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Everglades Pythons

March 31, 2011

Invasive Burmese pythons are feasting on native birds in the Everglades.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):

Florida’s python problem…I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

In the late 1970’s, pet Burmese pythons somehow escaped into Florida’s Everglades, and they’ve been breeding there ever since.  Among their prey are native birds, which had never dealt with giant snakes before.  Smithsonian Institution ornithologist Carla Dove recently examined the stomach contents of dozens of captured pythons.

CARLA DOVE (Smithsonian Institution):

There were things in there like complete skulls of birds, and feet, and lots of feathers in some of the samples.  And so there was enough material present that we could actually get some species identifications.

HIRSHON:

She identified twenty-five different species, including an endangered wood stork, which stands three and a half feet tall.   She says conservationists will have a hard time limiting the pythons’ impact – especially if the snakes venture beyond the Everglades.  I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.