(Roughly) Daily

Posts Tagged ‘ecosystems

“Round and round they went with their snakes, snakily”*…

A team of hunters in the Big Cypress National Preserve holding a female python measuring over 17 feet in length and weighing 140 pounds with 73 developing eggs


Burmese pythons are too good at what they do — they’re nearly undetectable to both humans and their prey, they barely need to move and when they do they’re deadly. On top of that, they have lots of babies.

As a result, according to an ambitious new paper produced by the U.S. Geological Survey, their population has exploded in only 20 years from a few snakes at the southern tip of Everglades National Park to an invasion that envelops the southern third of Florida…

The success of these snakes, which are native to Southeast Asia, and came here via the exotic pet trade, has been a cataclysmic failure for South Florida ecosystems and “represent one of the most intractable invasive-species management issues across the globe,” said the paper…

When biologists open the invasive snakes up, it’s like rifling through a Florida field guide. All told, they’ve found 76 prey species inside the snakes. That includes lots of birds, such as vultures, crows, ducks, herons, roseate spoonbills and threatened wood storks; small mammals such as the endangered Key Largo woodrat and Key Largo cotton mouse, marsh rabbits, armadillos, possums, raccoons, otters and domestic cats, and larger prey including domestic goats, white-tailed deer, wild hogs and alligators….

How much damage have they done? Guzy points out that before 2000, researchers could frequently spot mammals in Everglades National Park. But from 2003 to 2011, the frequency of mammal observations [raccoons, opossums, bobcats, rabbits, gray foxes, and white-tailed deer] declined by 85% to 100%. Outside the python’s range, those species were more common.

Snakes on a plain: “Python invasion has exploded out of the Everglades and into nearly all of southern Florida,” from @SunSentinel.

* Aldous Huxley, Brave New World


As we tread carefully, we might recall that it was on this date in 2006 that New Line Cinema ordered five days of additional shooting on what had been a minor film in their 2006 line-up, Pacific Air Flight 121 (principal photography had wrapped in September 2005). While re-shoots normally imply problems with a film, the producers opted to add new scenes to the film to change the MPAA rating from PG-13 to R and bring it in line with growing fan expectations… expectations that had been raised when (at star Samuel L. Jackson’s insistence) the film’s title had reverted to its original working form: Snakes on a Plane.

More than 450 snakes were used for filming to represent 30 different species of snakes, including a 19-foot (5.8 m) Burmese python named Kitty.


Written by (Roughly) Daily

March 11, 2023 at 1:00 am

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