Snakes on the Plains?

Global warming could cause Florida pythons to migrate north. Or not.

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If there were ever a time we needed Samuel L. Jackson, it's now. According to one U.S. Geological Survey report, climate change may cause the Burmese pythons that inhabit Florida's Everglades to spread to as many as 32 states, reported LiveScience.

The Burmese python, obviously, is not native to Florida—the population of constrictor snakes comes from former pets who were let into the wild, scientists believe. The snakes can grow up to 20 feet long and can weigh up to 250 pounds. They eat dogs, cats, and other small mammals, but can also eat animals as large as alligators. The snakes are "highly adaptable to new environments," said the report. No timeline was given for when a migration might occur.

That's because a conflicting report has come out that asserts the snakes will stay in Florida. The adaptable snakes, it says, will adjust to climate change in their home state of Florida, rather than from California to Virginia and everywhere in between.

"The results of the [new] models suggest that the pythons are restricted to the vicinity of the Everglades in extreme south Florida, so while wildlife authorities will have their hands full dealing with established populations of these snakes, people outside of Florida should not fear an inexorable northward expansion," said a statement released by the City University of New York (CUNY) yesterday.

"Far from flourishing under potential scenarios of global warming, the snakes are predicted to be seriously impacted by models of global climate change, a fate which is likely not unique to the pythons," the statement continued.

It's true—I've previously written about how global warming will affect the population of cats. Could the next emerging green collar job be in animal control? Or will the snakes, um, solve the cat overpopulation problems on their own?


TAGS:
animals
global warming
energy policy and climate change

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