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April 06, 2010
Florida Redux: Record Python Captured - 9
by Brian Lynn
In case you missed my post about why Florida is the worst state in the Union to train a dog, here is more proof.
A record-setting African Rock Python, the largest species of snake slithering over the Dark Continent, was nabbed in Bird Drive Basin in West Miami-Dade County. The large constrictor is capable of inhaling goats, warthogs and gators/crocs.
With a dinner menu as formidable as that, what chance does a retriever or bird dog have of surviving an encounter?
The python was a lengthy 14 feet and a formidable 140 pounds. That's bigger than just about any sporting dog out there, never mind the fact that snakes can consume prey much larger than themselves.
Gun dogs are the focus of this blog, and while a snake like this could take one out, the possibility of that happening aren't that great (at least not yet), however, the epidemic of invasive species is a greater threat to our flora, fauna and ecosystems than what usually gets covered in the media (like offshore, inshore and continental drilling for oil and natural gas).
Invasive plants like salt cedar, mollusks like zebra muscles, fish like the snakehead and exotic reptiles like the African Rock Python, cost taxpayers and sportsmen alike billions of dollars per year. That's money that could be used elsewhere, like habitat enhancement (instead of reclamation or control), public-private land use agreements/easements, species survival studies and supplementation (like wood duck boxes or trap and transfer of turkeys).
Tighter restrictions on the pet, garden and aqua-culture industries are needed to curb the influx of exotics into this country. But, alas, even then it would probably do no good. Smuggling of animals ranks behind only that of guns and humans. Drug smuggling isn't even as lucrative or widespread. Still, something needs to be done and tighter restrictions, tougher punishments for offenders and an all-out war on non-native species should be part of a larger program to stop this problem. And Florida is the perfect place to start.
I'll get off my soapbox now.