Invasive or Not?


By Dylan

Snakes might not be cute fuzzy animals, but they are really interesting ones. South-Eastern America has both native and invasive snake species, like the Hognose and the python. Pythons originated in Southeast Asia, until they came to Florida. Invasive species like the python can be harmful to wildlife. People help snakes that belong somewhere, but not those that are invasive species.

There are a lot of different snakes; they live in different places and some are venomous and others are not venomous. According to the parks department, the eastern Hognose snake can grow up to 4 ft, and it’s “‘famous’ for playing dead when the mood strikes it.” The eastern hognose snake is also known as the zombie snake. It’s called the zombie snake because when it’s being attacked or threatened the snake flips on its back, wiggles, has an odor, and spits. This snake plays dead when it doesn’t want to die, to scare animals, and also for defense purposes.

Unlike the Hognose snake, pythons are invasive species to Florida and they are affecting the wildlife there. Because of this, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation, “pythons can be humanely killed on private lands at any time with landowner permission.” This is helpful for Florida because if the pythons are gone then Florida will become closer to having non-invasive species on their land and in the water. Burmese pythons are common in South Florida, in the Everglades, but “the snake represents a threat to native wildlife,” the Florida Fish and Wildlife argues. The Everglades are a protected area, but pythons are now a threat there. We  need alligators to survive long enough that we can get the pythons out before the alligators are dead. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation states that, the public is allowed to kill pythons in “Public Small Game Hunting Areas and Wildlife and Environmental Areas where pythons are known to exist.” Public citizens in South Florida have been stepping up to save their environment. Pythons are a real threat to the environment in Florida and this is just another good reason why people are getting involved to save where they live.

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One example of a python killing an alligator is the 10ft python that was suffocating the 4ft alligator until the Florida man Mike Kimmel came to help. The Miami Herald states that “In the swamps of the Everglades, under the cover of darkness, the snake began to suffocate the gator by constricting it.” Mike Kimmel is a snake hunter and he helps alligators by removing the pythons from the gators. By removing the snake he is also able to help the alligator, which is helpful since alligators are part of the native wildlife in Florida and pythons are the invaders. Hybrid pythons are a new threat because they can survive in different places more than regular pythons: “New Hybrid pythons discovered in southern Florida could be stronger and more adaptable to their environment than their nonhybrid relatives,” the Miami Herald observed. This is bad for the Everglades because they could overrun the animals that already lived there. People might think that a snake is scary and harmful, but it is really just trying to stay alive by using tactics that we might not like. Still, if they are not in their home environment, they can be a problem.

The snakes that belong somewhere don’t get bagged and killed, on the other hand pythons are getting bagged in South Florida. Hognose snakes are found in North Carolina and are non-venomous. The python is found in Florida, and is an invasive species that originated in Southeast Asia. Even if you are afraid of snakes, you should respect them.


  1. The Miami Herald

  2. Charlotte Observer

  3. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation