Pythons in the Everglades: Frequently asked questions

A massive 18'3" python captured by biologist Ed Metzger

Caption-Biologist Ed Metzger with a 18'3" 133 lb Burmese python

Giant snakes in the glades? What's the story?

Burmese pythons are native to Southeast Asia, but are now an invasive species in south Florida. These large snakes were imported by the thousands for the exotic pet trade, many being bought by owners with little knowledge or regard as to how big the snakes grow and the responsibilities and care such an animal requires. People would buy a hatchling python as a harmless baby, but the snake would quickly grow to a large size with an equally large appetite, so that many people were no longer able or comfortable to care for it. They then released the snakes into the everglades. A large snake can be very difficult to handle, properly house, and properly feed. In the past, there was no permit or experience required to buy one; anyone could walk into a pet store and buy a snake that could one day reach 20 ft. in length. While I was in college the