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Florida Threatened by African Rock Python Invasion

By Julie S | Dec 23, 2013 09:57 AM EST

Florida Threatened by African Rock Python Invasion
The Python sebae, also known as African rock python, is a large snake usually found in the deserts of Africa. It is one of the five largest in the world and can grow up to 20 feet. Most people fear its kind even if it rarely attacks humans though it is capable of eating big animals such as antelopes and even crocodiles. (Photo : Flickr)

Florida wildlife officials are still dealing with the non-native Burmese pythons and yet, they are facing a larger and more aggressive python called the African rock python.

The Python sebae, also known as African rock python, is a large snake usually found in the deserts of Africa. It is one of the five largest in the world and can grow up to 20 feet. Most people fear its kind even if it rarely attacks humans though it is capable of eating big animals such as antelopes and even crocodiles. However, there was a report in Canada in August that it attacked two young boys sleeping in their apartment.

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The wildlife officials surveyed the West Miami area, on Friday, where an African rock python was killed by a Siberian Husky in September. Four teams tried to look for another rock python but were not able to find one. However, they believe that there could be probably a dozen or more building their nests in the area.

What the biologists are trying to do is to stop these new pythons from joining their Burmese cousins. The Burmese pythons have already established their habitat and they have no known natural predator in Florida.

Jenny Ketterlin Eckles, biologist from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, told the Associated Press: "We think, and we hope, that they haven't adapted to the Everglades yet."

Although owning a python snake is illegal according to U.S laws, many are still being smuggled into the country every year. This is what Eckles and her team was suspecting as the origin of these non-native snakes as its owners may have realized that feeding them is expensive and decided to free them in the lakes.

"We want these snakes away from the ecosystem. They don't belong here in Florida," Jorge Pino, wildlife commission spokesman said. "We're trying to get ahead of the problem."

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