Florida Fish and Wildlife Aiming to Remove Non-Native Northern African Pythons From Florida

By  //  September 10, 2018

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FWC Continues efforts to locate and remove non-native Northern African pythons

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is asking for the public’s help with continuing efforts to locate and remove non-native Northern African pythons in south Florida. (FWC image)

BREVARD COUNTY. FLORIDA – The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is asking for the public’s help with continuing efforts to locate and remove non-native Northern African pythons in Florida.

The Northern African python, also called an African rock or rock python, has been documented living in the Bird Drive Recharge Area, which covers approximately 6 square miles in western Miami-Dade County.

Unlike Burmese pythons, the Northern African python population is thought to be confined to a small area in a single county.

“Recently, the FWC received a report of a large Northern African python found and killed in a vacant lot on the corner of SW 144th Ave. and 26th St./Coral Way near Kendall West in early July,” said Sarah Funck, non-native fish and wildlife program coordinator for the FWC.

“We are asking residents and visitors in this area to report sightings of these large constrictors as soon as they see them. The more reports we receive, the more likely we will be successful in removing these non-native snakes from the wild.”

In Florida, the average size of a Northern African python is 10 feet in length, posing a threat to human safety and native wildlife. They can grow up to 20 feet in length in their native range.

The Northern African python, also called an African rock or rock python, has been documented living in the Bird Drive Recharge Area, which covers approximately 6 square miles in western Miami-Dade County.

HOW TO HELP

  • Immediately report any sightings of live Northern African pythons to the FWC’s Exotic Species Hotline at 888-Ive-Got1 (888-483-4681). Include a picture if possible.
  • Report past sightings, roadkill[, shed skins and other remains of Northern African pythons to Ivegot1.orgExternal Website
  • If you own land in the identified area where this species lives, allow wildlife managers to search for pythons on your property.
  • Deter pythons from your property by cutting back vegetation, clearing debris and securing small pets.

The FWC listed the Northern and Southern African pythons as conditional species in 2010, with the result that an individual may no longer legally acquire these species in the state for personal pets.

While Northern African pythons are very similar in appearance to Burmese pythons, the skin pattern on their backs is less defined. Additionally, the belly scales of a Northern African python are a pattern of black and white markings, while those of the Burmese python are white.

To learn more about the Northern African python, go to MyFWC.com/Nonnatives then select “Reptiles” and look under “Snakes.” Learn more about the FWC’s efforts to manage and minimize the impacts of non-native species on Florida’s fish, wildlife and marine life at MyFWC.com/Nonnatives.

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