Leatherman, S.P. and Leatherman, S.B., 0000. Population projections of invasive Burmese pythons in the Florida Everglades.
Burmese pythons were introduced to South Florida through the pet trade; first sightings in Everglades National Park occurred in the 1980s. Pythons are very secretive and naturally camouflaged in the Everglades, which may well be the best environment in the world for propagation of these huge predators. Invasive Burmese pythons disrupt the ecosystem by preying on native species, out-competing native species for food, and have no natural predators after birth for a few years because of their rapid growth rate and huge size. Their horrendous impact on the Everglades ecosystem is finally being realized, but the populace at large in South Florida seems oblivious to the future ramifications of a rapidly multiplying, voracious predator that can reach almost six meters—large enough to swallow deer. A model was developed to project the population of Burmese pythons, assuming an initial population of 30,000 and 300,000 snakes. The results showed exponential population growth with over 600,000 to more than seven million snakes within five years, respectively. The model likely overestimated the population growth rate by not considering the density-dependent negative feedback due to prey limitations. The highly successful invasion of this secretive alien species was not fully recognized early enough, so that now eradication is not possible, and control is problematic.