"Invading Giant Snakes Threaten U.S. Wilderness Areas"

"MIAMI -- Burmese pythons and other giant snakes imported as pets could endanger some of America's most important parks and wilderness areas if they are allowed to multiply, according to a report released on Tuesday.

Wildlife experts say the Burmese python is distributed across thousands of square miles in south Florida. There could be tens of thousands in the Everglades, a wildlife refuge that is home to the Florida panther and other endangered species.

The Burmese python and four other non-native snakes -- boa constrictors, yellow anacondas, northern and southern African pythons -- are considered 'high-risk' threats to the health of U.S. ecosystems because they eat native birds and animals, the U.S. Geological Survey report said.

Two species, the boa constrictor and Burmese python, have already established breeding populations in south Florida and experts have found 'strong evidence' that the northern African python may be breeding in the wild as well."

Jim Loney reports for Reuters October 13, 2009.

See Also:

USGS Release, report, video, images, contacts

"S. Florida Tops List Of Big-Snake Risks" (Miami Herald)

"Huge Snakes Pose ‘High Risk’ to U.S. Ecosystems" (Dot Earth)

"Report: 5 Foreign Snake Species Threaten US" (AP)

Source: Reuters, 10/14/2009