Are there invasive reptiles other than Burmese pythons in the United States that people should be concerned about?
Free-ranging snakes representing dozens of species from around the world are discovered in the United States in any given year, usually as a result of escapees or illegal releases, but most of these have not established reproductive populatio
The Burmese python is distributed across more than a thousand square miles of southern Florida, including all of Everglades National Park and areas to the north such as Big Cypress National Preserve. A number of Burmese pythons have been fou
Are large constrictor snakes such as Burmese pythons able to kill people? What is the risk? Would this be in the wild too, or in backyards?
Human fatalities from non-venomous snakes are very rare, probably averaging one or two per year worldwide.
Most invasive reptiles and amphibians have not received research attention at a level that would allow in-depth evaluation of impacts.
There are currently no reliable estimates of the total numbers of Burmese pythons in the invasive population. However, since 2003 more than 2,000 pythons were removed from Everglades National Park and adjacent lands.
This study looked at unprovoked strikes in the wild; are provoked bites in the wild tracked as well? Do we know how many of those there have been in Florida?
It is not uncommon for people to be bitten while attempting to capture free-ranging pythons in Florida, but there are no reports of any serious injuries from this type of defensive bite.
Both the USGS and the journal, Wildlife Society Bulletin, require independent scientific review for every publication. In the USGS, peer reviewers are selected from experts with no close professional ties to the authors.
What are important next steps to help prevent the snakes from spreading to other areas, and what should I do if I see a python in the wild?
Development of early detection techniques for non-native reptiles is important because prevention is substantially less costly and more effective than control or eradication.
The smallest snake was 7 feet (212 cm) in total length; the largest was estimated at over 16 feet (500 cm) in total length.
This research concludes that the risk of unprovoked strikes from Burmese pythons in Everglades National Park is low, but not non-existent. Unprovoked strikes are when the subject of the attack is not trying to catch, provoke or harass the snake.
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