Hungry Florida Python Ate 3 Deer In 3 Months
It’s been known that Burmese pythons have been taking over the Florida Everglades for quite some time now. Now wildlife officials are concerned at just how much these pythons are eating.
The study of one particular snake has surprised officials with the extent of its appetite. The 15-foot female python ate three white-tailed deer in a 90 day period before her capture, reported Live Science.
Researchers reported in Bioinvasions Record that they found the remains of an adult doe and two fawns in the snake’s intestines. Study co-lead author Scott Boback said the gustatory feat was the first invasive Burmese python caught with three deer in its gut.
Boback noted that is a relatively short time for a snake to digest three big meals. “If a python is capable of eating three deer in three months,” he said. The information makes officials and researchers question just what kind of impact the snakes are having on the ecosystem of the Everglades. “We don’t even know how many of them are out there.”
While researchers aren’t clear on the overall impact of the pythons they are sure that since the snakes surfaced in the 1980’s the population numbers of raccoons, rabbits, foxes, and other small mammals have declined significantly. The reason for their surfacing is unclear, but officials are quick to blame careless pet owners releasing these snakes into the wild or not reporting the snakes if they get loose.
Bobcat explains, “all these studies are putting together a story that we just can’t ignore anymore.”
It seems that the snakes are expanding their territory as well. The Orlando Sentinel reported that snakes moving into the Florida Keys and western Palm Beach County.
Earlier in September a Miami hunter stumbled upon a python strangling a deer. After firing several shots at the python the deer was released and the snake was killed.
Burmese pythons can grow to be up to 18 feet long and they use their strong muscles to wrap around pray cutting off their circulation.