don't move to florida

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lady cop
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don't move to florida

Post by lady cop »

Will pythons deter visitors? Let's hope so :eek:



By CARL HIAASEN



Lock up the kids, put a GPS on your Jack Russell and make way at the top of the food chain.

The killer pythons are here.

Visitors to South Florida recently clicked on the television to see an X-ray of a 12-footer that had eaten a rotund Siamese cat named Frances.

It was the lead story on the local news, hot on the heels of an incident in which another large python exploded after devouring a six-foot alligator in Everglades National Park. The grisly photos of that gastronomical Vesuvius received front-page play all over the world.

Finally the word is getting out that pythons are amok in the Sunshine State. Will this scare anyone away? We can only hope.

Shark attacks, gator maulings, West Nile-oozing mosquitoes, flesh-eating bacteria, killer hurricanes every three or four weeks -- none of these threats have significantly dented Florida's insane growth rate.

An infestation of ravenous pythons, however, might deter potential newcomers to our state. Large mammal-eating snakes trigger a special primal fear in our otherwise cocky species.

Sharks cruise and gators lurk, but at least we know where they hang out. Snakes, on the other hand, go wherever they please. They swim, they slither, they dig and they climb.

Humans are as stunningly ignorant about reptiles as they are intrigued by them. About 144,000 Burmese pythons were imported by the pet trade into the United States last year, and many of those will either escape or eventually be freed by their owners.

That's why Florida is crawling with the beasts today. Most people who buy them as babies are clueless about how fast they grow, and how much space they require.

As one who owned snakes for years, I steered clear of exotic constrictors. Sharing a house with a 90-pound carnivorous predator required a deeper personal commitment than I was willing to make, not to mention a steady supply of full-grown rabbits.

Friends up North who've been reading about our python plague have asked if they eat humans. The same question, I suspect, is being worriedly pondered at the breakfast table in many South Florida households.

The answer is yes, though rarely. In one documented case, a teenager was devoured by a 31-foot reticulated python in Indonesia. Ten years ago, a 23-footer killed and tried to swallow a worker at a rubber plantation in Kuala Lumpur.

More recently, Internet snake freaks eagerly disseminated a graphic photograph purporting to show a man's corpse being removed from a dead anaconda in South America. Some experts believe the photo was faked.

In any case, it's important to remember that snakes are primitive and undiscerning. They tend to eat whatever is available, sometimes without regard for proportions or digestibility. Witness the inflated ambitions of the now-famous Everglades python that expired after gobbling the alligator.

Tragically, there have been many cases of hungry pet snakes behaving like hungry wild ones. In 1984, an 11-month-old baby was strangled in bed by the family's 10-foot pet reticulated python. This happened in Iowa, not the ideal climate for an active tropical reptile.

A New York man was killed in 1996 while trying to feed a live chicken to his 13-foot python, which mistook him for supper. A Colorado python owner suffered the same fate, his pet wrapping around him so tightly that it took a team of firefighters to pry the coils from his body.

In 1999, a 3-year-old Illinois boy was choked to death by his parents' pet African rock python. Two years later, an eight-year-old Pennsylvania girl was critically injured by a 10-foot Burmese -- one of five big snakes kept at her home -- which wound around her neck and wouldn't let go.

Obviously a multitude of good reasons exist for parting company with an unmanageable python. The best way is to take it to a veterinarian, or give it to an experienced reptile keeper.

Simply opening the car door and letting the snake go might be convenient, but it's also profoundly stupid.

Pythons have few natural enemies, Miami being short on wild jaguars and tigers. The small python you set free today could be inhaling your neighbor's prize parrot next year.

While eradication efforts are underway in the Everglades, some herpetologists believe it's too late. They say the pythons, which breed prolifically, are here to stay.

As a public service, dire warnings should be issued to tourists and all those considering a permanent family move to Florida. Perhaps it will do some good, but who knows.

It was 16 years ago that I first wrote about the python invasion, after a 20-footer and a 17-footer were captured in local suburbs where they'd been feasting on raccoons and domestic pets.

The news didn't seem to frighten a soul. People kept arriving, and so did the snakes.

Now we're overrun with both, setting the stage for a classic Darwinian duel. Having seen big pythons in action, I definitely wouldn't bet against them.
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SOJOURNER
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Post by SOJOURNER »

I really hate snakes!

That there are now pythons running amuck in Florida is disturbing indeed.

The shame of it all is that we've brought it all upon ourselves. We don't seem to learn from past mistakes. :-5
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greydeadhead
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Post by greydeadhead »

Hmmmmmm... are they edible..??
Feed your spirit by living near it -- Magic Hat Brewery bottle cap
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SOJOURNER
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Post by SOJOURNER »

tmbsgrl wrote: ;) I love snakes.. We are going to be getting another here soon... hopefully.


Can you put into words the allure they have on you? :confused: :-3
lady cop
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Post by lady cop »

SnoozeControl wrote: Too bad, I was planning to spend a few weeks with LC.;)COOL!!! we'll go exploring the everglades. :cool:
orangesox1
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Post by orangesox1 »

lady cop wrote: COOL!!! we'll go exploring the everglades. :cool:


Make sure you take a big sharp knife with you so when your eaten you can cut your self back out.:D
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LilacDragon
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Post by LilacDragon »

I had a Burmese Python back when I was in my early 20's. He was a sweet guy at about 18 inches long.

Sorry, of all of the threats listed in previous posts - the one that stops me from moving to Florida are the Palmetto bugs! Beetly type bugs just give me the heebie jeebies!
Sandi



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SOJOURNER
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don't move to florida

Post by SOJOURNER »

LilacDragon wrote: I had a Burmese Python back when I was in my early 20's. He was a sweet guy at about 18 inches long.

Sorry, of all of the threats listed in previous posts - the one that stops me from moving to Florida are the Palmetto bugs! Beetly type bugs just give me the heebie jeebies!


I don't understand how you relate to them........... :cool:
PIXIECHICK35
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Post by PIXIECHICK35 »

COOL!!! we'll go exploring the everglades.

Sounds like fun to me!!!!:)
big red
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Post by big red »

living in england, florida always seems so nice, run by such nice people, has great attractions like mickey mouse, lovley mild weather, a young population.

oh, the irony.:yh_rotfl :yh_rotfl :yh_rotfl
lady cop
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Post by lady cop »

Florida's newest problem is a creepy one and it's growing in number and in feet: the Burmese python.






Fla. Python Owners Could Face Jail For Releasing Snakes Into Wild





POSTED: 5:31 pm EDT April 12, 2006

UPDATED: 5:45 pm EDT April 12, 2006



TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida's newest problem is roughly the circumference of a telephone pole. It has no toes. It snacks on rabbits.



It's the Burmese python. And in South Florida, the problem is growing in number and in feet.

"Last year, we caught 95 pythons," said Skip Snow, a biologist with Florida Everglades National Park. That's not counting the 13-footer that exploded after trying to eat an alligator, or two others that got loose and ate a Siamese cat and a turkey.

To keep the problem from sliding further out of control, state Rep. Ralph Poppell, R-Titusville, wants to add Burmese pythons to Florida's list of regulated reptiles. His bill (HB 1459) could force python buyers to complete state training, buy a license and face jail time if they let their snakes loose.

The giant, unwanted snakes take other animals' homes and prey on fragile native species, Snow said. They're also the products of impulse shopping gone very wrong.

"People buy them when they're small," he said. "I've seen them as cheap as 20 bucks in flea markets."

The inch-long hatchlings start off cute. Then they hit puberty.

"By the end of the year, they're seven feet long," Snow said. "By the end of two years, they're 10 feet long. And that's more snake than anyone can handle."

Overwhelmed with pets that eat more than they do, python owners decide to release their snakes into the wild. It's so common in the Everglades, Snow's had to start a python hot line.

And there the Asian natives breed and find a comfortable home in the Everglades' water, heat and vegetation. They have no predators.

Pythons have also discovered suburbia, said Capt. Ernie Jillson, who helps run the Miami-Dade County fire department's snake squad. They catch around 20 pythons a year.

Three years ago, a 15-footer stopped traffic when he spread himself across a four-lane road. Last year, another 15-footer gave a 60-year-old woman quite the jolt when she walked outside to find the snake sunbathing on her patio. And rescue workers had to save a cat from the 10-foot python that was chasing it around the backyard pool.

Lawmaker Poppell says he's no snake lover and doesn't understand people's fascination with the slithery creatures.

"How can you want something for a pet that looks at you when it's hungry?" he said. "I don't want something to look at me as food, I'd rather they (pets) come to me for food."

John Lacorte, a Flagler County teacher, disagrees. His students clamor to earn their way into his class's "snake crew," where they clean, handle and care for 27 nonvenemous snakes -- including Grave Digger, a 3-foot albino Burmese python named after a character in Shakespeare's Hamlet.

"We have Macbeth, King Lear, Romeo and Juliet. It's like a badge of honor for the kids" to get snake duty, Lacorte said. "They're not gross. They're not oily. They're as dry as putting on a leather jacket. They're one of the most timid creatures that you'll ever see on this earth. Some kids find them really cool; we've never had anyone that came in and walked out afraid of snakes."

They might disagree on pet choices, but Poppell and Lacorte -- as well at least one environmental group and one snake breeder -- agree on this point: Florida must get around this problem before it gets around, well, Floridians.

"They aren't known to hunt people, but they are known to kill people," Snow said, citing cases where python owners made mistakes while handling their pets. In Naples, one driver crashed his PT Cruiser into a barricade when the pet snake he'd wrapped around his neck bit him. He jumped out of the car, wrestled with the snake and then drove off.

So far, Snow's python problems have only involved other animals, but he fears the day a driving visitor mistakes a sunbathing snake for a log, swerves and hits a tree.

Plus, pythons may be nonvenemous, "but they have a mouthful of teeth," he said.

Even without human encounters, Snow has enough to deal with. When they're not sunbathing, pythons are hunting precious species like wading birds, cotton rats and even bobcats.

When they're not eating, pythons are taking homes away from other hole and log dwellers in the park, or spreading diseases that could kill native snakes.

And they're breeding.

Around the time Poppell introduced his bill this spring, the snakes' mating season ended. Now, as the bill awaits at least one more committee vote in the House, females are nesting.

Should Poppell's proposal become law by early May, Snow said, it will be just in time to see the new babies hatch.
Annie Mouse
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Post by Annie Mouse »

LilacDragon wrote:

Sorry, of all of the threats listed in previous posts - the one that stops me from moving to Florida are the Palmetto bugs! Beetly type bugs just give me the heebie jeebies!


Palmetto Bug = COCKROACH :-2

"For one thing, Palmetto Bugs tend to be a bit larger then your average roach. I'm not kidding when I say that I have seen them grow to three inches or more. You may think cockroaches are gross, but the experience is much more vivid when all the gory details are magnified. As if that wasn't enough, Palmetto Bugs can fly! Yes, fly. You have never been creeped out, until you see a three inch roach fly up and land on the table next to you. And it gets worse, Palmetto Bugs aren't afraid of the light. You're just as likely to encounter one during the day as at night. The last little detail to distinguish the Palmetto Bug from your average cockroach is that they are armored. Step on one and you're lucky if you get its attention. You don't even get the pleasure of squishing one."

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Annie Mouse
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Post by Annie Mouse »

SOJOURNER wrote: Can you put into words the allure they have on you? :confused: :-3


I've been fascinated by snakes and lizards since I was a small child. I currently have a ball python named Eve and an australian blue-tongued skink named Sheila. This is my 3rd lizard and my 5th snake.
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Nomad
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Post by Nomad »

orangesox1 wrote: Make sure you take a big sharp knife with you so when your eaten you can cut your self back out.:D




Let me see if I have this straight. If you visit LC you need to bring a knife so that after she eats you you can cut yourself out of her ?

Wow !
I AM AWESOME MAN
lady cop
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Post by lady cop »

Nomad wrote: Let me see if I have this straight. If you visit LC you need to bring a knife so that after she eats you you can cut yourself out of her ?

Wow !don't you have some easter eggs to color or something useful like that??? :rolleyes: geeeesh

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