Thursday, January 24, 2013

Prize Pythons

The Burmese Python (Python molurus bivittatus) are gigantic snakes native to Asia, ranging from Pakistan to China to Indonesia.  Probably released into the wild by pet owners in Florida, Burmese Pythons have become important invasives of the Everglades, where their viable breeding populations are exploding.  Capable of reaching 6 meters in length, in their adoptive Florida these snakes have been know to capture and ingest even prey as large the American Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) and White-Tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus).  Government programs to eradicate the invasive Python have failed thus far.  So, as reported in the New York Times on January 24, 2013, the Wildlife Foundation of Florida is sponsoring the 2013 Python Challenge, which offers training for aspiring participants, as well as two $1,500 Grand Prizes for the most Pythons captured, and two $1,000 prizes for the longest Pythons captured.  The Challenge runs from January 12 to February 10, 2013.  However, the Everglades cover a vast area, and Burmese Pythons have proven to be prodigiously-fertile invasives.  Consider one lesson from that font of wisdom, Escape from New York:
Brain:  I swear to God, Snake, I thought you were dead.
Snake Plissken:  Yeah.  You and everybody else.
Like Snake Plisskin, Burmese Pythons may be impossible to manage, let alone to eradicate.