What is a Burmese Python

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Python hunting in the Everglades


Hunting Burmese Pythons in Southern Florida

The Florida Everglades – a land of gators, wading birds, and dense wetland wilderness. In fact, the wildlife of the Everglades is one of the biggest reasons that so many people visit this iconic national park and the nearby areas. But there’s a new apex predator in town that doesn’t belong – the Burmese python – What is a Burmese pythong? Its a giant invasive snake that has made itself right at home among the sawgrass and cypress domes. In this guide to the Burmese Python, we’ll get up close and personal with this slippery stranger. You’ll meet the pythons taking over Florida and learn just how they got there in the first place and why they’ve thrived.

We’ll also explore what makes them such effective predators and discuss why they threaten the area — and how Everglades Python Hunts make ecological protection a thrilling adventure for those who want to fight back. First question – what’s a 20-foot-long snake from Southeast Asia doing in a Florida swamp anyway? What Is A Burmese Python? Burmese pythons (python molurus bivittatus) originate from the lush tropical forests and marshes of Southeast Asia, including Myanmar, eastern India, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and parts of southern China.

Exotic pet trade

Within their native range, this type of reticulated python plays an important role as both predator and prey within the ecosystem. Pythons help control populations of rats, birds, and other small mammals, while larger predators like leopards and crocodiles feed on the snakes. This balance has evolved over millennia. So how did this forest-loving snake end up swallowed by the vast Florida Everglades over 8,000 miles from home? It comes down to the exotic pet trade. During the late 20th century, Burmese pythons became popular in the reptile pet industry across North America and Europe. Unfortunately, trade restrictions were limited compared to today.

Wildlife smugglers attracted by the emerging market likely brought over large numbers of pythons illegally collected from Southeast Asia during the 1980s and 1990s. Both legal and illegal avenues led to thousands of pythons ending up in private collections. However, these cold-blooded giants can grow over 20 feet long on a diet of large mammals and birds. Not an easy pet to care for! Likely due to escapes and intentional releases by overwhelmed owners, some Burmese pythons found their way into Florida’s wilderness areas.

Method of attack

Wildlife experts believe the first breeding population became established in the Everglades sometime in the late 1970s or early 1980s. Without any natural predators in Florida, the python population exploded exponentially across regions of South Florida. The ecological consequences have been devastating for native wildlife unable to adapt to this new apex predator. But for such a forest-loving species from halfway around the world to thrive in marshes and sawgrass prairies, the Burmese python is an incredibly adaptable and resilient invasive species. Unlocking the secrets behind their invasion success can help guide control efforts.

The Python’s Deadly Bag of Tricks Growing to lengths of 20 feet and sometimes more, Burmese pythons have a full bag of tricks that make them such successful invaders. (Hint: It’s more than just their size.) For one thing, they boast supremely stretchy jaws that allow them to tackle prey as big as large deer and adult alligators.

Their favorite mode of attack is ambush hunting – waiting perfectly camouflaged before striking with lightning speed. Pythons also wield powerful muscles that unleash killer body-twisting sneak attacks. This gives them their signature kill method – constriction. By wrapping loop after loop of coil around helpless prey, each squeeze gets tighter and tighter until blood flow stops and the animal dies of suffocation. Gruesome, but effective. Adding to the dangers, female pythons can lay up to 100 eggs at a time without needing a mate! This biological edge means just one pioneering python could spawn an entire population – one of the big reasons that the python has become such a nuisance species in Florida. Put it all together, and you have apex predators tailor-built for domination.


This natural ability to thrive in the wild has made this invasive species popular as exotic pets, but their size and strength can quickly become unmanageable for inexperienced owners. Plus, once they are released into the wild (either intentionally or accidentally), they can pose a serious threat to native species. Invasive Species = Unbalanced Food Chain Sadly, South Florida’s wildlife never stood a chance once the pythons dug in. Foxes, bobcats, rabbits, possums, raccoons, deer, and even birds have disappeared at an alarming rate from invaded wetlands. With pythons eating their way through the food chain, many native species face local extinction. The ecological consequences in south Florida go even deeper. Losing so many native predators and herbivores allows other animals like rats and invasive plants to also gain ground.

Over time, the entire landscape changes – from the types of plants and animals present to the overall health of the ecosystem. Solving the Snake Problem with Everglades Python Hunts Fighting back against an apex predator as slippery and sneaky as pythons pose serious challenges. These invasive Burmese pythons live much of their lives hidden and stay submerged among wetland vegetation, and are masters of stealthy ambushes.

Not easy targets for capture, and local animal control experts have been unable to keep up with their rapid population growth. Still, allowing their domination and potential destruction of the treasured Everglades is unacceptable. That’s why fresh thinking to combat these snakes is vital for protecting Florida’s wetland heritage. As a lifelong Gladesman, I have witnessed first-hand the devastating impacts of the Burmese python invasion on this treasured ecosystem. That’s why, in addition to my Everglades airboat tour services, my top priority is helping control and remove these dangerous invasive predators with a unique python elimination program!


Through Everglades Python Hunts, I provide private snake hunt charters, taking groups deep into invaded territories to hunt pythons. I utilize different tracking methods, from vehicles to airboats, to capture snakes while keeping clients safe and maximizing success. As a conservationist and educator, I also donate boats and time towards research and youth events centered on understanding and managing this threat. By training the next generation of python removal agents, we can help reduce the impacts of these destructive snakes and eliminate invasive pythons – one hunt at a time. When captured, snakes are humanely euthanized to avoid further suffering.

The goal is not trophies but making even the smallest dent in reproduction rates. If we remove even a few breeding adults each year, that’s fewer python eggs and babies being born to take over. It’s an immense challenge, but with private citizens, scientists, wildlife officials, and conservationists working togethe, we can turn the tide. Everglades Python Hunts provides the platform for action that I wished existed when I was younger. If you want to help save South Florida’s wetlands as I do, then join one of my snake hunts! Or volunteer and donate towards ongoing research and educational initiatives. This is our Everglades – let’s fight for its future.

Burmese pythons are non-venomous constrictor snakes that pose very little direct threat to humans. While incidents between humans and snakes are low, it’s still best to avoid interacting with or approaching any pythons spotted. The bigger issue is that as an invasive species, invasive pythons are devastating the palm beach counties. What is the risk of a python attack in a Florida backyard or city? The risk of a Burmese python attack in an urban area is low. These snakes prefer wetland habitats and have not established breeding populations in developed areas. Northern African pythons and boa constrictors do occupy suburbs of Miami, but incidents are rare.

Still, supervise small children and pets outside, especially at night when snakes hunt. What evidence shows the ecoystem impacts of invasive Burmese pythons? Studies have directly linked severe declines in mammal populations in Everglades National Park to the spread of Burmese pythons. Possums, raccoons, bobcats, rabbits, and deer have been hardest hit by python predation. How many Burmese python are in the wild in Florida?

Conservative estimates suggest at least tens of thousands of Burmese pythons are already present across South Florida and the Everglades region. The species has shown itself to be a highly successful invasive apex predator able to expand populations rapidly. Exact numbers are difficult to pinpoint given their remote wetland habitats. Where in Florida are python populations currently established? Burmese pythons are now found across over 1,000 square miles encompassing southwest Florida.

Confirmed sightings have occurred from Everglades National Park to Big Cypress National Preserve up through Collier-Seminole State Forest. Occurrences have also been confirmed in the Florida Keys, though breeding populations haven’t yet taken hold. What should I do if I see a Burmese python in Florida? If you spot a live python in the wild, maintain a safe distance just as with an alligator. Taking a photo can help wildlife officials positively identify species. In Everglades National Park, report sightings directly to a park ranger. Throughout Florida, the IveGot1 reporting hotline also collects python sightings to inform removal efforts.