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burmese pyhons, florida & rednecks (my people)

  [vote for,

Watching a nature show last week learned that the Burmese Python is exploding in Florida. 100,000 and growing fast was the quoted estimate. They found a dead one with a 6 foot alligator inside. The announcer said 'therefore could eat a child". Hello! I'm not six foot and I'm not an alligator. I'm guessing I'd be soft and chewy on the outside, nice and crunchy on the inside to that snake. If the situation can be corrected it can only be corrected with a coordinated public response. The problem is our public response coordination capabilities are horribly broken (see Katrina, banks to big to fail, affordable healthcare). There is a huge gap in leadership particularly where creative thought is required. Creative solutions require creative thinking and I'm thinking our public policy folks could use a hand. So here's the challenge; what public policies fix that problem?

Here are some thoughts: 1 - snake leather fashion subsidies 2 - Gordon Ramsey sponsored python bar-b-que competition; large cash prize to winners 3 - insert poison capsules into 1,000,000 released rabbits (might help with the coyotes and REALLY piss off the PITA people) 4 - snake cannery, sell them to the Chinese (do our part to level the balance of trade) 4 - or just offer rednecks $100 a head. Ain't like we haven't pissed away $10m on more ridiculous ideas lately (oh wait, that won't work. Have to give that money to Bechtel)

5 - ? ? ?

Plain-ol-Ed, Jun 24 2012

A few more ideas and some in depth discussion http://roomfordebat...nd-regulating-them/
[ytk, Jun 25 2012]

Biodiversity? Whatever. http://www.globalis...important-who-cares
Just for you, [21Q] [ytk, Jun 25 2012]

Thought 2 http://www.sacbee.c...aise-awareness.html
Pretty much covered. [MechE, Jun 26 2012]


       Let me be the first to welcome you to the Halfbakery!   

       Let me also be the first to say, “Huh?”   

       Well, you should fit right in here, anyway.
ytk, Jun 24 2012

       I'm surprised there isn't already a bounty for pythons in Florida, considering how well such programs have worked in other places. Maine was once home to indiginous Timber Rattlers, but is no more, thanks to a bounty instituted sometime in the mid-1800s. The bounty is actually still available, BION; anyone who brings a Timber Rattler head to the IF&W offices in Augusta will walk out with a cool $2.00 in their pocket.   

       Welcome to the asylum, [Ed].
Alterother, Jun 24 2012

       'cording to WP, they can grow upwards of 200lbs. I imagine there's already > $600 worth of saleable meat and skin on one without bothering with a head price.
FlyingToaster, Jun 24 2012

       I'm thinking a snake would produce less meat per live weight than a cow (a higher percentage of guts to body), but let's say they're roughly the same. You get about one third of the weight of a cow out in useable meat. So that 200lb snake (which would be on the large side, and probably tough) is going to give you maybe 66 lbs of meat. Given that snake is reported to be a rather less than choice meat, I suspect you're not looking at anywhere near $600.   

       Edit to Add: Assuming its not sold as an exotic. I found a place selling rattlesnake for $60/lb, so maybe it would work.
MechE, Jun 24 2012

       Well, I figger put it at $4/lb, sold as "snake". Gotta be a good 3-4 pair of boots or a couple duffel bags worth of skin as well.
FlyingToaster, Jun 25 2012

       Rattlesnake is delicious, but I wouldn't pay $60/lb for it.
Alterother, Jun 25 2012

       [21], go wiki 'invasive species' if you want to know just how blatantly ignorant that anno was.
Alterother, Jun 25 2012

       Elect them to Congress. (Then they can replace those other reptiles as an "evasive species")
lurch, Jun 25 2012

       You're still being a bit obtuse. Whay I meant was that the python is an invasive species in Florida, and _all_ invasive species, no matter what they are, spell potential devastation to the ecosystem they've invaded. The Everglades are fragile enough as it is; encouraging the pythons to proliferate there rather than trying to get rid of them will destroy the place forever. The pythons, against which none of the local fauna have evolved any defense, will eat virtually every other creature until there aren't any others left.
Alterother, Jun 25 2012

       Python V Gator battles. The loser becomes a handbag. (Hehe Gladigator).
marklar, Jun 25 2012

       Fuck Greenpeace, virtually everything they say is exaggeration to the point of mistruth. I've been to the 'Glades myself; they're hanging by a thread. Anyone can see it. And yes, ecosystems adapt, but that's not always a good thing. If our predecssors hadn't driven the wolves out of the US, allowing deer populations to explode, we might not be dealing with a near-epidemic of equine encephalitis, which can spread to humans, BTW. Just an example.
Alterother, Jun 25 2012

       //The local ecosystem will adapt, like it almost always does.//   

       Except, of course, for when it doesn't. Oftentimes “adapt” means the invasive species becomes the new dominant species of the ecosystem, destroying much of the native life in the process. See, e.g. zebra mussels and kudzu.
ytk, Jun 25 2012

       Except when the old includes two edible (and yummy) species, a gorgeous flower, and a cure for cancer, and the new clogs up drains, carries malaria, and strongly resembles rotting meat in both appearance and odor. Invasive species, by virtue of being outside the existing stable ecosystem, frequently outcompete to the point of reducing species diversity. And, as a rule, diversity is a good thing.
MechE, Jun 25 2012

       So I trust that when you get sick you don't go to the doctor or take any medecine, because that's just nature's way of making sure you're still strong enough to be allowed to live.   

       Anyway, your argument is completely baseless, because the introduction of invasive species is a result of human action, either deliberate or accidental. So it's not really a natural process. And if you want to claim that humans, being “natural”, are simply one agent of natural change, then you have to accept that it's no less justifiable in terms of natural processes to attempt to preserve existing ecosystems as it is to change or destroy them.
ytk, Jun 25 2012

       Culling by various means is not really original.
rcarty, Jun 25 2012

       //I haven't heard ANY argument that the Burmese python, which again, this post is about, has been actually causing ANY problems.//   

       Must've missed the link I posted. Incidentally, I wasn't deliberately searching for information on Burmese Pythons or Florida when I found that; it was the sixth link for a Google search for "species killed by invasive species".
ytk, Jun 25 2012

       // pest animals they eat: mice, rats, opossums (I despise opossums), cats, venomous snakes that ARE known for harming humans, etc. //   

       Large Burmese Pythons can and do indeed consume cats.   

       Leave the pythons alone, they're doing a great job there !   

       #include <EOSSACR.H>   

       We are curious as to you criteria for discriminating between "pest animals" and "tourists from North of the Manson-Nixon Line".
8th of 7, Jun 25 2012

       // I'm still not seeing the problem... //   

       Many don't. That's part of the problem.
Alterother, Jun 25 2012

       [21Q], see link.
ytk, Jun 25 2012

       I think the main argument against man-assisted diffusion of species is that they tend to reduce diversity, in two ways.   

       First, it's clear that if you spread all species around willy nilly, you'll tend to wind up with similar fauna in similar environments. In the absence of such spread, similar environments on two different continents will have different species, which is at least more interesting. This homogenization of remote ecosystems is sometimes known as "MacDiversity".   

       Second, the "homogenized" ecology (in addition to being the same in all similar environments) also winds up poorer than any one of the original environments were. This is thought to happen because lots of new species meet suddenly, rather than co-evolving around eachother. The result is a short and bloody battle.   

       In other words (and to take a very simplistic view), you start with species A-M in one place, and species N- Z in another. What you end up with is just species A, J and Q everywhere.   

       As an example, there used to be cats in some places, and gazillions of diverse species of small rodents endemic on most small islands. There are now cats everywhere and a bunch of extinct small rodents. I marginally prefer cats to any single species of rodent; but cats are the same everywhere.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 25 2012

       Oh wait - now I have to read the damn post?
MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 25 2012

       // whatever real-life reasons there may be //   

       Do you actually read other people's annos and links? I've counted about seven valid reasons to cull invasive species in the annos alone. Furthermore, I find it hard to believe that you, of all people, are opposed to going out and shooting things!
Alterother, Jun 25 2012

       We should give Bono a call, that sort of thing is right up his alley. We could call it 'Gator-Aid'... oh, wait, that's taken...
Alterother, Jun 25 2012

       Can we take them by hand, with ropes and swords? I mean, the archery guys get the early season, and only then do the gas powered weed whacker guys get a turn.
normzone, Jun 25 2012

       Except that there are plenty of snake species native to the everglades, that the pythons are competing with.   

       Another problem with non-native species is that they aren't necessarily fit for a given niche in the long run. That is they might out-compete for long enough to kill off the native species, and then die off because the conditions aren't suitable in the long run (a winter on the harsh side of average for instance).
MechE, Jun 25 2012

       Not to mention that as they kill off many or all of the native fauna, the numerous diverse species of native flora that are in various ways dependent on said fauna will die out as well. Then you're pretty much just left with a bunch of hungry pythons, any species of birds that are too quick or clever for the pythons, a few stands of sycamore, and an awful lot of mud. Attractive prospect, isn't it?
Alterother, Jun 25 2012

       and a few 10's of millions of crunchy, bbq sauce slathered homo sapiens floridensis.
FlyingToaster, Jun 25 2012

Alterother, Jun 25 2012

       [21] - I'm going to assume you're trolling and don't actually think that whether you like or don't like and animal should in any way affect whether you'd act to prevent it's extinction.   

       I'm a long way from being a militant greenie or (shudder) PETA supporter. I hunt (exclusively feral animals, by the way - but that's mostly out of convenience, and lack of suitable macrofauna worth hunting where I am. That said, I can't really eat the ferals I hunt here due to parasites and diseases being rife - so I leave them dead. I'm under no illusions that I'm reducing their population in any significant way - I'm clearly hunting feral animals for sport - but would not do same for native animals), I fish for food and sport, I spearfish for my and others food, I drive a diesel 4wd through the bush and I ride big nasty ATV's all over the place. I think that culling certian native animals that, (due to our impacts on the ecosystem), are in plague proportions, is a *good thing*.   

       To the greenies I meet, I'm the enemy.   

       I hear people compare conservation with preservation, and I have mixed views. I think I take a fairly balanced view, but can appreciate that others would have different views, which are at least as valid as my own.   

       But your arguments that it's okay for an introduced, feral species to munch it's way through the population of certian native animals, simply because you don't like those animals, are totally alien to me. I'm actually angry that you would think this way. There are studies, easily found online, that indicate massive reductions in some native species numbers, that seem to correlate to the burmese python invasion of Florida. Whether or not you will personally miss the now imperrilled animals is entirely beside the point.   

       Sadly, a lot of the time culling has little effect on the numbers of an invasive species, due to their breeding potential. But any attempt should be lauded, not criticised as unnecessary.
Custardguts, Jun 26 2012

       When you introduce a new apex predator, like the Burmese Python, into an ecosystem you introduce the potential for radical change to many levels in the system. Whether the pythons consume prey species that would otherwise support another, different apex predator and reduce the numbers of that predator accordingly; or if the pythons take out a herbivore that keeps dispersed seed levels of some species at suitable / traditional levels, you can never be sure of the consequences.   

       The trouble with introducing a "redneck bounty" is that the rednecks will probably see it as an excuse to take out every species of snake, not just the targeted ones.   

       Snake meat is quite edible, and would be sold as an exotic, probably at very good prices. You'll get about 55% of the live weight of the snake as meat; as opposed to about 49-52% of a beef, lamb or pork animal.
UnaBubba, Jun 26 2012

       //Snake meat is quite edible//   

       Only to a denizen of a largely dry and parched land like Oz. Tried it, wasn't a fan.
RayfordSteele, Jun 26 2012

       It depends how you prepare it. Snake and crocodile are both very good done as you would "Salt & Pepper Squid"... dredged in a cornflour, salt and Szechuan pepper mixture and flash-fried.
UnaBubba, Jun 26 2012

       I wonder if sashimi snake would work.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 26 2012

       I've had smoked rattler that was light and flaky, like good salmon but without the fishy flavor.
Alterother, Jun 26 2012

       Still on the Atkins diet Max?   

       Perhaps you could treat them as one huge sausage.
Loris, Jun 26 2012

       My, some people have long memories. Sadly, others of us have large waistlines. Ah well.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 26 2012

       Python would make a hella Big Sandwich(/hoagie/sub).
FlyingToaster, Jun 26 2012

       //My, some people have long memories.//   

       I wish. My memory is shockingly bad - yet it's capable of holding all manner of useless bits & pieces.
Loris, Jun 26 2012

       Sandwich schmandwich. I'm thinking stuffed python.   

       In fact, if you started with a series of very hungry snakes of progressively larger diameter, it should be possible to contrive a self-assembling nested snake roulade. It would be good to find a very thin species of snake that eats asparagus.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 26 2012

       // until they're locally extinct. //   

       Yes, that's the idea. They haven't started to fit into the local ecology, they've started to eat it. They don't belong there, and they're causing problems. How can this be made clearer?
Alterother, Jun 26 2012

       [21Q], are you really that obtuse or are you just being argumentative for the sake of being argumentative?
UnaBubba, Jun 26 2012

       //species spread into other regions NATURALLY all the time, with or without our help.//   

       That is very true. One of the problems of conservation is to resist the temptation to prevent any change.   

       On the other hand, the rate (and range) of man- made introductions is far greater than the rate of natural migrations. Also, such introductions tend to happen more suddenly, with a viable population of the introduced species being established in a short space of time through the transportation (or accidental release) of many individuals.   

       Perhaps rabbits would have made it to Australia on their own, eventually. Perhaps pythons would have made it to Florida, and perhaps cats would have domesticated themselves and sailed to countless remote islands.   

       Ecosystems will indeed generally adapt to invasions of new species, but they take a while to do so and to regain diversity. If you greatly increase the rate of introductions, you stress the systems a lot, and they are likely if not to collapse, then at least to take a long time to become interesting again. In the meantime, you have lots of impoverished ecosystems which are the same the world over.   

       Still, in the great scheme of things, we can afford to wait a few tens of millions of years until the Florida pythons diverge from the original species sufficiently to become interesting.   

       As for being man-eaters, Florida State Wildlife Response Team reports 17 cases over the last twelve years of people being injured or killed by pythons.   

       (OK, I made that last bit up to annoy [21Q]).
MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 26 2012

       // I marginally prefer cats to any single species of rodent; but cats are the same everywhere. //   

       <pencils in "UNRELIABLE ?" next to [MB]s name in The Big Book>   

       <I heard malaria mentioned? How do you like the bubonic plague? >   

       "Have you ever heard of the bubonic plague, Manuel? It was very popular here at one time...."   

       // The snakes, which eat pest species and don't bother humans at all, simply aren't the appropriate target for our guns, in my humble opinion. //   

       You're referring to rattites here, not the two legged sort that practice law ?   

       // a lot of the time culling has little effect on the numbers of an invasive species, due to their breeding potential. //   

       Yes, those Japanese tourists do seem to have big families ...
8th of 7, Jun 26 2012

       //You're referring to rattites here, not the two legged sort that practice law ? //   

       Ratites (or, if you prefer [although nobody else seems to] "rattites") are all two-legged. Ratites are flightless birds, and hence would feel pretty hard done by without a pair of legs.   

       <slightly off topic> There is, in fact, one ratite which is capable of flight, namely the Kuararo. It lives on several of the larger and more remote pacific islands, and can fly "awkwardly and with much effort". What is completely bizarre about it, though, is that it is descended from a flightless bird and that it has re-acquired flight by evolving its "legs" into "wings", whilst the useless true wings are used for locomotion on the ground.<\sot>
MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 26 2012

       I'm presuming [8th] meant rattus rather than ratite.
MechE, Feb 19 2013

       You just can't leave well enough alone, can you, [Quest]?
Alterother, Feb 19 2013

       Hey [Max], if someone can get a photo of a Kuararo, maybe we ought to get the Wikipedia article on Ratites updated. We might need to find some additional references as well since currently Google returns just one result when searching for Kuararo and Ratite.
scad mientist, Feb 22 2013

       Even more bizarre is the Monkondo, which lays an egg containing a fully formed chick, with its legs prodruding from the shell through two holes. Its first act of life is to instinctively run around in an increasingly widening spiral, until it bumps into the large stone its mother has knowingly placed nearby. This causes the rest of the shell to fracture away, releasing the new born from confinement.
xenzag, Feb 22 2013

       //Hey [Max], if someone can get a photo of a Kuararo, maybe we ought to get the Wikipedia article on Ratites updated.//   

       Is a kuararo similar to an amontillado?
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 24 2013

       I have no idea what a kuararo looks like. You seemed to know something about them back in 2012.
scad mientist, Feb 25 2013

       Oh, _that_ kuararo.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 25 2013


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