Like a boomerang, relocated python comes back again | Science News

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Like a boomerang, relocated python comes back again

Invasive Burmese snakes show homing ability

12:06pm, March 19, 2014

SNAKE MOVES  Burmese pythons turn out to have fine navigation skills — not good news for people trying to control their spread in South Florida. This female had grown to 5.4 meters (17 feet, 7 inches) long and was carrying 87 eggs when she was captured in 2012.

Burmese pythons need no GPS to find their way home. The enormous snakes that have invaded South Florida turn out to be determined and able navigators, with unexpected homing abilities.


Since at least 1995, Python molurus bivittatus snakes have been breeding in Everglades National Park, and for nearly as long, people have worried about how to get rid of them (SN: 2/25/12, p 5). The pythons can grow to be 5.5 meters long and robust enough to tangle with alligators and swallow the occasional adult deer. They also eat many small mammals including the endangered Key Largo woodrat.


In a study of how the pythons wriggle around the landscape, five of six adults that researchers captured and trucked 21 to 36 kilometers away managed to travel back to within five kilometers of their original locations, says Shannon Pittman of Davidson College in

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