Invasive species are a problem world wide and several American states, including Florida and Texas, are especially hard hit. Anacondas are invading the U.S. At least one species is already established in Florida and a second may be developing a breeding population.
If anacondas are invading the U.S. it may make Florida’s snake problems worse and giant Burmese pythons are already wreaking havoc on native fauna.
We featured a piece recently about a number of invasive species that could be making inroads in our country. Anacondas may be moving up that lists, according to BestLife. The website identified the new threat as the green anaconda (Eunectes murinus). The news is bad. These South American snakes may be the largest in the world. They can reach 25 feet in length, about 10 feet longer than the pythons (Python molurus bivittatus). There is evidence of a breeding population near the city of Fort Myers in Florida. Conservation agencies including The Nature Conservancy are joining with state and local government, federal agencies, hunters and property owners to try and mitigate the effects of the invasive creatures.
Pythons have eaten up to 95 percent of the mammals in some areas, authorities estimate. Both anacondas and pythons eat snakes so they may soon be reducing each others populations. Alligators are capable of eating both snakes, but the size of the anaconda makes it a threat to them too. Florida has an estimated 1.3 million alligators.
The other anaconda in Florida is the yellow anaconda (Eunectes notaeus). It is very large but smaller than its green cousin. One very important difference between the anacondas and the pythons is fertility. Anacondas produce about 40 eggs twice a year. Pythons lay several times that number.
The United States Geological Survey (USGS) is studying python interaction with other animals. USGS said the impact of native wildlife on juvenile pythons is not fully understood. They did say that some “bite-back” appears to be occurring. Water moccasins (Agistrodon piscivorus) eat them. So do alligators. One surprising result occurred when a juvenile python attacked an animal bigger than itself and lost.
Florida is using any technique it can think of to control the invasion. The “Python Challenge” is now an annual event. Use of male pythons with GPS collars is also used to prevent egg laying. The male leads trappers to the female. Pythons and anacondas are not the only possible invaders as a list of seven dangerous invaders has been compiled.