Sunday, February 05, 2012

Giant invaders

And now Burmese pythons are capturing headlines. These snakes can grow to 16 feet and eat almost anything -- even alligators (click if you dare, it's a photo of an alligator carcass and a dead python that burst open while devouring it). Since 2003, as a new study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences notes, the increase of the python population from just a few to perhaps a few thousand has been connected to declines of several native mammals. According to the study, observations of raccoons have declined 93 percent, bobcats by 87 percent, and possums by 98.9 percent. The Everglades are enormous -- nearly 4,000 square miles -- and it is difficult terrain to traverse. So it's hard to say how the pythons have affected rarer, quieter species such as egrets.  (The Atlantic)
Alligators vs Pythons. 

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