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Datasheet

Python molurus bivittatus (Burmese python)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 22 June 2017
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Host Animal
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Python molurus bivittatus
  • Preferred Common Name
  • Burmese python
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Metazoa
  •     Phylum: Chordata
  •       Subphylum: Vertebrata
  •         Class: Reptilia
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • P. molurus bivittatus is a large snake, native to south-east Asia. As a result of the escape or release of individuals kept as pets, it is established and invasive in southern Florida, USA, where it has probably...
  • Principal Source
  • Draft datasheet under review

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Python molurus bivittatus (Burmese python); adult. Everglades National Park, Florida, USA.
TitleAdult
CaptionPython molurus bivittatus (Burmese python); adult. Everglades National Park, Florida, USA.
Copyright©Skip Snow/National Park Service/Bugwood.org - CC BY- NC 3.0 US
Python molurus bivittatus (Burmese python); adult. Everglades National Park, Florida, USA.
AdultPython molurus bivittatus (Burmese python); adult. Everglades National Park, Florida, USA. ©Skip Snow/National Park Service/Bugwood.org - CC BY- NC 3.0 US
Python molurus bivittatus (Burmese python); adult - head, showing teeth. Laboratory photograph. Florida, USA.
TitleHead, showing teeth
CaptionPython molurus bivittatus (Burmese python); adult - head, showing teeth. Laboratory photograph. Florida, USA.
Copyright©Lori Oberhofer/National Park Service/bugwood.org - CC BY- NC 3.0 US
Python molurus bivittatus (Burmese python); adult - head, showing teeth. Laboratory photograph. Florida, USA.
Head, showing teethPython molurus bivittatus (Burmese python); adult - head, showing teeth. Laboratory photograph. Florida, USA.©Lori Oberhofer/National Park Service/bugwood.org - CC BY- NC 3.0 US
Python molurus bivittatus (Burmese python); an American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) and a python locked in a struggle to prevail in Everglades National Park, Florida. The python appears to be losing, but snakes in similar situations have apparently escaped unharmed and, in other situations, pythons have killed alligators.  Florida, USA.
TitleSpecies conflict
CaptionPython molurus bivittatus (Burmese python); an American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) and a python locked in a struggle to prevail in Everglades National Park, Florida. The python appears to be losing, but snakes in similar situations have apparently escaped unharmed and, in other situations, pythons have killed alligators. Florida, USA.
Copyright©U.S.National Park Service/Lori Oberhofer
Python molurus bivittatus (Burmese python); an American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) and a python locked in a struggle to prevail in Everglades National Park, Florida. The python appears to be losing, but snakes in similar situations have apparently escaped unharmed and, in other situations, pythons have killed alligators.  Florida, USA.
Species conflictPython molurus bivittatus (Burmese python); an American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) and a python locked in a struggle to prevail in Everglades National Park, Florida. The python appears to be losing, but snakes in similar situations have apparently escaped unharmed and, in other situations, pythons have killed alligators. Florida, USA.©U.S.National Park Service/Lori Oberhofer
Python molurus bivittatus (Burmese python); immature, captured in Everglades National Park, Florida, USA.
TitleImmature
CaptionPython molurus bivittatus (Burmese python); immature, captured in Everglades National Park, Florida, USA.
Copyright©Lori Oberhofer/National Park Service/bugwood.org - CC BY- NC 3.0 US
Python molurus bivittatus (Burmese python); immature, captured in Everglades National Park, Florida, USA.
ImmaturePython molurus bivittatus (Burmese python); immature, captured in Everglades National Park, Florida, USA.©Lori Oberhofer/National Park Service/bugwood.org - CC BY- NC 3.0 US
Python molurus bivittatus (Burmese python);  an adult python has captured and ingested American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) then, split. Everglades National Park, Florida, USA.
TitleInterspecific conflict
CaptionPython molurus bivittatus (Burmese python); an adult python has captured and ingested American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) then, split. Everglades National Park, Florida, USA.
Copyright©Michael Barron/National Park Service/Bugwood.org - CC BY-NC 3.0 US
Python molurus bivittatus (Burmese python);  an adult python has captured and ingested American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) then, split. Everglades National Park, Florida, USA.
Interspecific conflictPython molurus bivittatus (Burmese python); an adult python has captured and ingested American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) then, split. Everglades National Park, Florida, USA.©Michael Barron/National Park Service/Bugwood.org - CC BY-NC 3.0 US
Python molurus bivittatus (Burmese python); predated American bobcat (Lynx rufus) claw retreived from a python gut. Everglades NP, Florida, USA.
TitleInterspecific conflict
CaptionPython molurus bivittatus (Burmese python); predated American bobcat (Lynx rufus) claw retreived from a python gut. Everglades NP, Florida, USA.
Copyright©Skip Snow/National Park Service/Bugwood.org - CC BY-NC 3.0 US
Python molurus bivittatus (Burmese python); predated American bobcat (Lynx rufus) claw retreived from a python gut. Everglades NP, Florida, USA.
Interspecific conflictPython molurus bivittatus (Burmese python); predated American bobcat (Lynx rufus) claw retreived from a python gut. Everglades NP, Florida, USA.©Skip Snow/National Park Service/Bugwood.org - CC BY-NC 3.0 US
Python molurus bivittatus (Burmese python); wood rats and radio collar retreived from the the gut of a python. Evergaldes NP, Florida, USA.
TitleInterspecific conflict
CaptionPython molurus bivittatus (Burmese python); wood rats and radio collar retreived from the the gut of a python. Evergaldes NP, Florida, USA.
Copyright©Skip Snow/National Park Service/Bugwood.org - CC BY-NC 3.0 US
Python molurus bivittatus (Burmese python); wood rats and radio collar retreived from the the gut of a python. Evergaldes NP, Florida, USA.
Interspecific conflictPython molurus bivittatus (Burmese python); wood rats and radio collar retreived from the the gut of a python. Evergaldes NP, Florida, USA.©Skip Snow/National Park Service/Bugwood.org - CC BY-NC 3.0 US
Python molurus bivittatus (Burmese python); rooster (domestic chicken) found in gut of python. Florida, USA.
TitleInterspecific conflict
CaptionPython molurus bivittatus (Burmese python); rooster (domestic chicken) found in gut of python. Florida, USA.
Copyright©Lori Oberhofer/National Park Service/Bugwood.org - CC BY-NC 3.0 US
Python molurus bivittatus (Burmese python); rooster (domestic chicken) found in gut of python. Florida, USA.
Interspecific conflictPython molurus bivittatus (Burmese python); rooster (domestic chicken) found in gut of python. Florida, USA.©Lori Oberhofer/National Park Service/Bugwood.org - CC BY-NC 3.0 US
Python molurus bivittatus (Burmese python); radio-tagging for further research.
TitleResearch
CaptionPython molurus bivittatus (Burmese python); radio-tagging for further research.
Copyright©Lori Oberhofer/National Park Service/Bugwood.org - CC BY-NC 3.0 US
Python molurus bivittatus (Burmese python); radio-tagging for further research.
ResearchPython molurus bivittatus (Burmese python); radio-tagging for further research.©Lori Oberhofer/National Park Service/Bugwood.org - CC BY-NC 3.0 US
Python molurus bivittatus (Burmese python); pathway cause for an invasive species: Granite pattern python for sale at a reptile show. Perry, Georgia, USA.
TitlePathway cause
CaptionPython molurus bivittatus (Burmese python); pathway cause for an invasive species: Granite pattern python for sale at a reptile show. Perry, Georgia, USA.
Copyright©Rebekah D. Wallace/University of Georgia/Bugwood.org - CC BY-NC 3.0 US
Python molurus bivittatus (Burmese python); pathway cause for an invasive species: Granite pattern python for sale at a reptile show. Perry, Georgia, USA.
Pathway causePython molurus bivittatus (Burmese python); pathway cause for an invasive species: Granite pattern python for sale at a reptile show. Perry, Georgia, USA.©Rebekah D. Wallace/University of Georgia/Bugwood.org - CC BY-NC 3.0 US

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Python molurus bivittatus Linnaeus, 1758

Preferred Common Name

  • Burmese python

Other Scientific Names

  • Python bivittatus Kuhl, 1820

International Common Names

  • English: India python
  • Spanish: Piton birmana

Local Common Names

  • Germany: Dunkler Tigerpython; Tigerpython

Summary of Invasiveness

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P. molurus bivittatus is a large snake, native to south-east Asia. As a result of the escape or release of individuals kept as pets, it is established and invasive in southern Florida, USA, where it has probably been established for at least a decade and perhaps as long as three or four decades. The distribution of the pythons in Florida covers thousands of square kilometres and continues to expand. The primary ecological impact is on native vertebrates that may be consumed as prey; several dozen species of prey have been removed from the roughly 1000 pythons collected so far, including federally endangered species (Key Largo woodrat Neotoma floridana, American Wood Stork Mycteria americana) and species with limited distributions (Limpkin Aramus guarauna, Round-tailed Muskrat Neofiber alleni). There are reports of a population of P. molurus bivittatus in Puerto Rico, a US territory in the Caribbean, but these remain as yet unconfirmed.

The species is listed as a ‘Reptile of Concern’ by the state of Florida, requiring owners to be licensed and to implant captives with a passive integrated transponder for individual identification. Elsewhere in the United States, regulations on ownership of P. molurus bivittatus and other large constrictors are highly variable both among and within states. Possession in some countries (e.g. Australia) is prohibited. All boas and pythons are included in Appendix II of CITES, largely to allow monitoring of the trade in reptile skins.

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Metazoa
  •         Phylum: Chordata
  •             Subphylum: Vertebrata
  •                 Class: Reptilia
  •                     Order: Serpentes
  •                         Family: Boidae
  •                             Genus: Python
  •                                 Species: Python molurus bivittatus

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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The Burmese Python, Python molurus bivittatus, is a subspecies of the wide-ranging Python molurus, which is distributed across much of southern and southeastern Asia. At times the species has been divided into subspecies recognizable primarily by colour pattern (Barten et al., 1985; Ross and Marzec, 1990). For example, the dark form in Sri Lanka was historically distinguished as pimbura, though that name is no longer in wide use. Today the form in most of India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and parts of Bangladesh is generally recognized as the nominate subspecies P. molurus molurus, while populations in Southeast Asia, Nepal, and parts of northern India are referred to as the Burmese Python, P. molurus bivittatus. The latter is generally distinguished from the Indian Python by having a darker overall coloration, an arrowhead marking on the top of the head that does not fade anteriorly as compared to the Indian Python, and the presence of a scale row between the supralabials (upper lip scales) and the oculars (single ring of scales at the margins of the eye). However, various researchers have found the distinguishing attributes to be incongruent (Rooij, 1917; Mertens, 1930), and as the two forms are parapatric (abutting but not overlapping), introgression between the two forms is assumed to occur frequently enough for the combined population to qualify as a species (Underwood and Stimson, 1990; Kluge, 1993; Welch, 1994; Walls, 1998; McDiarmid et al., 1999; Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS), 2008). However, the species concept is in flux and some herpetologists, especially those focused on herpetoculture (Daniel, 2002; O’Shea, 2007; Barker and Barker, 2008), recommend splitting the population into two species at the contact line. Jacobs et al. (2009) also recommended splitting the species into P. molurus and P. bivittatus, but presented no new evidence to support such a split. Evidence that both forms occur in the same area without interbreeding would measurably strengthen the argument for splitting; in captivity, the taxa produce healthy crosses (Townson, 1980). There are numerous ‘designer morphs’ that have been selected for in captivity, including albinos and aberrant color patterns known in the herpetocultural trade under names such as ‘granite’, ‘green’, etc.

Description

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P. molurus bivittatus is a very large, heavy-bodied snake with a relatively short tail (about 12% of total body length) and glossy scales. As with many pythons, several scales on the snout contain obvious heat-sensing pits. The more westerly subspecies (Indian Python, P. molurus molurus) is generally lighter in coloration and has some supralabial (upper lip) scales that contact the eye, while the Burmese Python (P. m. bivittatus) has small scales between the eye and the supralabials. Scalation of hybrids between the subspecies has not been adequately documented. The head has a dark arrowhead shape, narrowing towards the snout and with a light-colored central line, while two dark wedges are present under and behind the eye. There are 30-40 dark blotches down the back, each outlined in cream or yellow; these can be rectangular, but are often irregular in shape or dissected into smaller blotches. Considerable variation exists among individuals, and several aberrant color ‘morphs’ (albino, ‘green’, ‘granite’, ‘labyrinth’, etc.) have been produced by reptile breeders (information in this paragraph compiled from Smith, 1943; Groombridge and Luxmoore, 1991; Walls, 1998; Reed and Rodda, 2009).

Authorities have engaged in extensive discussion of the large size attained by the Burmese and Indian Pythons (both members of the species P. molurus; Oliver, 1959; Pope, 1961; Minton and Minton, 1973; Ernst and Zug, 1996; Murphy and Henderson, 1997; Walls, 1998; Bellosa, 2003, 2004; Zug and Ernst, 2004; Bellosa et al., 2007), despite having relatively few data (large specimens rarely reach museums, for practical reasons). Estimates of the maximum size of a species depend on the size of the sample of measurements obtained (though rumours of rare but gargantuan snakes abound), and credible measurements are sparse when museums do not preserve a large series or large individuals (Zug and Ernst, 2004; Manthey and Grossman, 1997). Many experts state that P. molurus bivittatus over 5 m in total length are exceptionally rare in the field (Ernst and Zug, 1996; Murphy and Henderson, 1997), though there is a recent record of an 8.22 m total length captive-reared specimen (Bellosa, 2003). Pythons of exceptionally large size are generally females. Useful references on this topic are: Wall, 1912, 1921; Smith, 1943; Lederer, 1956; Schmidt and Inger, 1957; Pope, 1961; Acharjyo and Misra, 1976, 1980; Van Mierop and Barnard, 1976; Ernst and Zug, 1996; Walls, 1998; Cox et al., 1998; Zug and Ernst, 2004; Bellosa et al., 2007. 
 
Total lengths and masses of typical P. molurus (from Reed and Rodda 2009):
 
 
Hatchling
Maturation
Max. reported
Sex
Length (mm)
Mass (g)
Length (m)
Mass (kg)
Length (m)
Mass (kg)
M:
480-790
75-165
2.0
~5
~4.5
~50
F:
480-790
75-165
2.6
~10
8.22
182

Distribution

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The range of P. molurus is poorly documented, at least in part because such large snakes have not fared well amidst the dense human population that now occurs in their native range (Groombridge and Luxmoore, 1991). Thus the current distribution is likely to have shrunk compared to that occurring naturally (Minton, 1966; Khan, 2006, Li et al., 2009). Groombridge and Luxmoore (1991) published the most recent compendium of native range distributions, though their interest was in trade regulation rather than biogeography, and the quality of their records was highly dependent on the calibre of trade monitoring in each country. Murphy and Henderson (1997) reviewed the relevant literature. The Distribution table in this datasheet is based on data reviewed by Rodda et al. (2009) and Reed and Rodda (2009)Barker and Barker (2008) argued for a more restricted distribution, partially relying on non-peer-reviewed or unpublished information about current distributions. 

The Distribution table refers to the distribution of P. molurus bivittatus except where the notes refer to P. molurus molurus or to the species as a whole. In addition to the countries listed in the table, P. molurus molurus is found in riparian areas of the Indus valley in Pakistan (Wall, 1912; Smith, 1943; Minton, 1962; Khan, 2006), and throughout Sri Lanka (Wall, 1921; Deraniyagala, 1955; de Silva, 1990).

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasiveReferenceNotes

Asia

BangladeshWidespreadNativeSmith, 1943; Kock and Schröder, 1981; Das, 1996P. m. bivittatus present throughout most of country, although P. molurus may be present along the western border with India
BhutanLocalisedNativeGroombridge and Luxmoore, 1991Distribution poorly known. P. m. bivittatus may be found in lower elevations along the southern border, but literature is vague on this subject
CambodiaWidespreadNativeGroombridge and Luxmoore, 1991; Manthey and Grossmann, 1997Apparently found throughout
ChinaLocalisedNativeLin, 1983; Liu, 1986; Zhao and Adler, 1993; Zhong, 1993; Ji and Wen, 2001; Reed and Rodda, 2009Distribution poorly documented and hotly disputed among authorities. Present across much of southern China, including Hainan Island. Presence in Sichuan Province at higher latitudes appears undisputed, but presence in the region between Sichuan and southern China is disputed. There are also records to the north of the Sichuan Basin. Some consider Sichuan Basin and perhaps other populations to be isolates or the result of human introductions
IndiaLocalisedNativeWall, 1912; Whitaker, 1993; Das, 1996; Whitaker and Captain, 2004The nominal species P. molurus was historically distributed virtually throughout India, although absent from high elevations in northern states (Kashmir, Arunachal Pradesh) and very arid parts of the Thar or Great Indian Desert along the Pakistan border. The subspecies P. m. bivittatus is found in the Terai region along the border with Nepal, as well as in the states of Orissa, West Bengal, and along the border with Bangladesh. Distribution is now certainly reduced due to human persecution
IndonesiaLocalisedInger and Tan, 1996; Manthey and Grossmann, 1997; Auliya, 2003; Reed and Rodda, 2009Confirmed only on Java, Sumbawa, Bali and the SW corner of Sulawesi, although probably present on smaller islands in this area. Some authors hypothesize that all or some of these insular isolates are the result of human introductions
LaosWidespreadNativeDeuve, 1970; Manthey and Grossmann, 1997Found throughout, except perhaps at highest elevations in the north
MyanmarWidespreadNativeAuffenberg, 1994; Manthey and Grossmann, 1997; Zug et al., 1998; Pauwels et al., 2003Widespread through much of the country at elevations below about 2000 m although presence along eastern and western borders of northern half of Myanmar is disputed
NepalLocalisedNativeSwan and Leviton, 1962; Malla, 1968; Zug and Mitchell, 1995; Kabisch, 2002; Schleich and Kästle, 2002The nominal species, Python molurus, is found throughout lowland areas of the country, but the exact distribution of P. m. bivittatus is poorly understood, and the subspecies appear to be parapatic in some areas. Some authorities consider the Nepalese distribution to comprise disjunct patches, while others consider it continuous along the Terai region abutting the Himalayan uplands
ThailandWidespreadNative Not invasive Taylor and Elbel, 1958; Cox, 1991; Cox et al., 1998; Chan-ard et al., 1999Found throughout, except for southern half of Isthmus of Kra
VietnamWidespreadNativeCampden-Main, 1970; Groombridge and Luxmoore, 1991; Ziegler, 2002Found throughout, except perhaps at highest elevations

North America

USA
-FloridaLocalisedIntroduced Invasive Snow et al., 2007b; Harvey et al., 2008Present across thousands of square km of southern Florida, principally south of Lake Okeechobee but with increasing numbers of records north of the lake. Several records from the Florida Keys, especially Key largo

Central America and Caribbean

Puerto RicoPresent, few occurrencesIntroducedISSG, 2007Establishment unconfirmed

History of Introduction and Spread

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The extralimital population in southern Florida, USA, is the only introduction definitively known to be established and invasive. Individuals have been captured in Florida for several decades, but the population only became obviously widespread over the last decade (Snow et al., 2007b). Most early records were from southwestern portions of the Everglades National Park, supporting the notion that the population originated with captives that were taken to the end of the park road and released; however, some assert that the destruction of animal holding facilities by Hurricane Andrew in 1992 resulted in large-scale escapes and that this was the source of the invasive population. Available genetic evidence for either argument is uncompelling (e.g., Collins et al., 2008). Since becoming established, the population has spread throughout the Everglades National Park, Big Cypress National Monument, and well beyond, with evidence of reproduction in Collier County to the northwest (P. Andreadis, Denison University, USA, personal communication, 2009) and multiple individuals found as far north as the northerly margins of Lake Okeechobee (R.W. Snow, U.S. National Park Service, USA, personal communication, 2008, 2009).  Whether individuals along the margins of the known population represent dispersal or recent releases/escapes of captives can be difficult to distinguish, as there are no external signs that allow recent captives to be distinguished from dispersers from the main population (for example, wild pythons in southern Florida are typically in excellent body condition, with few scars or external parasites, and captives may not have been implanted with passive integrated transponders as recently required by Florida state law).

While there are several reports indicating an established population in Puerto Rico, an insular territory of the USA (Global Invasive Species Database, 2007), little information is available that would allow evaluation of this conclusion. Some authors (e.g., Barker and Barker, 2008) have opined that populations in Sichuan, China may represent introduced populations, but such opinions are at odds with much of the peer-reviewed literature.

Introductions

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Introduced toIntroduced fromYearReasonIntroduced byEstablished in wild throughReferencesNotes
Natural reproductionContinuous restocking
Florida 1980-1995 Pet trade (pathway cause) Yes Snow et al., 2007b
Puerto Rico   Pet trade (pathway cause)ISSG, 2007

Risk of Introduction

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Global trade in live P. molurus bivittatus is considerable, with about 300,000 individuals imported to the USA alone between 1977 and 2008 (Reed and Rodda, 2009). While pythons could conceivably enter transportation pathways as inadvertent contaminants, the vast majority are moved internationally for the pet trade. Once in captivity, they grow quickly, eventually requiring large cages and increased maintenance costs for food, etc. Very large individuals are difficult to sell or give away in the United States, and numerous records of free-ranging individuals from all over the USA indicate that releases and/or escapes are frequent. Using an established risk assessment process, Reed and Rodda (2009) concluded that both risk of establishment and likely magnitude of impacts are high for this species in the United States. Deliberate releases for rodent control or other purposes are possible, but are relatively unlikely as compared to releases or escapes due to the pet trade. The current scientific consensus is that large portions of the southern United States and many other subtropical and even temperate regions of the globe appear to exhibit climatic conditions similar to those experienced by P. molurus in its native range (Rodda et al., 2009; Van Wilgen et al., 2009; but see Pyron et al., 2008 for an alternative perspective), suggesting that establishment of additional populations is possible. Continuing international and domestic trade in the species, including shipment by air freight, suggests that the risk of such establishment is not trivial.

Habitat

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A dedicated study of the habitat range of P. molurus has not been published. However, it is evident both from the wide range documented and the informal habitat descriptors mentioned in the literature that this species occurs in virtually every habitat from lowland tropical rainforest (Indonesia, Southeast Asia) to thorn-scrub desert (in Pakistan) and grasslands (Sumbawa, India) to montane warm temperate forests (Nepal, China). Zug and Ernst (2004) describe the habitat as mangrove to montane. Smith (1943) mentions both upland and riparian habitats. Murphy and Henderson (1997) state: "rain forest, mangrove swamps, savanna, scrub forests and semideserts". The species often uses aquatic habitats (Wall, 1921; Smith, 1943). Restricting habitat considerations to the Burmese subspecies P. molurus bivittatus does little to restrict the habitat range – most higher elevation records are for this subspecies, and it experiences a wide range of habitat conditions elsewhere in Southeast Asia and China. Although P. molurus bivittatus may not experience aridity to the same degree as do the westernmost populations of P. molurus molurus, the latter are associated with aquatic habitats in such areas and thus their apparent tolerance of aridity is likely due to the availability of microhabitats in which to escape dry conditions. Some populations live in areas that experience freezing temperatures, but they are unable to survive prolonged exposure to such temperatures; they escape cold weather by escaping to burrows, deep water, or other thermal refugia.

Habitat List

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CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Brackish
Estuaries Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Estuaries Principal habitat Natural
Lagoons Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Lagoons Principal habitat Natural
Freshwater
Irrigation channels Secondary/tolerated habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Irrigation channels Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural
Lakes Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Lakes Principal habitat Natural
Ponds Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Ponds Principal habitat Natural
Reservoirs Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural
Rivers / streams Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Rivers / streams Principal habitat Natural
Littoral
Coastal areas Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Coastal areas Principal habitat Natural
Intertidal zone Secondary/tolerated habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Intertidal zone Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural
Mangroves Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Mangroves Principal habitat Natural
Salt marshes Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Salt marshes Present, no further details Natural
Terrestrial-managed
Buildings Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Buildings Present, no further details Natural
Cultivated / agricultural land Secondary/tolerated habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Cultivated / agricultural land Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural
Disturbed areas Secondary/tolerated habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Disturbed areas Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural
Managed forests, plantations and orchards Secondary/tolerated habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Managed forests, plantations and orchards Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural
Managed grasslands (grazing systems) Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Managed grasslands (grazing systems) Present, no further details Natural
Rail / roadsides Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Rail / roadsides Present, no further details Natural
Urban / peri-urban areas Secondary/tolerated habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Urban / peri-urban areas Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural
Terrestrial-natural/semi-natural
Arid regions Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural
Deserts Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural
Land caves Present, no further details Natural
Natural forests Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Natural forests Principal habitat Natural
Natural grasslands Principal habitat Natural
Riverbanks Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Riverbanks Principal habitat Natural
semi-natural/Rocky areas / lava flows Present, no further details Natural
semi-natural/Scrub / shrublands Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural
Wetlands Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Wetlands Principal habitat Natural

Biology and Ecology

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Genetics

Little information on genetic variability within P. molurus is available. Collins et al. (2008) reported on genetics of the introduced population in Florida, but their results offered few insights into the geographic origin of the population or its variability.
 
Reproductive biology
 
P. molurus bivittatus shows a fairly standard snake life history in that it hatches from an egg at a relatively small size, but is independent from birth, grows rapidly and matures in a few years, and searches for mates (males) or waits for males to find it (females) during the mating season, and females lay eggs to repeat the cycle. It is one of several python species in which females brood their eggs, enclosing the eggs inside their coils throughout incubation and raising the clutch’s temperature if needed by shivering thermiogenesis (Müller, 1970; Vinegar et al., 1970; Vinegar, 1973; Van Mierop and Bernard, 1978). The female may raise the temperature of her clutch by 6-8 °C (Hutchinson et al., 1966; Vinegar et al., 1970).
 
Reproductive phenology (the time of year when reproductive events occur) is expected to vary with locality (especially latitude), but has been quantified only in Florida (Snow et al., 2007b,c; Krysko et al., 2008) and South Asia (Wall, 1921; Bhupathy and Vijayan,1989). The general pattern in areas of seasonally-reduced activity seems to be for courtship to occur as air temperatures begin to warm. Mating aggregations or mating balls form in south Florida in March/April (R.W. Snow, U.S. National Park Service, USA, personal communication, 2008); previous observations of this phenomenon were limited to captivity (Acharjyo and Misra, 1976), or inferred from aggregations seen in December-March in India (Bhupathy and Vijayan, 1989; Daniel, 2002) or Pakistan (Minton and Minton, 1973).
 
Copulation by the male is not essential for development of viable eggs in P. molurus bivittatus (Durnford, 2003; Groot et al., 2003). Instead, the female apparently has the ability to fertilize her eggs with her own genetic material, though it is not known how often this occurs in the wild. Several captive studies reported viable eggs from females kept for many years in isolation. The length of time between copulation and oviposition (gestation) has not been measured in the wild, and may vary with locality; reports vary from two to four months. Harvey et al. (2008) give July-August as the dates for hatching in Florida, but comparable values are not apparently known for the native range.
 
Clutches of 8-107 eggs have been reported (Reed and Rodda, 2009 and references therein); mean clutch size of recent records from the invasive Florida population is 36 (Brien et al., 2007), but two recent clutches from the Florida Everglades were of 79 and 85 eggs (Krysko et al., 2008). Most observers assume that P. molurus bivittatus produces a maximum of one clutch a year. Indeed, it is possible that energetically-challenged females may be unable to reproduce every year in some localities; this possibility has not been examined in the wild. It is probable that males attempt to reproduce annually in all localities.
 
Post-hatching growth is among the fastest recorded for snakes, with captive individuals approaching 200 mm/month, though typical rates are 70-100 mm/month. One extraordinary individual was recorded as growing 245 mm/month (Frye and Mader, 1985). Growth rate declines with age; Parker (1963) expressed the trajectory as an increase in total length of 170% in the first year and 70% in the second. Acharjyo and Misra (1980) gave the mean growth rate as declining from 76 mm/month (1st year) to 45 mm/month (2nd year) to 52 mm/month (3rd year) and to 15.5 mm/month (4th year).
 
Maturation in captivity is likely to be accelerated when captives are fed generously. Unfortunately, data are not available from the wild. Frye and Mader (1985) report on an extraordinary male captive that matured in five months, at a total length of 1.7 m. This is consistent with Wall’s (1921) assessment of male maturation occurring at 1.7 m (all unqualified length measurements in this work are total length). However, females are reported (Wall, 1921; Lederer, 1956) to mature at around 2.6 m, which implies a greater age at female maturation or faster female growth. Pope (1961) argues that males may mature in 2 years and females in 3 years; Walls (1998) asserts 3 years. Ross and Marzec (1990) state: “They can reach ten feet [3 m] in length by one year of age if overfed, and can reach sexual maturity at 18 months to two years. With more appropriate growth, sexual maturity is reached at 2 ½ to 3 years.” These latter rates are a reasonable expectation for normally-fed animals. Captives have lived for more than 30 years.
 
Nutrition
 
P. molurus bivittatus is a predator on a very wide variety of vertebrates, but primarily consumes mammals and birds throughout development. Large pythons are capable of consuming large prey, and prey recovered from P. molurus digestive tracts (in either the native or invasive range) has included a leopard, alligators, antelope, dogs, deer, jackals, goats, wild pigs, pangolin, bobcat, great blue herons, langur, and flying fox (Snow et al., 2007a; Reed and Rodda, 2009 and references therein). At the small end of the size spectrum are items such as wrens and mice. It appears that P. molurus bivittatus will eat any bird or mammal of an appropriate size, as well as some reptiles.
 
Associations
 
Little is known of possible symbionts or similar floral/faunal associations.
 
Environmental requirements
 
Although exact knowledge of the distributional limits of P. molurus bivittatus remains incomplete, the literature suggests that pythons may occur up to 2000 m elevations in some parts of their range and that populations persist in fairly cool climates, including the Himalayan foothills and Sichuan Province of China (Whitaker and Captain, 2004; Rodda et al., 2009).

Climate

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ClimateStatusDescriptionRemark
A - Tropical/Megathermal climate Preferred Average temp. of coolest month > 18°C, > 1500mm precipitation annually
Am - Tropical monsoon climate Preferred Tropical monsoon climate ( < 60mm precipitation driest month but > (100 - [total annual precipitation(mm}/25]))
As - Tropical savanna climate with dry summer Preferred < 60mm precipitation driest month (in summer) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
Aw - Tropical wet and dry savanna climate Preferred < 60mm precipitation driest month (in winter) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
B - Dry (arid and semi-arid) Tolerated < 860mm precipitation annually
C - Temperate/Mesothermal climate Preferred Average temp. of coldest month > 0°C and < 18°C, mean warmest month > 10°C
Cf - Warm temperate climate, wet all year Tolerated Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, wet all year
Cs - Warm temperate climate with dry summer Preferred Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry summers

Latitude/Altitude Ranges

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Latitude North (°N)Latitude South (°S)Altitude Lower (m)Altitude Upper (m)
32 9

Rainfall

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ParameterLower limitUpper limitDescription
Dry season duration08number of consecutive months with <40 mm rainfall
Mean annual rainfall1044395mm; lower/upper limits

Rainfall Regime

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Winter

Notes on Natural Enemies

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Predation on P. molurus has not been systematically documented. Presumably, eggs and hatchling pythons experience the greatest vulnerability, due to their small size. Alligators (Snow et al., 2007b), monitor lizards (Auffenberg, 1994), jackals (Bhupathy and Vijayan, 1989), and humans (Murphy and Henderson, 1997) are documented predators or scavengers of pythons. Adult pythons are relatively invulnerable to predators, except when they are digesting a large meal (Wall, 1921; Murphy and Henderson, 1997). Predators that specialize on pythons are unknown, suggesting that biological control by introduction of a predator is unlikely to be effective.

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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Natural dispersal (non-biotic)

Dispersal to many of the occupied islands in the native range was presumably aquatic (hydrochory), and pythons arriving in the Florida Keys from the invasive mainland population have presumably crossed portions of Florida Bay to reach these islands.
 
Accidental introduction
 
Rare instances of accidental introduction via air or surface shipping may have occurred, but if so they are poorly documented.
 
Intentional introduction
 
Global trade in live P. molurus bivittatus is considerable, with about 300,000 individuals imported to the U.S. alone between 1977 and 2008 (Reed and Rodda, 2009). Intentional transportation of live pythons for the pet trade is the overwhelmingly dominant pathway of introduction.

Pathway Causes

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CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Botanical gardens and zoosOrigins in multiple native-range countries, present in many zoos worldwide Yes Yes Bellosa et al., 2007
Breeding and propagationBred for pet trade in many countries, primarily USA/Europe; sold domestically and internationally. Yes Yes Bellosa et al., 2007; Reed and Rodda, 2009
Pet tradeMost individuals probably originally imported from SE Asia Yes Yes Auliya, 2003; Snow et al., 2007b
ResearchConsidered a 'model organism' for physiological research Yes Yes Secor and Diamond, 1998
Self-propelledCapable of crossing expanses of salt or fresh water to reach islands, etc. Yes Harvey et al., 2008

Impact Summary

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CategoryImpact
Cultural/amenity Positive and negative
Economic/livelihood Positive and negative
Environment (generally) Negative
Human health Negative

Economic Impact

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The infestation of P. molurus bivittatus in south Florida is relatively recent, and an accurate tally of economic damage has not yet been completed. Potential economic impacts could include loss of domestic or companion animals, automobile accidents resulting from collisions with pythons (as is frequently the case for alligators), disease resulting from python transmission of pathogens or hosting of pathogen vectors, damage to electrical or other infrastructure systems, impacts on tourism, loss of hunting or birdwatching opportunities, etc. (Reed and Rodda, 2009). The only available economic study was by Smith et al. (2008), who estimated economic costs associated with predation on native species to exceed $80,000 per year for a single Burmese Python in the Everglades, with costs accruing due to python predation on species that are economically important, especially those listed by the U.S. Endangered Species Act and which have dollar values attached at a per-individual level.

Environmental Impact

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Impact on habitats

It is unlikely that P. molurus bivittatus will exert a direct negative impact on habitats, as it does not burrow, consume vegetation, or engage in other activities directly. However, it may potentially exert indirect impacts on habitats via its predation on vertebrates resulting in changes to community structure. No studies have attempted to examine whether such changes are occurring.

Impact on biodiversity

Over 30 species of native vertebrates have been recovered from the digestive tracts of P. molurus bivittatus in southern Florida. Mammals and birds are most commonly consumed, including deer, wading birds, meso-predators, rodents of all sorts, and songbirds. Numerous alligators have also been recovered, including individuals of up to 2 m total length. Federally endangered species recovered from pythons have included Wood Storks (Mycteria americana) and Key Largo Woodrats (Neotoma floridana smalli), along with several species considered of special concern by the state of Florida (Limpkin Aramus guarauna, Round-tailed Muskrat Neofiber alleni, etc.; Snow et al., 2007a, R.W. Snow, U.S. National Park Service, USA, personal communication, 2009). Some species appear to be declining precipitously in python-occupied habitat (e.g., N. alleni; F. Mazzotti, University of Florida, USA, personal communication, 2009), but a general lack of knowledge of pre-python baseline population sizes of prey species makes it difficult to assess such statements. Dorcas et al. (2012) found severe declines (well over 90% in some cases) in the numbers of several mammal species encountered on roads in the Everglades National Park; these declines coincided with python proliferation. It is important to note that because only a tiny fraction of the overall python population have been captured and examined for prey, current knowledge of dietary habits is necessarily an underestimate of overall impact on vertebrate biodiversity.

Threatened Species

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Threatened SpeciesConservation StatusWhere ThreatenedMechanismReferencesNotes
Ammodramus maritimus mirabilisNational list(s)USA/FloridaPredationReed and Rodda, 2009
Aramus guaraunaNational list(s)USA/FloridaPredationSnow et al., 2007a
Crocodylus acutus (American crocodile)VU (IUCN red list: Vulnerable); USA ESA listing as endangered speciesUSA/FloridaPredationReed and Rodda, 2009
Eudocimus albusNational list(s)USA/FloridaPredationSnow et al., 2007b
Felis concolor coryiNational list(s)USA/FloridaPredationReed and Rodda, 2009
Neofiber alleniNational list(s)USA/FloridaPredationSnow et al., 2007a
Neotoma floridana smalliNational list(s)USA/FloridaPredationGreene et al., 2007
Odocoileus virginianus clavium (Key deer)National list(s); USA ESA listing as endangered speciesUSA/FloridaPredationReed and Rodda, 2009
Oryzomys palustrisNational list(s)USA/FloridaPredationReed and Rodda, 2009
Peromyscus gossypinusNational list(s)USA/FloridaPredationReed and Rodda, 2009
Sylvilagus palustris hefneri (Lower Keys marsh rabbit)National list(s); USA ESA listing as endangered speciesUSA/FloridaPredationReed and Rodda, 2009

Social Impact

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Fear of snakes is largely irrational, and therefore the actual risk of attacks on humans by pythons is likely to be far outweighed by perceptions of elevated risk. If the presence of large invasive pythons induces humans to change their behaviour patterns (e.g., staying away from natural areas, reducing trips to national parks, keeping children indoors), then the net social impact could be considerable. However, no studies have addressed this topic.

Risk and Impact Factors

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Impact mechanisms

  • Predation
  • Rapid growth

Impact outcomes

  • Altered trophic level
  • Negatively impacts animal health
  • Negatively impacts human health
  • Negatively impacts livelihoods
  • Negatively impacts tourism
  • Reduced native biodiversity
  • Threat to/ loss of endangered species
  • Threat to/ loss of native species

Invasiveness

  • Benefits from human association (i.e. it is a human commensal)
  • Capable of securing and ingesting a wide range of food
  • Fast growing
  • Has a broad native range
  • Has high reproductive potential
  • Highly adaptable to different environments
  • Highly mobile locally
  • Is a habitat generalist
  • Long lived
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Reproduces asexually
  • Tolerant of shade

Likelihood of entry/control

  • Difficult to identify/detect in the field
  • Difficult/costly to control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally illegally

Uses

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Economic value

Python meat and skins are used in parts of the native range, and skins are traded internationally in the leather industry. P. molurus bivittatus comprises a relatively small proportion of this trade compared to Reticulated Pythons (P. reticulatus) and other species (Groombridge and Luxmoore, 1991). Although some in Florida have proposed large scale harvesting of invasive P. molurus bivittatus for skins, such collection efforts are recent and thus far probably fewer than 100 skins have been processed. International and domestic trade in live Burmese Pythons as pets is considerable, with approximately 300,000 imported to the USA over the last 30 years and domestic production of thousands of captive-reared juveniles (Reed and Rodda, 2009). Although P. molurus bivittatus is a very small component of the overall reptile trade, even as compared to some other python species (e.g., Ball Pythons, P. regius; Reed, 2005), it represents a net economic benefit to some importers and breeders.
 
Social benefit
 
Giant constrictors constitute an important element of the large and growing trade in living reptiles. For many snake owners, these snakes exhibit beauty, companionability, and educational value. Close contact with living things engenders a connection with nature that might not otherwise be possible. Thus the social value of protecting native ecosystems must be weighed against the social value of fostering positive attitudes about the protection of nature through giant constrictor ownership.
 
Environmental services
 
In its native range, P. molurus bivittatus may control rodent pests in agricultural settings and around some human habitations. Its utility for such services in the invaded range has not been specifically examined, although pythons recovered from agricultural fields in Florida often contain multiple rats.

Uses List

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Animal feed, fodder, forage

  • Meat and bonemeal

General

  • Botanical garden/zoo
  • Laboratory use
  • Pet/aquarium trade
  • Research model
  • Ritual uses
  • Souvenirs
  • Sport (hunting, shooting, fishing, racing)

Human food and beverage

  • Meat/fat/offal/blood/bone (whole, cut, fresh, frozen, canned, cured, processed or smoked)

Materials

  • Skins/leather/fur

Medicinal, pharmaceutical

  • Traditional/folklore

Diagnosis

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No methods have been proposed or enacted for laboratory techniques to detect or identify this species.

Detection and Inspection

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No detailed methods for detection or inspection have been published. Differentiating P. molurus bivittatus from some other species in the live reptile trade can be difficult, necessitating careful scale counts and examination of minor details of colour or pattern (Walls, 1998, Reed and Rodda, 2009).

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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While a number of large constrictor snakes bear a passing resemblance to P. molurus bivittatus, they are most likely to be confused with the closely related giant African pythons (Python sebae and P. natalensis), which are less common but still present in international trade. P. molurus bivittatus has more strongly defined body markings than either of the African species, and it also tends to have lower midbody, ventral, caudal, supralabial, and infralabial scale counts than the African species (although these fields tend to be at least somewhat overlapping; Branch and Erasmus, 1984; Broadley, 1984; Reed and Rodda, 2009).

Prevention and Control

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Prevention

SPS measures
There appear to be no published methods for quarantine or certification associated with importation of P. molurus bivittatus. However, ownership is regulated by various means in many areas of the world. The species is listed as a ‘Reptile of Concern’ by the state of Florida, requiring owners to be licensed and to implant captives with a passive integrated transponder for individual identification. Elsewhere in the United States, regulations on ownership of P. molurus bivittatus and other large constrictors are highly variable both among and within states. Possession in some countries (e.g. Australia) is prohibited. All boas and pythons are included in Appendix II of CITES, largely to allow monitoring of the trade in reptile skins.
 
Early warning systems
No specific measures have been instituted for P. molurus bivittatus. However, a telephone hotline for reporting sightings of giant constrictors (pythons, anacondas, boas, etc.) has been instituted in the Florida Keys, and has resulted in the recovery of numerous large snakes from suburban and natural areas (Harvey et al., 2008; A. Higgins, The Nature Conservancy, USA, personal communication, 2008, 2009). Another telephone number is available for reporting pythons on the mainland, but responding to such reports is only one of the many job responsibilities of the individual who receives the calls (R.W. Snow, U.S. National Park Service, USA, personal communication, 2008).
 
Rapid response
There is no specific rapid response team set up for responding to sightings of P. molurus bivittatus, although personnel from several agencies are available to respond to calls from the giant snake telephone hotline mentioned above in the Florida Keys. Excellent templates for development of a rapid response team for snakes are available (e.g., Stanford and Rodda, 2007).
 
Public awareness
Several public awareness programmes have addressed threats posed by P. molurus bivittatus and prevention of establishment of populations elsewhere. A significant proportion of this effort has been directed at the Florida Keys, with both governmental and non-governmental agencies cooperating to raise awareness of the issue so as to detect and intercept pythons dispersing from the mainland. There are also a number of more general programmes in the U.S. designed to educate pet owners and give them alternatives to disposing of pets by releasing them. These include the Habitattitude (http://www.habitattitude.net/) programme jointly run by governmental and pet industry programmes, Pet Amnesty Days run by the state of Florida during which owners can donate unwanted pets with the assurance that they will be humanely treated (S. Hardin, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Florida, USA, personal communication, 2009), and other programmes.
 
Eradication
 
Reed and Rodda (2009) reviewed the utility of a wide range of potential control tools for eradication of widespread populations of giant constrictors, including P. molurus bivittatus, and concluded that no available tools (including combinations of these tools) are currently likely to be sufficient for eradication. This conclusion was due to the low detection probability of pythons (they are secretive and cryptic), low movement rates (reducing the number of encounters with control tools), high fecundity, rapid growth, and other factors. At a more local scale, eradication of incipient populations may be possible, but in order to have a good chance of success, eradication efforts must take place while the population is still small and localized.
 
Control
 
Physical/mechanical control
In agricultural areas of Florida east of the Everglades National Park, numerous pythons have been found dead after agricultural fields have been ploughed or disked by tractors. Similarly, a number of pythons have been killed by mowing machines along roadsides or on levees in southern Florida. However, neither of these would be likely to result in population suppression at landscape scales, and the cost per hectare of using such tools for control purposes would likely be prohibitive.
 
Movement control
Barriers to snake movement (such as snake-proof fences of various designs) have been developed for Brown Treesnakes (Boiga irregularis) and some other species, but trials of their potential efficacy have not been completed for pythons. Because the southern Florida python population is spread across thousands of square kilometres and is still expanding its distribution, fences would need to be enormously long to contain its spread. At a local scale, drift fences that lead pythons to traps have captured a few snakes, but use of these fences has been minimal.
 
Biological control
Reed and Rodda (2009) reviewed the utility of biological control for eradication of widespread populations of giant constrictors, including P. molurus bivittatus. They concluded that no such tools are available for snakes despite extensive research efforts for Brown Treesnakes (Boiga irregularis) and other known invaders, and that the track record of biocontrol for vertebrate invaders is dismal.
 
Chemical control
Reed and Rodda (2009) reviewed the utility of chemical control for eradication of widespread populations of giant constrictors, including P. molurus bivittatus. Acetaminophen is registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a toxicant for control of Brown Treesnakes (Boiga irregularis) on Guam, where the toxicant is inserted into dead mice that are placed in the field as bait for snakes. Based on laboratory trials, P. molurus bivittatus also appears to be susceptible to acetaminophen, but the large doses required to kill large pythons would represent potential risks to non-target species that might ingest the bait (L. Clark, National Wildlife Research Center, USA, personal communication, 2009). The key challenge for toxicant application to invasive giant constrictors on the United States mainland is finding a way to prevent harm to non-target species, especially non-target snakes. In the southeastern United States, a special challenge is associated with protecting the Indigo Snake (Drymarchon corais), a Federally-listed Threatened Species. Because the Indigo Snake is large (max total length 2.8 m) and has a diet that overlaps with that of the giant constrictors, it is challenging to identify a device that would exclude this particular non-target while poisoning all sizes of giant constrictors. The Indigo Snake is of special interest, but many other vertebrates may take poison baits intended for giant constrictors, including most carnivorous or omnivorous birds, mammals, reptiles and larger frogs, and as far as is known all of these native species are vulnerable to acetaminophen toxicity.
 
IPM
Although IPM will certainly be a part of any programmatic effort to manage P. molurus bivittatus in Florida, thus far an inclusive management plan has not been developed; this is largely due to the unavailability of proven control tools and lack of dedicated personnel.
 
Hunting
Some land managers in Florida have advocated allowing private individuals to collect invasive pythons on all non-private lands where they occur, with the motivation being sale of meat/skins or payment of a bounty for each snake delivered. There is a market for skins, which are used in multiple leather products (W. King, University of Florida, Florida, USA, personal communication, 2009). To prevent breeders from turning in captive-produced hatchlings for a bounty, the bounty payment would need to be lower than the minimum profit point for breeders (hatchlings have sold for as little as $17 in recent years; R.N. Reed, US Geological Survey, Fort Collins, Florida, USA, unpublished data). The level of population control likely to be achieved via such activities is unknown; local control along levees, roads, and other easily-accessible areas may be possible, but landscape-level control is unlikely in areas such as southern Florida where vast areas are largely inaccessible (Reed and Rodda, 2009). A recent editorial in a reptile journal opposed the bounty concept as an effective control tool (Powell et al., 2009).
 
Monitoring and surveillance (incl. remote sensing)
 
No validated programme is currently in place for monitoring python presence or abundance. Preliminary trials of infrared technology to detect pythons (using manned or unmanned aircraft, or by humans on the ground) have been inconclusive (D. Hallac, Everglades National Park, Florida, USA, personal communication, 2009).
 
Ecosystem restoration
 
Ecosystem restoration is a major goal in the greater Everglades ecosystem, but it primarily addresses restoration of historical surface water flows, etc. No restoration efforts have been proposed specifically to compensate for the presence of P. molurus bivittatus in Florida.

References

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25/11/09 Original text by:

Bob Reed, US Geological Survey U.S. Geological Survey, Fort Collins Science Center, 2150 Centre Ave, Bldg C, Fort Collins, CO 80525, USA

Gordon Rodda, Invasive Species Science Branch, USGS Fort Collins Science Center, 2150 Centre Ave, Bldg C, Fort Collins, CO 80526, USA

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