August 13, 2008

Study: Pythons Unlikely To Leave Florida

New research suggests Burmese pythons will find little suitable habitat outside South Florida and the Everglades -- contrary to previous studies.

Burmese Pythons often take refuge in the Everglades after being released into the wild by owners apparently unwilling to care for snakes that can grow to about 25 feet in length and can weigh an average of 200 pounds, researchers said.

Earlier this year the U.S. Geological Survey released climate maps that suggested the pythons could potentially spread from Florida to 32 states. But a study by graduate students Alex Pyron and Tim Guiher at the City University of New York and Associate Professor Frank Burbrink of the College of Staten Island produced different results.

The study determined Geological Survey maps only considered two variables -- mean monthly rainfall and temperature.

"By using more complete climate data, in this case 19 variables measuring climatic extremes, averages and seasonal variation, we can make more accurate predictions of species distributions," said Pyron.

The scientists determined the climate of the continental United States will likely keep the snakes in the Everglades.

The research is detailed in the online journal PLoS One.

Image Courtesy Wikipedia


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