Most people think of pythons as giant snakes in distant tropical jungles, but Burmese pythons, which can reach lengths of over twenty feet and weigh over two hundred pounds, are now thriving in southern Florida.
These natives of Asia are commonly kept as pets and presumably escaped or were released in the Everglades. Pythons are now common in this region; widespread throughout hundreds of square miles, they are breeding and appear to be expanding their range. Pythons are voracious predators that feed on a variety of native wildlife including wading birds, bobcats, white-tailed deer, and even alligators. Their presence has drawn dramatic media attention and stoked fears among the public that pythons may threaten not just native species but humans as well.
Despite this widespread concern, information on pythons has been limited to a few scientific publications and news coverage that varies widely in fact and accuracy. With "Invasive Pythons in the United States", Michael E. Dorcas and John D. Willson provide the most reliable, up-to-date, and scientifically grounded information on invasive pythons. Filled with over two hundred color photographs and fifteen figures and maps, the book will help general readers and the scientific community better understand these fascinating animals and their troubling presence in the United States.
This meticulously researched and profusely illustrated work shines a spotlight on the dangers caused by introduction of non-native pythons into South Florida while providing a comprehensive account of what we know about the ecology of Burmese pythons, both in the United States and in their native range. This book will be of considerable interest to a wide range of readers including scholars, researchers, outdoors people, wildlife enthusiasts, and those concerned about the environmental and human threats posed by this invasive species in the United States.
- Russell A. Mittermeier, President, Conservation International, and Vice President, IUCN
"Invasive species come in all shapes and sizes-but few biological invaders are as dramatic as giant pythons. In this magnificently illustrated book, two accomplished snake biologists separate fact from fiction, and provide a user-friendly but scientifically rigorous account of how the pythons got to the USA, what we know about these troublesome aliens, and what impacts they are likely to have on the complex ecosystems of the Everglades and beyond."
- Rick Shine, University of Sydney
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Michael E. Dorcas is a professor of biology at Davidson College. He is the author of six previous books including, with coauthor Whit Gibbons, "Snakes of the Southeast" and "Frogs and Toads of the Southeast" (both Georgia).
John D. Willson is a postdoctoral research associate at Virginia Polytechnic and State University. He has published extensively on snake ecology and serves as a section editor for Snake Natural History notes in the journal "Herpetological Review".