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FWC aiming to remove Northern African pythons in south Florida

News Release

Thursday, September 06, 2018

Media contact: Carli Segelson, 772-215-9459

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is asking for the public’s help with continuing efforts to locate and remove nonnative Northern African pythons in south Florida.

The Northern African python (also called an African rock or rock python) has been documented living in the Bird Drive Recharge Area, which covers approximately 6 square miles in western Miami-Dade County. Unlike Burmese pythons, the Northern African python population is thought to be confined to a small area in a single county.

“Recently, the FWC received a report of a large Northern African python found and killed in a vacant lot on the corner of SW 144th Ave. and 26th St./Coral Way near Kendall West in early July,” said Sarah Funck, nonnative fish and wildlife program coordinator for the FWC. “We are asking residents and visitors in this area to report sightings of these large constrictors as soon as they see them. The more reports we receive, the more likely we will be successful in removing these nonnative snakes from the wild.”

In Florida, the average size of a Northern African python is 10 feet in length, posing a threat to human safety and native wildlife. They can grow up to 20 feet in length in their native range.

How to help

The FWC listed the Northern and Southern African pythons as conditional species in 2010, with the result that an individual may no longer legally acquire these species in the state for personal pets.

While Northern African pythons are very similar in appearance to Burmese pythons, the skin pattern on their backs is less defined. Additionally, the belly scales of a Northern African python are a pattern of black and white markings, while those of the Burmese python are white.

To learn more about the Northern African python, go to MyFWC.com/Nonnatives then select “Reptiles” and look under “Snakes.”

Learn more about the FWC’s efforts to manage and minimize the impacts of nonnative species on Florida’s fish, wildlife and marine life at MyFWC.com/Nonnatives.

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