Tuesday, August 04, 2009

17-Foot Wild Python Caught Behind Florida Vets

It was supposed to be just another day at work for the staff at the Okeechobee Veterinary Hospital in Florida.

Their regular clients are household pets with the occasional hog, horse, and cow treated on an out-call basis.

But then Corey Surls, age 11, saw the snake. Corey's uncle, veterinarian Jim Harvey, owns the veterinary hospital.

To make a long story short, the Burmese python caught at the back of the 20-acre veterinary compound was 17 feet, 2 inches long, and measured 26 inches around at its thickest point, and it weighed 207 pounds, making it the largest python yet caught as part of the Great Florida Python roundup.

The python was dispatched with a .22 rifle before the veterinary staff posed for a once-in-a-lifetime picture.

The meat of the snake meat was donated to a nearby wildlife rehabilitation facility where it will serve as dinner for native wildlife recovering from their mishaps.

Some thought is being given to turning the skin into handbags for the ladies.

Any wonder there isn't more terrier work done in Florida? If the snakes don't get you, the alligators will!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Have you seen the potential range for the Burmese python in this country?


These maps were drawn from calculations about the US climate and the climate of the Burmese's python's native range in Asia.

I don't know whether they can fully handle the arid climate of the Southwest, but they probably can live very well in the subtropical South. The Southeastern US has a climate very similar to parts of China -- just without the pronounced monsoons.

And that's why I hope they kill every last one of those feral pythons. These things are a major menace to the ecosystem. I'm glad they got that one, and I'm even more happy that its remains are being used to feed native species. That's what we call poetic justice.

But the python eradication has been a bit of a losing battle. These things are now established in parts of South Florida, and they are going to be very hard to remove from the ecosystem.

Of course, I blame the people who bought these things thinking they were cool, only to realize that they get huge, are expensive to feed and house, and leave droppings larger than most horse road apples. Then they turned their pets loose into the wild. I can't tell you how many different species of large exotic reptile can be found in Florida, and virtually all of them were introduced this way.

Florida is supposed to have American alligators, American crocodiles, Eastern diamondback rattlesnakes, and gopher tortoises, not spectacled caimans, green iguanas, monitors and tegus, and Burmese pythons.