using tiny animals implanted with GPS sensors.
It took five months, but researchers made a little advancement when one field-used possum collar abruptly stopped moving for a few hours before starting up again.
According to Michael Cove, curator of mammals at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, the absence of movement caused what experts dubbed a death signal, but when it began moving again, the researchers had a feeling a snake may have devoured the little animal. The idea was that a python with the GPS tracker inside had moved on after digesting the possum.
While the snake went in and out of the maze-like network of tunnels in Key Largo, it took the researchers a month to find the tracker. However, when they did, they discovered a 12-foot-long, 66-pound female python stuffed with egg follicles.
Such a snake can lay 100 eggs. Therefore catching one and removing it from the environment may stop the introduction of hundreds of more snakes in the future.
The collar was retrieved from the snake after it was put down, according to The Times, so that it could be attached to another possum. The collars now cost $1,500 each and last for two years, but eventually, the researchers want to use VHS collars, which cost $200 apiece.
According to the FWC, more than 17,000 wild Burmese pythons have been taken out of Florida since 2000.
Researchers told the Times that utilizing larger male possums and raccoons to lure larger female snakes would not wholly eliminate pythons from Florida. However, it is the closest thing to a tried-and-true approach.
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