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Smartphone App Tracks Burmese Pythons

A Burmese python hatchling at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida earlier this month.
Conservancy of Southwest Florida
A Burmese python hatchling at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida earlier this month.

An environmental advocacy group has a message for locals about the Burmese python. These non-native, invasive snakes are changing the ecosystem within the everglades. And the Conservancy of Southwest Floridasays if you encounter one, do not kill it.  They’re asking you to report it through an app on your smartphone.

IanBartoszekis a biologist for the Conservancy. He’s been tracking Burmese pythons on state conservation lands for more than two years.Bartoszekeithereuthanizesthe ones he finds, or uses them to locate more. But he said if residents attemptto kill these snakes, they could actually do more harm than good.

"We've had a few people bring in dead snakes to the Conservancy, mistaking them for Burmese pythons when usually they were Corn snakes, or Red Rat snakes, or juvenile Black Racer snakes, which are native and provide tremendous ecological service to our ecosystem," said Bartoszek. 

That’s where the app comes in. If Floridians come across these snakes, Bartoszek recommends reporting it on the “I’ve Got 1” app for smartphones. State wildlife officials and environmental groups review the findings. 

Copyright 2020 WGCU. To see more, visit WGCU.

My main role for WUSF is to report on climate change and the environment, while taking part in NPR’s High-Impact Climate Change Team. I’m also a participant of the Florida Climate Change Reporting Network.