Balmy, With a Chance of Pythons

Dumped American pets thriving in wild on global warming
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 21, 2008 9:16 AM CST
Pilar Franks, a volunteer at the Horseshoe Creek Wildlife Foundation in Davenport, Florida, looks at "Snoopy," a 17-foot Burmese Python. The snake had been turned loose by an owner that no longer wanted...   (KRT Photos)
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(Newser) – Burmese pythons could rapidly establish a stranglehold on the southern US due in part to snake-loving global warming, according to a new government report. With climate change and more pet owners releasing unwanted snakes into the wild, the adaptable serpent could soon call home any area from Northern California through the Southwest, deep South and Atlantic Coast, reports USA Today.

The area the pythons could colonize grows even more when USGS climate modeling estimates the global warming between now and 2100. "They are moving northward, there's no question," said one researcher. Burmese pythons first came to America as pets, but dumped snakes began breeding in Florida, and have moved into other states. The pythons eat anything from rats and rabbits to bobcats and alligators.