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Go Back   FaunaClassifieds > Reptile & Amphibian - General Discussion Forums > Herps In The News

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Herps In The News Local or national articles where reptiles or amphibians have made it into the news media. Please cite sources.

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Old 02-08-2013, 02:41 PM   #11
crob1598
There were two winters after Andrew with record cold spells, freezing temps for weeks. This would of decimated and python population as it did the iguana pop at the time. 75% of the everglades flora and fauna is evasive.
 
Old 02-08-2013, 05:22 PM   #12
snowgyre
There are three types of invasive critters (not evasive):
1. Native organisms that expand their range and start changing local ecologies (think armadillos, coyotes, etc.)
2. Native organisms that are capable of rapid growth in certain circumstances that can out compete other, more sensitive species (weeds)
3. Non-native organisms that can reproduce in the wild and change local ecologies (Burmese pythons, feral hogs, purple loosestrife, Chinese privet, kudzu, etc.)

We do know that cold can kill Burmese pythons. What we don't know with scientific certainty is if this mortality is enough to eliminate feral Burmese pythons without any removal efforts. Burmese pythons are obviously still out there despite the cold winter a year or two ago that even killed off many manatees, so at least a few individuals are capable of surviving cold. Burmese pythons do have ways of coping with cold temperatures, such as finding warmer refuges in burrows or rotting vegetation (see this publication for more information: http://link.springer.com/article/10....9797-5?LI=true).

It is a valid concern that other species may have been accidentally killed instead of Burmese pythons. I was not involved in this hunt or the scientific research, so I have no direct information I can share with you. However, I strongly suspect there were very few if any non-python snakes killed as a result of this hunt.
 
Old 02-09-2013, 03:21 AM   #13
crob1598
yes, invasive of course. Just a couple comments and I would appreciate your thoughts. Burmese are equatorial snakes and need consistent temps to thrive, any potential breeding pair would have to be exceptionally hardy to fend off respiratory infections or other ailments brought on by the cool temps. And with the low percentage of survival for the young it would seem that an established community would be very small and fragile. Also, only the summer months are really ideal for these pythons to be eating and active at high levels. If the temp drops below 70 they aren't going to move or eat a whole lot. Which can happen in South Florida 5 months out of the year. In regards to consumption my burms would eat a 10# rabbit every month and maintain a weight over 60 lbs at 10'-13'. Not sure how much damage they could do to truly be considered invasive compared to a feral cat, hog, or even cuban mice.
 
Old 02-09-2013, 01:28 PM   #14
snowgyre
Compared to an invasive mammal, plant, or fish, I personally believe that invasive reptiles by and large have less capability to do widespread ecological damage due to their slower growth rates, slower reproduction, and reduced consumption. However, we know that there is a great number of introduced invasive reptiles in Florida that have pushed out or reduced the abundance of native species. The most obvious example is the competition between brown anoles (not native) and green anoles (native).

Where invasive species have the greatest potential to do damage is in areas of high biological endemism (areas that have high numbers of unique organisms that occur nowhere else in the world). The Everglades is one such area. Burmese pythons have been known to eat Key Largo woodrats, a highly endangered species. Burmese pythons eat warm blooded prey, and likely feed upon ground nesting or ground forages birds in addition to mammals. So, although Burmese pythons may not do as much widespread damage as feral hogs or feral cats, they are still damaging in their own way.

That said, comparing the damage of one invasive species to another is irrelevant. Damage is still being done, even if the scale of that damage may differ between invasive organisms. We still have the ethical responsibility to protect native species from nonnative species. The bottom line is that Burmese pythons in Florida simply don't belong there and should be removed, just as feral hogs, feral cats, snakeheads, nonnative cichlids, Asian carp, and invasive weeds should be removed. Some Burmese pythons are obviously surviving and reproducing, and that is a major concern. We can all agree that an oil spill is pollution, yet most people don't see invasive species as biological pollution capable of actually doing far more damage in the long-term than any single point-source environmental disaster.
 
Old 02-12-2013, 01:51 PM   #15
shrimpernickel
Vanessa..... first, I commend you for using your time and knowledge to help us understand this issue. I think that reptile enthusiasts must be wary of becoming an unbending group of "snake nuts" the way that some folks think of NRA members as "gun nuts". "Only" 50 snakes caught is not a victory for reptile hobbyists when 1 is too many. Invasive species are a problem, and responsible reptile keeping is our responsibilty. I think it is our duty to be nature conscious, and not just the small pieces we keep in plastic tubs in the basement, but its entirety. I don't keep, love, or even know what a key largo woodrat looks like, but I believe its place in this world is not inconsequential.

Thank you again Vanessa
 
Old 02-12-2013, 05:35 PM   #16
Dale Porcher DVM
Collateral Damage

Vanessa, I agree with what you have said except
"It is a valid concern that other species may have been accidentally killed instead of Burmese pythons. I was not involved in this hunt or the scientific research, so I have no direct information I can share with you. However, I strongly suspect there were very few if any non-python snakes killed as a result of this hunt. "

You first admit that you were not involved in this hunt or the research, then you make this leap that very few non python snakes were killed. I will bet you that when you turn loose 1500 " weekend trained hunters" and there is a cash prize for the most and the biggest snake killed, it encourages the killing of any snake seen. I have personally seen people who have killed banded water snakes sunning themselves on docks here locally because the home owner believed it to be a Python of some sort. I would like to see the numbers, although I would believe that those won't ever be accurately reported. Could you imagine the public out cry if other invasives, feral cats for one, had a Bounty put on their heads by the government?
 
Old 02-12-2013, 08:46 PM   #17
snowgyre
After reading the train wreck of an article that followed the hunt, I'm unfortunately inclined to agree with you Dale. It seemed like the hunt attracted more nut-jobs than sane folks, or at least the media chose to portray it that way. I was hoping for a more organized snake hunt from Florida Fish and Game rather than a witch hunt.

I hope things weren't as "colorful" (to put it nicely) as was written in the follow-up article, which was posted elsewhere on Fauna but I can't seem to find the direct link now. I know how insane folks can be about snakes... I actually had a bullet come within ten feet of my head while fishing on a dock in New Bern, North Carolina, because the whack-job neighbor was shooting at a "deadly cottonmouth" (which turned out to be a completely harmless eastern kingsnake). I have no idea if there were any regulations on the ground or some preliminary information that was given to participants, but I certainly hope so. I agree with you in that I also sincerely doubt Florida Fish and Game would be inclined to report any "bycatch" that was made by the overzealous and ignorant. I guess I'm just hoping that there wasn't much, or at the very least that if there was that FL Fish and Game wouldn't be so foolish as to repeat the debacle over again.

James, I'm more than happy to share my knowledge about wildlife biology with folks. Most people have the impression that most of what we do entails going outside and wrangling critters... this is actually a very small part of our research. Most of what we do is crunch numbers from (hopefully) large datasets and try to model an extremely complex world using the best information we can collect. Wildlife biology is actually a very diverse field and has an extremely heavy statistical background. In fact, statistics is required for anyone who graduates from most natural resources programs in the United States because we work with the most complicated system Earth has to offer... Earth's environment.
 
Old 02-12-2013, 11:53 PM   #18
AbsoluteApril
Quote:
Originally Posted by snowgyre View Post
I hope things weren't as "colorful" (to put it nicely) as was written in the follow-up article, which was posted elsewhere on Fauna but I can't seem to find the direct link now.
did you mean this follow up I had posted? Talks about how somone was out there with a chicken on a leash? people are nuts

http://www.faunaclassifieds.com/foru...87#post1571487
 
Old 02-18-2013, 12:56 PM   #19
AbsoluteApril
2min news clip talking about how burmese aren't the only invasive species and that they are starting to trap the feral cats and other invasives.

"Pythons Not Only Invasive Animal Problem in Fla."

http://news.yahoo.com/video/pythons-...213055005.html
 
Old 02-18-2013, 04:55 PM   #20
WebSlave
I was reading in the local newspaper this morning that they are talking about trying to use infrared viewers to try to spot those thousands of Burmese that they can't seem to find...... Yeah, I'm sure THAT will work.

So 1,600 hunters spent a month in the Everglades looking hard for Burmese pythons and could only come up with 68 of them. And still they are sticking to their "estimate" of 150,000 of them being there? So how did they come up with that original estimate? Throw a dart a numbers written on a wall?

It's Winter time down there. The overnight lows were in the 50s and 60s. Highs in the mid 70s to low 80s. The ground and water temps are relatively cool because of the shorter days. Shouldn't they have been laying about sunning themselves in plain view at midday? And they STILL didn't find more than 68 of them? Perhaps it is time for a more realistic estimate?

Or are they just going to keep spinning the yarns about how successful that hunt was, regardless of the actual results compared to expectations?
 

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