Python Found Wrapped Around Research Platform In Biscayne Bay
It seems that sharks aren’t the only things to fear in the water now. South Florida’s most invasive species, the Burmese python, has found a home in Biscayne Bay.
Last month a kayaker found a 9-foot Burmese python wrapped around a research platform more than half a mile offshore in Biscayne National Park. It was the first sighting for the park, but a sign that the snakes are getting more adept at inhabiting the state’s salty waters.
According to the Miami Herald, back in September state wildlife biologists confirmed the snakes are breeding in the Keys.
“It’s another raising of the notch in the war against pythons,” said University of Florida wildlife biologist Frank Mazzotti to the Miami Herald. “When you actually see something like this, how often does it occur that you don’t see it?”
A 2015 study by the U.S. Geological Society tracked pythons for five years and found they lived in both freshwater marshes and mangroves, so swimming snakes are not unheard of.
In fact, scientists believe that some of the adult snakes breeding in Key Largo actually swam there. Which means snakes could potentially make their way to islands that are normally inhabited by birds or other small mammals.
A day after the kayaker spotted the snake and reported it, district python wrangler Bobby Hill caught it. Park biologist Vanessa McDonough told the Miami Herald that the snake is being used to educate the public about the species.
But snake sightings in the park and even the park waters is unheard of.
“We don’t want people to think Biscayne Bay is teeming with pythons ready to chomp on people in the water,” she said to the Miami Herald. “We don’t want people afraid of the water.”
Leading up to this year there had only been one reported snake sighting in the park. The boater spotted a juvenile about a foot long swimming between 100 and 200 yards off Black Point Channel. Then in January of this year a 6.6-foot snake was spotted and captured on the jetty. Now the number has climbed to five, said McDonough to the Herald.
“It was like boom, boom, boom,” she said to the Herald. “I don’t know if it’s just a matter of people being more alert or if there truly are more.”