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Python vs 'Gator

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Python explodes after eating alligator

By Denise Kalette
The Associated Press
explodingpython.jpg

The carcass of a six-foot American alligator is protruding from the mid-section of a 13-foot Burmese python Monday, Sept. 26, 2005 in Everglades National Park, Fla., after the snake apparently swallowed the alligator resulting in the deaths of both animals. (AP / Everglades National Park

Miami - Alligators have clashed with nonnative pythons before in Everglades National Park. But when a 6-foot gator tangled with a 13-foot python recently, the result wasn't pretty.

The snake apparently tried to swallow the gator whole - and then exploded. Scientists stumbled upon the gory remains last week.

The species have battled with increasing frequency - scientists have documented four encounters in the last three years. The encroachment of Burmese pythons into the Everglades could threaten an $8 billion restoration project and endanger smaller species, said Frank Mazzotti, a University of Florida wildlife professor.

The gators have had to share their territory with a python population that has swelled over the past 20 years after owners dropped off pythons they no longer wanted in the Everglades. The Asian snakes have thrived in the wet, hot climate.

"Encounters like that are almost never seen in the wild. ... And we here are, it's happened for the fourth time," Mazzotti said. In the other cases, the alligator won or the battle was an apparent draw.

"They were probably evenly matched in size," Mazzotti said of the latest battle. "If the python got a good grip on the alligator before the alligator got a good grip on him, he could win."

While the gator may have been injured before the battle began - wounds were found on it that apparently were not caused by python bites - Mazzotti believes it was alive when the battle began. And it may have clawed at the python's stomach as the snake tried to digest it, leading to the blow up.

The python was found with the gator's hindquarters protruding from its midsection. Its stomach still surrounded the alligator's head, shoulders, and forelimbs. The remains were discovered and photographed Sept. 26 by helicopter pilot and wildlife researcher Michael Barron.

The incident has alerted biologists to new potential dangers from Burmese pythons in the Everglades.

"Clearly, if they can kill an alligator they can kill other species," Mazzotti said. "There had been some hope that alligators
can control Burmese pythons. ... This indicates to me it's going to be an even draw. Sometimes alligators are going to win and sometimes the python will win.

"It means nothing in the Everglades is safe from pythons, a top down predator," Mazzotti said.

Not only can the python kill other reptiles, the snakes will also eat otters, squirrels, endangered woodstorks and sparrows.
While there are thousands of alligators in the Everglades, Joe Wasilewski, a wildlife biologist and crocodile tracker, said its unknown how many pythons there are.

"We need to set traps and do a proper survey," of the snakes, he said. At least 150 have been captured in the last two years.
The problem arises when people buy pets they are not prepared to care for.

"People will buy these tiny little snakes and if you do everything right, they're six-feet tall in one year. They lose their appeal, or the owner becomes afraid of it. There's no zoo or attraction that will take it," so they release the snakes into the Everglades.

A reproducing snake can have as many as 100 hatchlings, which explains why the snake population has soared, Wasilewski said.

The Burmese snake problem is just part of a larger issue of nonnative animal populations in South Florida, he said. So many iguanas have been discarded in the region that they are gobbling tropical flowers and causing problems for botanists, Wasilewski said.

A 10- or 20-foot python is also large enough to pose a risk to an unwary human, especially a small child, he added.
"I don't think this is an imminent threat. This is not a 'Be afraid, be very afraid situation.'"
:!: :!: :!:
I found this in the Denver Post at:
http://denverpost.com/nationworld/ci_3089492

I don't know which would be worse this guy or the rattler Haymaker posted...you can keep 'em both--one advantage of being up North!

TTB
 

HAY MAKER

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It has always amazed me what some people will keep as pets,damn big snakes and lizards,big cats all that should be kept out of the publics hands,a few years back we were losing about a calf a month in far south Texas,I would find the remains and a couple times it was obvious a big cat had killed it,as it had leaves, dirt sticks covering it,it eventually stopped and I had chalked it up to part of the cost of running cattle in that part of the country,but I always knew that I was too far east for mountain lions,and it would have taken one helluva bob cat to kill a 300/400 pound calf.
well IM down at the catina one evening and some of the cabaleros are talking about this traveling circus that winters across the river and how they were missing a cat.............I now know what happened to my calves.
good luck
 

the_jersey_lilly_2000

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Haymaker, yer not too far east for mountain lions, we have em here too. Have lost at least one calf I know to one, worst part about that one was that it was less than 30 yards behind my house, was when my kids were smaller, skeered the weeoooohaaa outta me.
 

DOC HARRIS

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HAY MAKER said:
It has always amazed me what some people will keep as pets,damn big snakes and lizards,big cats all that should be kept out of the publics hands,a few years back we were losing about a calf a month in far south Texas,I would find the remains and a couple times it was obvious a big cat had killed it,as it had leaves, dirt sticks covering it,it eventually stopped and I had chalked it up to part of the cost of running cattle in that part of the country,but I always knew that I was too far east for mountain lions,and it would have taken one helluva bob cat to kill a 300/400 pound calf.
well IM down at the catina one evening and some of the cabaleros are talking about this traveling circus that winters across the river and how they were missing a cat.............I now know what happened to my calves.
good luck
HAY MAKER - From personal experience that I have had in the Deep South of Texas (McAllen - we called it "North Mexico") there is another species that is Fa-a-a-a-r more dangerous than Alligators, Pythons, Bob-cats, Catamounts (Mountain Lions) or Armadillos! :shock: :???: That animal is the shifty and cagey "Circus Fairway Barker" or sometimes known as "Hey Rube!" They entice you into their lair and confuse you with their strange mating cry's, which sound similar to an African Cape Buffalo in heat - - something like, "Awritelazngens- - (said rather quickly and growley-loud)- - jussafi dolla 'nyu wina stuff cabbage-patch doll! -(gasp - gasp) No - - you must stay alert to their schemes - and they also have a disgusting, pungent and obnoxious odor - probably acquired from their abhorance to water - almost hydrophobic! Yeh - you gotta' stay away from them critters!

DOC HARRIS
 

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