As of February 2013, scientists estimate anywhere between 30,000 and 150,000 Burmese Pythons exist in South Florida. As you may have suspected, Burmese Pythons are not native to Florida. They are native to Southeast Asia and south China.
The problem? The pythons are completely decimating populations of native wildlife. A study conducted by Michael Dorcas, a herpetologist at Davidson College in North Carolina in 2011 documented “severe declines” in mammal sightings. The 2003 to 2011 surveys compare mammal sightings to data from surveys conducted in 1996 and 1997 – before the python was breeding in the wild.
As the population of pythons has spiraled upwards in the last decade, mammal observations have declined by the following percentages:
• 87.5% bobcat decline
• 94.1% white-tailed deer decline
• 98.9% opossum decline
• 99.3% raccoon decline
• 100% rabbit decline
• 100% fox decline