Watch the CBSN Originals documentary, “Burmese Python Invasion: Fighting Invasive Species,” in the video player above. It’s been 26 years since Hurricane Andrew became the costliest storm in Florida’s history, but today residents of the Sunshine State are still paying the price in a way few would have imagined. Captive Burmese pythons let loose by Andrew’s destruction have flourished in the southern Florida ecosystem, decimating local species in the process. And now there are signs this stubbornly invasive species may be poised to make its way beyond the state’s borders. Florida’s current python problem had its genesis about a decade before Andrew hit. Pet owners and exotic animals exhibitors in the U.S. had started importing the Southeast Asian Burmese python — among the top 5 largest snake species — for their size and novelty in this part of the world. However, caring for what can grow to be a 15- to 20-foot-long, 200-pound predator can become overwhelming and dangerous. Floridians who found themselves incapable of caring for their pythons relieved themselves of that burden by releasing the snakes into Florida’s Everglades, the largest wilderness area in the eastern U.S. At 734 square miles, Everglades National Park is almost two-thirds the… Read full this story
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