“They’re beautiful animals,” Graziani said of the non-poisonous snakes that can grow to 14 feet or longer. “If I could take them all to Southeast Asia, I would, but I can’t foot that bill.”
Graziani is one of about 15 people who have been issued licenses to capture or kill the giant constrictors in Florida. The National Park Service – which administers the Everglades National Park and Big Cypress National Preserve, both near Miami, wants the non-native reptiles eradicated from its lands. So do the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission and the South Florida Water Management District.
Biologists fear that the giant snakes will decimate native animals, including protected species of wading birds. [Read conservation biologist Stuart Pimm’s blog post: Pythons in Florida Everglades: Is the Snake Invasion Only Beginning?]
“I hate that we have to euthanize them, but they don’t belong there, and what are we going to do?” Graziani said.
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