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Python Problem In The Everglades Has Unlikely Hero

Bobcats, Bobcats have been fucking up the invasive pythons in the Everglades.

If you did not know, the exotic pet trade has caused thousands of gigantic Burmese pythons to be released into the everglades. They have been going after local wildlife and thriving in the swamps. This first got national attention when this photo of a python being split in half with an alligator inside of it went viral.

The source of these pythons are astounding

Florida’s python problem began in the 90’s with a few careless pet owners, who released the snakes into the local swamps after realizing that maybe they didn’t want a 10- to 12-foot-long constrictor hanging out in their living room. Over the last few decades, the snakes have flourished everywhere from Miami down to the ‘Glades. They prey on endangered birds, frogs, and other reptiles. Severe declines in mammal populations have also been linked directly to the presence of these huge, invasive snakes from southeast Asia.

Current estimates of their statewide population range between 30,000 and 300,000, and this alarming growth led Florida to declare war on Burmese pythons in 2017. As part of its Python Elimination Program, the state now “incentivizes a limited number of public-spirited individuals to humanely euthanize these destructive snakes.” In other words: they’re paying people to go out and kill the slithering invaders. And while people are having success removing more and more of the snakes each year—there were 1,068 pythons captured in the last two months alone—we can’t get rid of them on our own. The Everglades wilderness, which encompasses roughly 1.5 million acres, is just too big.

You may have encountered many who hunted the invasive pythons in order to control their populations.

Thankfully, nature always heals. Bobcats have stepped up and have started attacking the python's eggs and nest. The Pythons that originally had 0 natural predators in their new environment, now have to deal with the bobcats destroying and eating their eggs. 

If you remember the Lynyrd Skynyrd song "All I Can Do Is Write About It" there is a line that goes "Have you ever seen a she gator protect her young,". That actually describes just how much better Gators are at protecting their eggs from bobcats rather than the new Pythons that don’t know shit about how predatory bobcats are for reptile eggs. The Bobcats simply realized how much easier it is to grab python eggs than gator eggs. Not only is this Bobcat eating the eggs for food, but to ensure the pythons do not grow up to kill their own young. It's a depredation tactic in order to reduce dangers to Bobcats. 

Pythons are the Russians of Florida but the Everglades are fighting back.