Florida Python Invasion

Johnny L Brewer

The Florida Everglades at sunset

In the nineteen eighties, the exotic pet trade was booming. One of the top-selling animals in the pet trade at the time was the Burmese python. People bought these animals to keep in their houses in small glass displays. Soon, these three-to-four-foot snakes were becoming nine to ten plus feet long. Unable to feed them, some pet owners in southern Florida released the animals into the Everglades, which was the perfect habitat for the snakes to thrive. With a population beginning to take hold in the Everglades by the late eighties and early nineties, Hurricane Andrew made landfall in the Miami area in nineteen ninety-two, damaging a python breeding facility and releasing more snakes into the swamp.

It’s hard to pinpoint the exact population of pythons in the Everglades today. Scientists know that there is an established breeding population there that could number into the…

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