he meandering trail in the Everglades marshlands was made by alligators, I’m told, so be careful. There’s also poisonwood, fire ants and the recently added Burmese python.
“It’s really a very harsh place to work,” says Kristen M. Hart, a research ecologist for the U.S. Geological Survey and a close follower of the python, which has invaded the Everglades in startling numbers.
“We don’t know how many there are,” Hart says, “and that’s ultimately the question everyone wants to know.”
She reckons tens of thousands in the Everglades, but allows the number could be higher: “I think there could be more here now than in their native range” of Southeast Asia.
I’m with Hart and other wildlife biologists tracking an 8- foot, 20-pound (2.4 meter, 9-kilo) female python that had been captured and implanted with radio transmitters a few weeks earlier.
There are many reasons why the python thrives in theEverglades, beyond the obvious fact that it eats just about anything, while almost nothing eats it.