Burmese pythons released into the wild by well-meaning pet owners have created a reptilian nightmare in the Everglades.

This Snake Is Eating the Everglades

Producer: Karen M. Sughrue
Editor: Anne Alvergue
Reporter: Sarah Weiser

For more than a decade, Burmese pythons have been multiplying unchecked in the wilds of Florida, and thwarting repeated attempts by state environmental officials to get the invasive population under control.

It’s not easy. The snakes – some as long as 16 feet – were originally imported from Asia, and face few natural predators in the Everglades. They are non-venomous, strangle their prey, then eat it whole. They prey on anything and everything from rabbits to foxes to deer – even alligators devastating local wildlife populations and spooking visitors.

After years of debate, and over protests of the reptile industry, which feared any restrictions on their trade, the federal government in 2012 finally banned the import of Burmese pythons – and ultimately seven other giant snakes.

Pythons are not the only invasive species on scientists’ radar. Non-native lizards, fish, frogs, hogs and zebra mussels - to name just a few - are threatening U.S. lands and waterways.

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More on the Story

Snake hunters from India are the latest weapons in Florida’s war on pythons The Washington Post
Florida now has a Nile crocodile problem Orlando Weekly
Massive python captured in Everglades National Park in Florida CBS News
Giant Snakes Have Taken Over The Everglades The Takeaway
Related Coverage
The Snake That’s Eating Florida The New York Times
The Snake That's Eating Florida The Huffington Post
The python that's eating Florida Earth Sky