Cracking the code of python behavior; a high-tech way scientists - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Cracking the code of python behavior; a high-tech way scientists are fighting Fla.'s python problem


(WBBH/NBC NEWSCHANNEL) Southwest Florida scientists are at the forefront of groundbreaking research as they work to contain the highly invasive Burmese python before the window of opportunity to do so disappears.

The snake has been spotted across Collier County after researchers at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida began studying the problem three years ago. They are following the snake and learning its behavior -- essentially cracking a code that will lead to developing a one-of-a-kind management plan to control rapid population growth.

So how do you do that? The best way to find a python is to use a python.

"They're called snitch snakes," said Ian Bartoszek, a biologist at the Conservancy. "They wear a wire and then rat on their friends."

Researchers attach radio-tracking devices to snakes, then listen to the pinging noise it transmits as they fly over land with planes and walk through the wetland.

The strategy has proved successful. Researchers have located dozens of pythons and hundreds of eggs.

"We are never going to get rid of the pythons in Southwest Florida," said Moher. "But, we believe that containment is a realistic strategy."

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