The Burmese python has been an unwelcome visitor in Florida for a while now. An alligator, however, welcomed one into his waters with open jaws. Floridians consider the Burmese python an invasive species and credit it for having a negative impact on the local wildlife. An alligator recently helped fight the booming python population in his neck of the woods.
Someone posted a photo on Twitter that had been taken by the South Florida Water Management District. It shows an alligator carrying the body of a Burmese python away for lunch after an apparently vigorous fight. The South Florida Water Management District posted an accompanying note, AOL News reported.
“Our staff spotted this alligator swimming away from a levee in western Miami-Dade Co. with lunch — a Burmese python.”
The Burmese python is typically a very strong opponent to the alligator, even though, in this case, the snake ended up being the meal. There have been numerous instances in the past where pythons have tried to eat alligators. The National Park Service issued a photo in 2011 of a python who tried to fight and eat an alligator whole. In that case, both of them died in the fight, according to CBS Miami.
The South Florida Water crews were in western Miami-Dade County on Thursday. They couldn’t believe their eyes when they saw a victorious alligator swimming along with the massive Burmese python in its jaws. Fortunately someone was able to think quickly and take a photo of the event. Apparently the alligator had just won quite a fight with the python, based on a story in UPI News.
Burmese pythons are typically native to India and other areas of Asia and are considered a nuisance to Floridians. The Burmese python has no natural predators in Florida. Researchers of the Burmese python say that the snakes consider everything that lurks in the Everglades as items on an “all-you-can-eat buffet. A fact that compounds the problem is that these pythons have no natural predators in the area, so their numbers are out of control. Another factor in their large population are humans releasing their pets in the wild. Sometimes it’s by accident, such as in the recovery period following Hurricane Andrew in 1992, also reported by Miami CBS Local.
Other times it’s on purpose. There are some people who tend to adopt or purchase a pet, and once the novelty is worn off or the responsibilities overtake the fun, they release them. Whether they are consciously aware of it or not, these people are helping to accelerate the population growth of the pythons and thereby the problems with them preying on multiple animals native to the area. Critics think it’s unfair for anyone to release an animal into the wild outside of its natural habitat.
Wildlife management are limited in their abilities to manage the problem and are likely grateful to the feisty alligator for helping them out. The Burmese python can reach a length of more than 20-feet long and weigh up to 200 pounds, says Newschannel5. The pythons feed on raccoons, opossums, and even animals as large as the Florida panther. Scientists are concerned that the hunting habits of pythons could even cause endangerment of some native species to the Everglades, upsetting the balance of the Everglades ecosystem.
Annually, local officials host the Python Challenge, which lasts a full month. It’s an intensive and aggressive round-up of dozens and dozens of unwelcome pythons. This year 106 pythons were captured and killed by hundreds of hunters that came out to accept the challenge. Where the hunters left off, the alligators just might be taking over. In this fight, the alligator wins and the Burmese python loses, ultimately being carried away as lunch.
[Photo by Shutterstock Images]