It is really hard to understand why someone would want a pet obtained as a baby that grows up to 18 feet long and can weigh up to 200 pounds. A pet with fangs that dig into flesh while its massive powerful body crushes and suffocates its prey…sometimes human prey. I am talking about Burmese Pythons(Python molurus bivittatus.) They were fancied in the mid part of the 1900’s and now they are running amok, so to speak, and are considered an invasive species in Florida and certain parts of the southern United States.

Since I live in the desert of Arizona, not much of a worry for pythons but more consideration given for rattlesnakes, scorpions and gila monsters. But I saw an article last week from CNN describing a recent python roundup in Florida where the aim was to pay hunters for the pythons they caught and killed. The preferred dispatch method is a bullet to the head of the python, the head twice as large as a man’s hand, or by decapitation. The aim was to thin out the danger and the population in the southern part of Florida, particularly the Everglades and the suburb homes surrounding the Everglades.

That really is a futile attempt, the cat, or rather the snake, is really out of the bag. Estimates are that there are over 100,000 pythons in southern Florida. But there are also about 1.3 million alligators  living in Florida. You might be thinking… “No Problem Fred, the alligators have the edge” (see photo below.) However, alligators are prey for pythons and pythons are prey for alligators. Also, prey for pythons include cats, dogs, and disappearing populations of raccoon, opossum, and bobcats. And don’t forget that an adult python, up to 18 or even 20 feet long, can easily take down human children and have taken down adults.

In February of 2008, the USGS published a future range map for pythons that included all three coasts of the United States; Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf of Mexico. However, it is also true that this native species of southern and southwest Asia do not tolerate cold very well…so you’re safe in Montana.

Moral of the story, well, I guess think about a cat or a dog or even a chicken, I’ve had all, before you select a cute pet. Because your adorable baby Burmese Python one day will grow and instead of feeding them mice your now growing python will be eyeing your pet cat or your pet dog or your youngest child…or even you.

                                           Gator eating Python

                                    Python looking at you, as dinner

Frederick Fichman