Throughout a latest research on a wildlife refuge close to Miami, Florida, researchers had been monitoring the actions of possums and raccoons alongside an city interface when one of many GPS-collared critters went radio silent. The possum’s mortality sign was completely nonetheless, which is what you’d count on from a lifeless animal. However when the collar began transferring once more after hours of inactivity, the analysis group had a hunch that it was giving off indicators from contained in the stomach of an invasive Burmese python.

“That’s the signature sign that they bought eaten by a snake,” Michael Cove, one of many companions on the research, advised the Tampa Bay Occasions. Burmese pythons had been launched to Florida within the Nineties, and so they’ve been wreaking havoc on the state’s ecosystems ever since, which is why Cove and his group determined to go after the snake. “This factor was [living] underground,” he mentioned. “It took a month of monitoring the snake (to seize it).”

After they lastly caught the snake and wrestled it from its subterranean hideout—an elaborate cave system beneath Key Largo—the researchers euthanized it and eliminated the GPS monitoring collar from its abdomen. The reptile weighed 66 kilos and measured 12 ft in size. It was a pregnant feminine with the potential to put as much as 100 eggs.

Whereas monitoring down an underground Burmese python utilizing GPS indicators is a powerful feat in itself, the group’s profitable hunt might have broader implications for future efforts to rid Florida of the damaging invasive snakes as soon as and for all. By collaring solely grownup possums and raccoons, researchers might goal the massive pythons which might be able to swallowing mammals of that dimension. And people are typically egg-laying females. By way of selective concentrating on of breeding females, snake hunters might put an even bigger dent in general python numbers than they do with present looking strategies.

Learn Subsequent: Meet the Hunters Attempting to Repair Florida’s Python Invasion

Cove and his group members hope that their newly-developed method will ultimately be employed in different components of the Sunshine State, together with the Florida Everglades. They’ve already had success monitoring down and killing one other large python—a 77-pound pregnant feminine. And so they’ve deployed 46 further GPS collars within the Crocodile Nationwide Wildlife Refuge.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *