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Detection and Removal of Invasive Burmese Pythons: Methods Development Update

  • Author(s): Avery, Michael L.
  • Humphrey, John S.
  • Keacher, Kandy L.
  • Bruce, W. Eddie
  • et al.
Abstract

The invasive Burmese python is a large constrictor snake that is now well established in south Florida. This invasive predator could have major detrimental impacts to native wildlife populations and is a perceived threat to human health and safety. Finding and removing this elusive predator in vast Everglades habitats of wet sawgrass prairies with interspersed hardwood hammocks poses many challenges for biologists and land managers in south Florida, and no single solution is likely to prevail. In ongoing research, we are exploring opportunities to improve detection of this cryptic species using such diverse approaches as environmental DNA, trained detector dogs, and thermal infrared imagery. In this paper we update the status of these efforts. Other research, using captive pythons in outdoor pens at our facility in Gainesville, has resulted in the development of a newly-patented live trap that is specific to large snakes. We are currently testing and evaluating techniques to complement this new trap design for effective python removal in concert with improved detection tools.

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