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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Floridians Fear "Super-Serpent"

Recently, authorities say five African rock pythons were seen in a three-day period, leading experts to wonder if the species has established itself in the area, and stirring local fears of a "super-snake." The African rock python is known to eat goats and even children! One of the captured pythons was 14' long and another was 31" in circumference! Of the five, two escaped and one was bearing eggs (however, I do not know if it was one of those captured).

Florida already has a breeding population of several thousand Burmese pythons, which also grow to incredible lengths - males grow to 21' or more. Authorities fear the two could interbreed, creating a "super snake." However, the African rock python is more aggressive and "meaner" than the Burmese python and both are predators. While crocodiles and alligators may pursue the species, African rock pythons are known to stalk and eat even those!

While fears of a "super snake" may be a little overblown, pythons are a keystone species, just like the crocodile.

© C Harris Lynn, 2010

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