Who Let the Snakes Out?

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It’s a headline that merits a read: “Pythons Apparently Wiping Out Everglades Mammals.” So, I clicked through to the Associated Press article by Matt Sedensky where he surmises that Burmese pythons in the Everglades are out of control. Sedensky referred to a recent study published in the “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” that stated sightings of medium-sized mammals are down, as much as 99 percent, where pythons and other non-native snakes live. In fact, the report notes that tens of thousands Burmese pythons might be living in the Everglades. 

For the latest report, conducted between the years 2003 and 2011, researchers drove 39,000 miles of roads in the Everglades, counted wildlife and compared results with the surveys conducted along the same routes in 1996 and 1997. The results? The raccoon population dropped by 99.3 percent. Realtree Editor and blogger Will Brantley really will hate that whitetail populations were down by 94.1 percent. Bobcat numbers also measured lower, at 87.5 percent. 

Who is at fault? The finger points at Burmese python owners who probably grew tired of feeding and housing their pets. Almost 2,000 pythons have been caught since the year 2000. The largest weighted 156 pounds and measured more than 16 feet. 

What's the answer? Besides a different approach to hunting, do we also need to regulate the exotic pet industry more?