Florida Pythons Able to Find Their Way Home After 22 Mile Displacement
By Lenny Pierce on March 21, 2014
It used to be that the kid with the pet python was super cool, but enough of these repto kids have accidentally let their snakes escape and now they’re causing trouble in the Everglades. The pythons are so perfectly adapted for the warm, wet climate of the Everglades that they’ve established resilient breeding populations which park officials are struggling to control. Recently, however, it was discovered that the reptiles are able to find their way back to their “home” ranges even after being displaced up to 22 miles away. Figuring our how they are able to pull these homing missions off could help us understand their movements and possibly aid the effort to get rid of them altogether.
In a study conducted by Davidson College, six snakes were captured and outfitted with GPS trackers. They were then transported to locations 13 to 22 miles away from where they were found. Amazingly, all but one python was able to find its way back to within 3 miles of their original range.
Tracking the snakes was not as easy as tracking other animals. When tracking the movements of birds across North America or mountain lions through Los Angeles County (not kidding – check it out), a GPS tracker can be secured to an animal’s foot or neck. But since snakes have no feet and are essentially one long neck, trackers had to actually be embedded under the skin of these pythons.
Below is video of researchers embedding the GPS tracker under a massive python’s skin.
In an event which must have pissed any loyal Florida Gator off, a Floridian Burmese python killed and consumed a 6 ft. long American alligator. Fortunately for the future of other nearby gators, this one proved too much for the python to stomach. (National Geographic)
Researchers are not sure how the snakes are finding their way back, but since other types of snakes use the stars to navigate, they consider this method to be a possibility.
How do you think these snakes are finding their way back? Got any bright ideas for how to get these Burmese bastards out of our gol’ durn country? Let us know in the comment section below.