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Reptile Roundup

November 6, 2009

Huge snakes are invading southern Florida and wreaking havoc on the native wildlife there.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):
Stopping runaway snakes. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Giant, exotic snakes have either escaped or been turned loose by pet owners and are now establishing themselves in southern Florida, according to the US Geological Survey. They include reticulated pythons, which are the world’s largest snake, and green anacondas, the worlds heaviest. Several species grow over twenty feet long and can weigh over two hundred pounds. And while the snakes only rarely prey on humans, they could prove devastating to Florida wildlife.

In completely unrelated reptile news, paleontologists from the University of Leicester in the UK and the Geological Institute in Beijing, China have discovered a new variety of pterodactyl, the flying reptile that lived during the age of dinosaurs. Dubbed Darwinopterus, it was about the size of a crow and would have competed with the first small feathered dinosaurs, which eventually evolved to be birds. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.