Sunday, August 20, 2006

Exploding Pythons! And Alligators!

If you're not a Salon subscriber, you have to watch an ad to read the whole article. But it's worth it. I mean, did you know the Everglades was teeming with pythons? Snakes on a plane is nothing compared to this. Thanks to Walter Satterthwait for keeping me posted on the latest 'gator doings.

When pythons attack | Salon News: When a giant python in Florida tried to swallow an alligator -- and blew up! -- local pundits had a field day. But nobody's laughing at how the wayward pets are strangling the life out of the Everglades.

By Philip Armour

A 200-pound, 21-foot snake is not something you want to step on when working in the yard. But don't look now -- Burmese pythons of that size are turning up in southern Florida. "No humans have been attacked yet, but it's clearly a possibility," said Skip Snow, a wildlife biologist with Everglades National Park.

An estimated 1,000 to 10,000 pythons now slither freely throughout southern Florida, eating birds, rabbits, raccoons, gray squirrels and possums. But they also take on bigger prey. Last year, a state employee, checking water levels in a remote canal, discovered the aftermath of a gruesome death match: a 13-foot python literally exploded attempting to swallow a six-foot alligator. The snake's grotesquely distended body ruptured as a result of the alligator's size and kicking legs. The alligator didn't make it, either.

"Yeah, yeah, the King Kong vs. Godzilla thing is pretty funny," said Kenneth Krysko, a reptile researcher with the Florida Museum of Natural History. "But Florida wildlife is under attack."

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