Some people are dog people, some prefer cats. Both types generally like to nuzzle up to their pets and draw comfort from a warm, fuzzy, loving body held close. Other folks are… snake people, and they’re a little different. A friend of Lena’s who works in a pet shop describes snake people in two varieties. “There are snake people who really enjoy watching their snakes eating live animals…” he says, “and they’re kinda creepy. And then there are snake people who really, really enjoy watching their snakes eating live animals.”
Creepy though they might be, they are clearly not good planners.
One of the more popular pet snakes is the Burmese python, often purchased at around 3 feet. These snakes grow quickly when fed regularly, (which is apparently the point of having one) and can gain as much as 4 feet a year, to a total length of as much as 26 feet. Some snake people have dumped their snakes and left them in the wild, which most of the time results in a dead snake… unless you live near the Florida Everglades.
There the snakes have discovered a panoply of edible species… and pretty much no natural predators. Current estimates put the python population at around 30,000. Efforts are underway to curtail the snakes’ numbers, but since these are more or less the same efforts that have been ongoing throughout the recent population explosion my hopes are not high.
The snakes are now in very real danger of completely eliminating many unique species of wildlife in the Everglades. I believe the next plan is to introduce a pack of snake-eating Cape Hunting Dogs to eat the pythons, followed up by seeding the Everglades with a population of Bengal tigers to eat the dogs, then a gaggle of godzillas to eat the tigers, and finally burning down the swamp in the hopes that the monsters will simply go away.
We wish the Florida Nature Conservancy officials the very best of luck.