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  1. #1
    Reptiles EVERYWHERE! Foschi Exotic Serpents's Avatar
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    USGS Study on 9 Large Constricting Snakes

    This release can be found in the USGS Newsroom at: http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/article.asp?ID=2324.

    Read PDF of Entire Study at: http://www.usark.org/uploads/USGS%20Ris ... 202009.pdf


    News Release

    October 13, 2009


    Catherine Puckett (USGS)
    352-264-3532
    cpuckett@usgs.gov

    Ken Warren (FWS)
    772-562-3909 x323
    ken_warren@fws.gov

    Linda Friar (NPS)
    305-242-7714
    linda_friar@nps.gov


    Report Documents the Risks of Giant Invasive Snakes in the U.S.



    Five giant non-native snake species would pose high risks to the health of ecosystems in the United States should they become established here, according to a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) report released today.

    The USGS report details the risks of nine non-native boa, anaconda and python species that are invasive or potentially invasive in the United States. Because all nine species share characteristics associated with greater risks, none was found to be a low ecological risk. Two of these species are documented as reproducing in the wild in South Florida, with population estimates for Burmese pythons in the tens of thousands.

    Based on the biology and known natural history of the giant constrictors, individuals of some species may also pose a small risk to people, although most snakes would not be large enough to consider a person as suitable prey. Mature individuals of the largest species—Burmese, reticulated, and northern and southern African pythons—have been documented as attacking and killing people in the wild in their native range, though such unprovoked attacks appear to be quite rare, the report authors wrote. The snake most associated with unprovoked human fatalities in the wild is the reticulated python. The situation with human risk is similar to that experienced with alligators: attacks in the wild are improbable but possible.

    “This report clearly reveals that these giant snakes threaten to destabilize some of our most precious ecosystems and parks, primarily through predation on vulnerable native species,” said Dr. Robert Reed, a coauthor of the report and a USGS invasive species scientist and herpetologist.

    High-risk species—Burmese pythons, northern and southern African pythons, boa constrictors and yellow anacondas—put larger portions of the U.S. mainland at risk, constitute a greater ecological threat, or are more common in trade and commerce. Medium-risk species—reticulated python, Deschauensee’s anaconda, green anaconda and Beni anaconda—constitute lesser threats in these areas, but still are potentially serious threats.

    The USGS scientists who authored the report emphasized that native U.S. birds, mammals, and reptiles

    in areas of potential invasion have never had to deal with huge predatory snakes before—individuals of the largest three species reach lengths of more than 20 feet and upwards of 200 pounds. The reticulated python is the world’s longest snake, and the green anaconda is the heaviest snake. Both species have been found in the wild in South Florida, although breeding populations are not yet confirmed for either.

    Breeding populations have been confirmed in South Florida for Burmese pythons and the boa constrictor, and there is strong evidence that the northern African python may have a breeding population in the wild as well.

    “Compounding their risk to native species and ecosystems is that these snakes mature early, produce large numbers of offspring, travel long distances, and have broad diets that allow them to eat most native birds and mammals,” said Dr. Gordon Rodda, a USGS scientist at the Fort Collins Science Center and the other coauthor of the report.

    In addition, he said, most of these snakes can inhabit a variety of habitats and are quite tolerant of urban or suburban areas. Boa constrictors and northern African pythons, for example, already live wild in the Miami metropolitan area.

    The report notes that there are no control tools yet that seem adequate for eradicating an established population of giant snakes once they have spread over a large area. Making the task of eradication more difficult is that in the wild these snakes are extremely difficult to find since their camouflaged coloration enables them to blend in well with their surroundings.

    “We have a cautionary tale with the American island of Guam and the brown treesnake,” said Reed. “Within 40 years of its arrival, this invasive snake has decimated the island’s native wildlife—10 of Guam’s 12 native forest birds, one of its two bat species, and about half of its native lizards are gone. The python introduction to Florida is so recent that the tally of ecological damage cannot yet be made.”

    USGS researchers used the best available science to forecast areas of the country most at risk of invasion by these giant snakes. Based on climate alone, many of the species would be limited to the warmest areas of the United States, including parts of Florida, extreme south Texas, Hawaii, and America’s tropical islands, such as Puerto Rico, Guam, and other Pacific islands. For a few species, however, larger areas of the continental United States appear to exhibit suitable climatic conditions. For example, much of the southern U.S. climatic conditions are similar to those experienced by the Burmese python in its native range. However, many factors other than climate alone can influence whether a species can establish a population in a particular location, the report notes.

    The Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service will use the report to assist in further development of management actions concerning the snakes when and where these species appear in the wild. In addition, the risk assessment will provide current, science-based information for management authorities to evaluate prospective regulations that might prevent further colonization of the U.S. by these snakes. The 300-page report provides a comprehensive review of the biology of these species as well as the risk assessment.

    Resources

    View the risk-assessment report
    Questions and Answers about this report
    View b-roll video and image gallery (below)
    Read U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service information on injurious wildlife
    Everglade National Park web page for the Burmese Python species profile.
    Scientific Names

    Indian or Burmese Python (Python molurus)
    Northern African Python (Python sebae)
    Southern African Python (Python natalensis)
    Reticulated Python (Python [or Broghammerus] reticulatus)
    Boa Constrictor (Boa constrictor)
    Green Anaconda (Eunectes murinus)
    Yellow Anaconda (Eunectes notaeus)
    Beni or Bolivian Anaconda (Eunectes beniensis)
    De Schauensee’s Anaconda (Eunectes deschauenseei)
    Photos for this release:

    Visit: http://gallery.usgs.gov/tags/NR2009_10_13 for all available photos.


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    USGS provides science for a changing world. For more information, visit http://www.usgs.gov.

    Subscribe to USGS News Releases via our electronic mailing list or RSS feed.

    **** http://www.usgs.gov ****

    Links and contacts within this release are valid at the time of publication.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Catherine Puckett
    USGS Office of Communications
    2201 NW 40th Terrace
    Gainesville, FL 32605-3574
    OFFICE PHONE: 352-264-3532
    NEW CELL PHONE: 352-278-0165
    FAX: 352-374-8080
    EMAIL: cpuckett@usgs.gov

  2. #2
    Reptiles EVERYWHERE! Foschi Exotic Serpents's Avatar
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    Re: USGS Study on 9 Large Constricting Snakes

    population estimates for Burmese pythons in the tens of thousands.
    This part is such bull!

    We read another post by USARK on this and they stated that even on these "snake hunts" they are not seeing near as many burmese as they thought they would. They see many more aligators, other snakes, other elusive wildlife in the everglades. But very few burmese if any..

    This part makes me mad because they are just making up a rediculas number to scare this bill into affect. Targeting the people who are afraid of snakes and have no education other than these lies they are being told. I just want to scream at these people

    Im sure lots of you watch Animal Cops Miami on Animal Planet right? In years of watching it, ive only ever seen 2 calls for a burmese on the loose. On the other hand, ive seen numerous calls for hots! There was even a king cobra found.

    I wish these people would talk to the right people and get their facts straight.

  3. #3
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    Re: USGS Study on 9 Large Constricting Snakes

    Here is a link to the 300+ page study :

    http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2009/1202/pdf/OF09-1202.pdf

  4. #4
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    Re: USGS Study on 9 Large Constricting Snakes

    Quote Originally Posted by Draigess View Post
    This part is such bull!

    We read another post by USARK on this and they stated that even on these "snake hunts" they are not seeing near as many burmese as they thought they would. They see many more aligators, other snakes, other elusive wildlife in the everglades. But very few burmese if any..

    This part makes me mad because they are just making up a rediculas number to scare this bill into affect. Targeting the people who are afraid of snakes and have no education other than these lies they are being told. I just want to scream at these people

    Im sure lots of you watch Animal Cops Miami on Animal Planet right? In years of watching it, ive only ever seen 2 calls for a burmese on the loose. On the other hand, ive seen numerous calls for hots! There was even a king cobra found.

    I wish these people would talk to the right people and get their facts straight.
    the facts dont sell nor does the facts put political donations in their pockets

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