Passport
Full Episode
Invasion of the Giant Pythons

Florida’s Everglades National Park is one of the last great wildlife refuges in the U.S., home to numerous endangered animals and plants, as well as alligators. But the park has become a dumping ground for a variety of non-native species, including what may be tens of thousands of Burmese pythons. Some were intentionally released by pet owners, others were set free when hurricanes hit Florida’s animal warehouses. Pythons have moved into their new home with a vengeance, thriving in the protected wilderness and disrupting its delicate ecosystem. Follow scientists and snake hunters as they study the problem and try to find solutions to the growing crisis.

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FLORIDA -- A HOTSPOT FOR TOURISTS... AND EXOTIC PETS.

A BURMESE PYTHON.

THESE FOREIGN SNAKES ARE NOW LIVING WILD HERE.

THE MASSIVE SERPENTS ARE INVADING SOUTHERN FLORIDA.

THEY CAN GROW 26 FEET LONG AND BE AS THICK AS A TELEPHONE POLE.

THESE PREDATORS ARE POWERFUL ENOUGH TO KILL PEOPLE.

WE'RE GOING TO FOLLOW HUNTERS AS THEY TRACK THEM DOWN.

FIND OUT WHAT THEY EAT.

MEET SCIENTISTS INVESTIGATING THE SNAKES INSIDE AND OUT.

CATCH GIANTS DEEP IN THE WILDERNESS.

DISCOVER OTHER EXOTIC INVADERS.. AND ANALYZE A STRIKE.

AS RECENTLY AS THE 1990s, THERE WERE HARDLY ANY WILD PYTHONS IN FLORIDA.

NOW THERE ARE THOUSANDS, PERHAPS TENS OF THOUSANDS.

SO HOW DID THIS INVASION START?

IT REALLY IS A CASE OF SNAKES ON A PLANE.

12,000 SHIPMENTS OF WILDLIFE ARRIVE EVERY YEAR THROUGH MIAMI.

INCLUDING, IN THE LAST FOUR YEARS ALONE, OVER A 140,000 WILD-CAUGHT PYTHONS.

THERE ARE OTHER EXOTIC ANIMALS, TOO -- THESE ARE GREEN IGUANAS.

BABY BURMESE ARE JUST 20 INCHES LONG, BUT KEPT WARM AND WELL-FED, THEY GROW AND GROW.

IN JUST A YEAR, A PYTHON CAN DOUBLE IN SIZE AND SWALLOW FROZEN RATS WHOLE.

SOON, LARGE RABBITS ARE ON THE MENU.

THE LARGEST CAPTIVE PYTHONS -- THIS IS A RETICULATED PYTHON -- REALLY GO WHOLE HOG.

THEY CAN GOBBLE UP A PIG WITH EASE.

MANY OWNERS ARE ASTOUNDED TO FIND THAT AT JUST 2 YEARS OLD, THEIR PET PYTHON MAY BE 11 TO 12 FEET LONG AND WEIGH ALMOST 200 POUNDS.

SUDDENLY, THEY HAVE TOO MUCH SNAKE ON THEIR HANDS.

THE RESULT IS THAT MANY UNWANTED PETS HAVE BEEN IRRESPONSIBLY RELEASED INTO THE WILD.

BUT THE MAIN PYTHON INVASION FORCE WAS UNLEASHED BY STORMS.

OVER THE YEARS, SOME OF FLORIDA'S ANIMAL WAREHOUSES HAVE BEEN HIT BY HURRICANES.

SNAKES ESCAPED AND SLITHERED FREE.

THE INVADERS OCCUPIED GROUND NEAR MIAMI.

WITH PLENTY OF FOOD AND HIDING PLACES, THE HABITAT IS SIMILAR TO THEIR ORIGINAL ASIAN HOME.

IT WASN'T LONG BEFORE THE SNAKES PUSHED DEEPER INTO THE INTERIOR OF THE STATE.

SOUTHERN FLORIDA'S THOUSANDS OF MILES OF WATERWAYS PROVIDE A FREEWAY FOR PYTHONS TO TRAVEL.

SNAKES SWIM GRACEFULLY IN ELEGANT CURVES, PUSHING AGAINST THE RESISTANCE OF THE WATER TO MOVE FORWARD.

THE PYTHONS HAVE ENDURANCE, TOO -- THEY CAN SWIM AT LEAST SIX MILES WITHOUT STOPPING.

PYTHONS USUALLY SWIM AT THE SURFACE, BUT IF THEY SENSE DANGER, THEY CAN HOLD THEIR BREATH FOR UP TO HALF AN HOUR.

OCCASIONALLY, THEY AMBUSH PREY FROM THE WATER, BUT DRIER AREAS ARE GOOD HUNTING GROUNDS, TOO.

THIS IS A NOW-DEFUNCT ROCKET TESTING SITE JUST 20 MILES FROM MIAMI.

IT'S PRIME PYTHON HABITAT.

HERPETOLOGIST SHAWN HEFLICK HAS A PERMIT TO HUNT DOWN PYTHONS.

HE'S HOLDING THE RED BALLOONS BECAUSE THEY MAKE PERFECT TARGETS FOR A STRIKING SNAKE.

Heflick: BURMESE PYTHONS -- DOCILE IN CAPTIVITY BUT A WHOLE DIFFERENT BALLGAME IN THE WILD.

HO HO!

Abraham: NOW, THE ACTION IS SLOWED DOWN OVER 200 TIMES.

AT THIS SPEED, A STRIKE IS AWE-INSPIRING.

PYTHONS HAVE HEAT-SENSING PITS ON THEIR FACES... SO THEY EASILY LOCK ONTO A BALLOON FILLED WITH WARM WATER.

Heflick: GOT TO PICK UP MY TRASH, OH! THEN, I'VE GOT TO GET THIS GUY.

THIS IS A LITTLE MALE. MALES HAVE LARGER SPURS, AND THEY UTILIZE THESE TO TICKLE THE FEMALE DURING BREEDING.

WHAT I'VE GOT TO DO IS GET THIS GUY BAGGED, HE DOESN'T BELONG HERE.

LET'S GO SEE IF WE CAN FIND SOME MORE.

Abraham: SHAWN'S CHANCES ARE GOOD.

PYTHONS CAN BE THICK ON THE GROUND HERE.

Heflick: WONDERFUL ANIMAL.

LOOKS LIKE A MALE.

WHOA! THAT'S WHAT THEY DO, THEY ARE A FAST-STRIKING PREDATOR.

GOT TO GET HIM RIGHT BEHIND THE HEAD.

OH! LOOK AT THAT MOUTH, FULL OF TEETH, BUT YOU CAN'T SEE 'EM BECAUSE THEY'RE COVERED BY GUMS -- NOT LIKE A VENOMOUS SNAKE.

BUT I'VE GOT A SKULL IN MY POCKET OF A BURMESE PYTHON.

AND YOU CAN SEE FOUR ROWS ON THE TOP.

THEN THERE ARE ANOTHER TWO ROWS ON THE BOTTOM, THE RECURVED TEETH, ABOUT A HUNDRED OR SO.

THEY USE IT TO SECURE THEIR PREY, LATCH ON, THEY THROW A COIL AROUND IT, AND THEN THEY SUFFOCATE IT.

AND ALSO, IF YOU LOOK CLOSELY, YOU CAN SEE TWO PITS THAT ARE HEAT-SENSING, AND THAT'S HOW THEY FIND THEIR WARM-BLOODED PREY AND THAT'S HOW THE OTHER ONE DETECTED THE WARMTH OF THE WATER IN THAT BALLOON.

THIS GUY IS TRULY A MAGNIFICENT ANIMAL.

ALL RIGHT, IN YOU GO, INTO A NEW HOME.

GREAT ANIMAL.

Abraham: SHAWN'S PAIR OF SNAKES WILL HARDLY DENT THE PYTHON ARMY.

NEARBY, IN THE SHALLOW WATERS OF EVERGLADES NATIONAL PARK, TENS OF THOUSANDS OF BURMESE PYTHONS THRIVE.

THE WATER SLIDES SLOWLY THROUGH GREAT SWATHS OF SAW GRASS.

WHERE THERE'S HIGHER GROUND, FORESTS OF SLASH PINES AND OTHER TREES GROW.

WATER FLOWS TOWARD THE SEA AT A QUARTER OF A MILE A DAY.

CYPRESS TREES THRIVE IN THE SHALLOWS AND CAN TOWER 120 FEET INTO THE SKY.

AT FLORIDA BAY, THE RIVER SPILLS INTO THE OCEAN AND MANGROVES FLOURISH.

THIS WILDERNESS IS FAMOUS WORLD-WIDE FOR ITS WATERBIRDS... AND OTHER FABULOUS WILDLIFE.

IN THEIR ASIAN HOMELAND, PYTHONS EAT WATERBIRDS.

COULD THIS CORMORANT IN THE EVERGLADES BECOME PREY TO A PYTHON?

PERHAPS ANHINGAS ARE ON THE MENU TOO.

THEY'RE A COMMON SIGHT HERE.

UNLIKE DUCKS, THEY DON'T HAVE WATERPROOF FEATHERS.

WET PLUMAGE MAKES IT EASIER FOR THEM TO GET UNDERWATER FAST.

THEY'RE ALSO CALLED SNAKE BIRDS, AND YOU CAN SEE WHY WHEN THEY SURFACE.

THEY DON'T SEIZE THEIR PREY WITH THEIR BEAKS, THESE BIRDS ARE SPEAR FISHERS.

THE UNFORTUNATE FISH HAS BEEN IMPALED ON A RAZOR-SHARP BILL.

IT TAKES A BIT OF FANCY BEAK-WORK TO FREE THE FISH.

THERE ARE RESIDENT REPTILES HERE, TOO.

COULD PYTHONS HAVE AN IMPACT ON THEM?

THE LARGEST NATIVE SNAKE IN THE U.S. IS THIS ONE.

THE EASTERN INDIGO SNAKE.

THEY'RE AN ENDANGERED SPECIES.

THEIR FAVORITE HABITAT IS LONG LEAF PINE.

95% OF THAT HAS BEEN CLEARED BY PEOPLE.

AT FIRST GLANCE, THEY LOOK JET-BLACK, BUT IN THE SUN THEY SPARKLE LIKE JEWELS.

MICROSCOPIC RIDGES ON THE SNAKE'S SKIN REFLECT AND SPLIT LIGHT INTO DIFFERENT WAVELENGTHS.

IT'S A NON-VENOMOUS SPECIES.

THE BIGGEST ONE EVER CAUGHT WAS 8 1/2 FEET.

THE INDIGO MAY HAVE ONCE BEEN THE BIGGEST SNAKE IN AMERICA, BUT IT'S DWARFED BY THE BURMESE PYTHON.

A LARGE INDIGO SNAKE MIGHT TIP THE SCALES AT 13 POUNDS.

AN ADULT BURMESE CAN BE 15 TIMES HEAVIER.

THE INVADER CERTAINLY PUTS THE INDIGO IN THE SHADE.

PYTHONS COULD POSE A THREAT TO NATIVE SNAKES BY COMPETING FOR FOOD AND OCCUPYING THE BEST LAIRS.

THE EVERGLADES ARE FAMOUS FOR REPTILIAN PREDATORS OF THEIR OWN... ALLIGATORS.

CAN THE PYTHON MUSCLE IN ON EVEN THESE GIANTS?

TO ATTRACT MATES AND DETER RIVALS, MALES GENERATE SUCH LOW, LOUD ROARS, THE WATER AROUND THEM DANCES.

ALLIGATORS WERE ONCE THE UNDISPUTED REPTILE KINGS OF THE EVERGLADES.

BUT WHEN PUSH COMES TO SHOVE, WHO WOULD WIN A BATTLE NOW?

ALLIGATOR... OR PYTHON?

IT ALL DEPENDS ON WHICH ONE IS BIGGER.

A LARGE GATOR CAN BITE DOWN WITH OVER 2,000 POUNDS OF FORCE.

A WELL-AIMED BITE ON A PYTHON'S HEAD KILLS IT ALMOST INSTANTLY.

BUT THE ALLIGATOR HAS BITTEN OFF MORE THAN IT CAN CHEW.

THE SNAKE IS TOO LARGE TO SWALLOW.

STASHING THE SERPENT UNDERWATER WILL ALLOW THE GATOR TO RETURN TO BITE OFF CHUNKS, ONCE THE FLESH HAS ROTTED.

BIG GATORS CERTAINLY KILL PYTHONS BUT THE TABLES CAN BE TURNED.

PYTHONS BEGIN WITH A LIGHTNING-FAST STRIKE.

THIS ONE GRABBED A GATOR WITH ITS RAZOR-SHARP TEETH.

LACKING VENOM, IT HAD TO USE MUSCLE-POWER TO KILL ITS VICTIM.

NEW RESEARCH HAS SHOWN THAT AS A SNAKE'S COILS TIGHTEN, THEY CAUSE A SHARP RISE IN THE PREY'S BLOOD PRESSURE.

SO, THE ALLIGATOR IS AS LIKELY TO HAVE DIED FROM BURST BLOOD VESSELS AS FROM SUFFOCATION.

SNAKE SKIN IS SO FLEXIBLE, IT CAN BE STRETCHED AROUND THE LARGEST OF MEALS WITHOUT TEARING, EVEN A TOUGH, ARMORED ALLIGATOR.

IN A MATTER OF DAYS, POWERFUL STOMACH ACID WILL COMPLETELY DISSOLVE THE MEAL.

THIS IS AN INCREDIBLE FEAT -- THE PYTHON HAS SWALLOWED AN ALLIGATOR HALF AS LARGE AS ITSELF.

BUT SOMETHING JUST AS REMARKABLE IS ABOUT TO HAPPEN INSIDE THE SNAKE.

HOW DOES IT COPE WITH THIS MASSIVE MEAL?

TO LEARN HOW THAT HAPPENS AND MORE ABOUT SNAKE PHYSIOLOGY, SCIENTISTS EMPLOY SOME HIGH-TECH PROCEDURES.

IN CAPTIVITY, RATS, NOT ALLIGATORS, ARE ON THE MENU.

Man: ALL RIGHT, HE'S GOT IT NOW.

Abraham: STEPHEN SECOR IS A PROFESSOR AND TEAM LEADER AT THE UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA.

HE WANTS TO UNDERSTAND HOW SNAKES CAN STOMACH THEIR PREY.

Secor: WHAT AN AMAZING ANIMAL THE PYTHON IS.

CONSIDER -- HERE'S AN ANIMAL THAT CAN GO A MONTH, EVEN A YEAR WITHOUT EATING, AND THEN ABLE TO CAPTURE, INGEST AND DIGEST A MEAL THAT'S EQUAL TO HALF ITS OWN BODY SIZE.

Abraham: AN X-RAY WILL PROBE THE SNAKE'S SECRETS.

Secor: ALL RIGHT, LET'S GET HIM STRETCHED OUT.

OKAY, GET HIM IN THE CENTER.

RELAXED.

OKAY, YOU READY?

Secor: GOOD, YEP.

YESTERDAY, THIS SNAKE ATE A MASSIVE MEAL.

THE RAT IT CONSUMED WEIGHED MORE THAN A THIRD OF THE SNAKE'S OWN BODY MASS.

WE'RE NOW X-RAYING THE SNAKE SO THAT WE CAN TRACK THE BREAKDOWN OF THE PREY, THE RAT, WITHIN THE SNAKE'S STOMACH.

Man: RELAX A LITTLE BIT.

Secor: ARE YOU READY?

Man: ALL RIGHT, OOPS WAIT -- OKAY, GO... Secor: OKAY? Man: YEP -- GOT IT.

Secor: GREAT.

WHAT WE SEE HERE IS THE RAT INSIDE THE PYTHON'S STOMACH THAT WE JUST X-RAYED.

WE HAVE THE FULL RAT SKULL -- THE UPPER JAW, LOWER JAW, AND ALL THE BONES ARE STILL INTACT.

SO THIS IS THE SNAKE'S STOMACH, IT ONLY ENCOMPASSES THIS PART OF THE RAT.

SO THIS PART GETS BROKEN DOWN FIRST, AND THE REST OF THE RAT, WHICH RIGHT NOW IS IN THE ESOPHAGUS, WILL THEN MOVE FORWARD AND MOVE INTO THE STOMACH AND THEN BE BROKEN DOWN BY THE HYDROCHLORIC ACID AND THE ENZYME PEPSIN.

WITHIN SIX DAYS, WHAT'S GOING TO BE AMAZING IS THIS RAT WILL BE COMPLETELY GONE.

THIS IS AN X-RAY OF AN ALLIGATOR CONSUMED BY A PYTHON.

NOW WE KNOW IN THE EVERGLADES THAT PYTHONS ARE EATING ALLIGATORS AND THEY CAN DO SO QUITE EFFICIENTLY.

WITHIN ONE DAY, WE START SEEING A LITTLE BIT OF BREAKDOWN OCCURRING IN THE SNOUT OF THE ALLIGATOR.

BY TWO DAYS, HALF THE SKULL IS MISSING, PARTS OF THE FORELIMB HAVE ALREADY BEEN BROKEN DOWN.

AT THREE DAYS, ONLY A SMALL PART OF THE SKULL IS REMAINING.

AT FOUR DAYS AFTER FEEDING, PRETTY MUCH ALL WE HAVE IS PARTS OF THE HIND-LIMBS AND A LITTLE BIT OF THE ALLIGATOR'S TAIL.

BY FIVE DAYS JUST A SCATTERING OF SMALL BONES.

AND AT SIX DAYS IT'S ALL GONE, EVERYTHING HAS BEEN BROKEN DOWN AND PASSED INTO THE SMALL INTESTINE.

THESE SNAKES HAVE A TREMENDOUS CAPACITY TO BREAK DOWN ANY PREY ITEM WITHIN THEIR STOMACH.

THEY ARE EXTREMELY EFFICIENT HUNTERS AND DIGESTERS.

IN OUR STUDIES ON THE DIGESTIVE EFFICIENCY OF PYTHONS, WE'VE ESTIMATED THAT AN ADULT PYTHON, ABOUT 12 FEET LONG IN THE EVERGLADES, WOULD HAVE CONSUMED 70 DEER MICE, 30 COTTON RATS, 15 SQUIRRELS, A DOZEN RABBITS AND SEVERAL RACCOONS.

Abraham: IT TAKES A LOT OF FOOD TO GROW A 12-FOOT PYTHON.

NATIVE ANIMALS COULD BE UNDER THREAT, INCLUDING THE 36 SPECIES THAT ARE FEDERALLY PROTECTED IN THE NATIONAL PARK.

WOOD STORKS ARE ONE OF THEM.

THEY HAVE A WINGSPAN OF UP TO 6 FEET, MORE THAN THE HEIGHT OF AN AVERAGE MAN.

FEWER THAN 10,000 PAIRS REMAIN.

THE STORKS HAVE BEEN MAKING A COMEBACK LATELY, BUT WITH BURMESE PYTHONS IN THEIR BACKYARD, THE RECOVERY COULD STALL.

YOUNGER, LIGHTWEIGHT PYTHONS ARE EXPERT CLIMBERS.

CHICKS COULD BE SEIZED AND SWALLOWED BY THEM.

A SINGLE SNAKE COULDN'T DEVASTATE A WHOLE COLONY BUT ITS PRESENCE IS WORRISOME.

TO DISCOVER WHETHER PYTHONS POSE A REAL THREAT, SCIENTISTS NEED INGENIOUS SURVEILLANCE TECHNIQUES.

OKAY, YOU WANT TO GO RIGHT OVER IT?

Abraham: THE PYTHON SCIENCE SUPPORT TEAM IS TRACKING WILD SNAKES IN THE NATIONAL PARK.

SOMEWHERE BELOW, THERE'S A SNAKE CARRYING A LOCATOR DEVICE.

MIKE ROCHFORD IS A PYTHON RESEARCHER.

I'VE GOT THE GPS POINT HERE OF THE LAST TIME WE SAW THE SNAKE, AND WE'RE CIRCLING AROUND AND WE'RE GOING TO TRY AND LISTEN FOR THE SIGNAL.

AND ONCE WE START TO HEAR A SIGNAL, WE'RE GOING TO DROP DOWN AND TRY AND PINPOINT THE LOCATION.

Abraham: IT'S A MONUMENTAL TASK.

THE NATIONAL PARK COVERS A VAST 2,500 SQUARE MILES.

Rochford: OKAY, I HEARD THAT SNAKE PRETTY LOUD RIGHT THERE, SO WHAT I DID IS I WENT AHEAD AND TOOK A WAY-POINT, AND THAT WAY WE'VE GOT THE EXACT COORDINATES.

Abraham: THEY'VE ACQUIRED THEIR TARGET.

NOW IT'S TIME TO DROP IN ON THE PYTHON.

IF THEY'RE LUCKY, THEY'LL FIND MORE THAN ONE.

REMARKABLY, THE RESEARCHERS HAVE DISCOVERED THAT TAGGED FEMALE SNAKES CAN LEAD THEM TO OTHER PYTHONS.

THEY'RE HOPING THE ONE THEY'RE TRAILING TODAY WILL BECOME AN INFORMER AND DELIVER OTHER SNAKES INTO THEIR HANDS.

THEY'RE CLOSING IN, BUT WILL THEIR TAGGED PYTHON HAVE OTHERS FOLLOWING HER?

Man: SO MIKE, THIS IS WHERE WE FOUND HER ORIGINALLY, SHE'D MATTED DOWN ALL THIS AREA SO THAT SHE COULD GET UP OUT OF THE WATER AND BASK BETTER.

Abraham: TO LEVEL AN AREA THAT SIZE, THE PYTHON THEY'RE AFTER MUST BE HUGE.

Woman: THAT'D BE THE HOLE!

Rochford: ALL RIGHT.

[ RADIO STATIC, BEEP ] THAT'S WHAT WE LIKE TO HEAR.

YEAH, WE'RE GETTING A GOOD SIGNAL NOW.

Abraham: PYTHONS CAN JUST MELT AWAY INTO THE SURROUNDINGS.

THE TEAM IS JUST YARDS AWAY FROM AN ENORMOUS SNAKE, BUT WITHOUT RADIO-TRACKING, THEY'D NEVER FIND HER.

[ MONITOR BEEPING ] Man: I THINK SHE MAY BE IN THIS MOUND, ACTUALLY.

Rochford: YEP, I SEE HER RIGHT BACK HERE.

Woman: YEP, ALL COILED UP.

Woman: WATCH OUT.

Man: WHOA, WATCH YOUR FEET.

Woman: THERE SHE IS!

Rochford: SHE'S BEHAVING AT THE MOMENT.

SO WE WANT TO GO AHEAD AND LOOK FOR THE SUTURES WHERE WE IMPLANTED THE RADIO TRANSMITTERS.

LOOKS LIKE IT'S HOLDING UP WELL -- WE DON'T HAVE A GAPING WOUND OR ANYTHING LIKE THAT.

OKAY, HERE'S THE SECOND SUTURE RIGHT HERE, AND IT LOOKS LIKE IT'S HEALING UP PRETTY WELL.

SO, LOOKS LIKE SHE'S A HEALTHY SNAKE AND I THINK WE CAN GO AHEAD AND RELEASE HER AGAIN.

Abraham: AT AROUND 15 FEET, THIS IS ONE OF THE BIGGEST WILD SNAKES EVER FOUND IN FLORIDA.

Man: ALL RIGHT, READY?

Abraham: THE TEAM HAS A VERY GOOD REASON FOR LETTING HER GO.

IT'S JUNE, THE BREEDING SEASON.

AT THIS TIME, LARGE FEMALES WILL OFTEN HAVE AN ENTOURAGE.

THE TEAM SOON SPIES A SECOND, SMALLER SNAKE.

Woman: PYTHON!

Man: THERE'S ONE.

Abraham: TWO MALES HAVE BEEN FOUND, NOT FAR FROM THE LARGE FEMALE.

Man: YEAH, THE FEMALE, SHE MUST BE BREEDING IF THERE'S MALES LIKE THIS AROUND.

YOU GOT THAT ONE UNDER CONTROL, THERESA?

Theresa: YEAH.

Rochford: WE GOT ANOTHER ONE OVER HERE.

Abraham: MIKE'S MALE BRINGS THE TOTAL TO THREE, ALL ATTRACTED BY THE PRESENCE OF THE FEMALE.

ALL SET.

Abraham: SHE'S EXPOSED THE SUITORS THAT HAVE COME TO COURT HER.

THE CAPTURED MALES WILL HELP CONFIRM WHAT'S ON THE MENU FOR THESE SNAKES IN FLORIDA.

SKIP SNOW HEADS THE EVERGLADES PYTHON SCIENCE SUPPORT TEAM.

Snow: OKAY, IT'S TIME TO TAKE A LOOK IN THE STOMACH AND THROUGH THE REST OF THE INTESTINES TO SEE WHAT SHE'S BEEN EATING.

Abraham: A PYTHON'S DIGESTIVE TRACT IS NOT COILED LIKE A HUMAN'S -- IT'S EFFECTIVELY THE SAME LENGTH AS THE SNAKE ITSELF.

BY DISSECTING PYTHONS CAUGHT IN THE WILD, SKIP'S MADE MANY FASCINATING DISCOVERIES.

Snow: LOOKS LIKE WE'VE FOUND THE REMAINS OF AN OLD MEAL.

WE HAVE THE REMAINS OF AN ALLIGATOR IN HERE.

CLAWS, OR BONES.

SO, THIS IS THE EIGHTH PYTHON THAT WE HAVE FOUND THAT HAS EATEN AN ALLIGATOR.

THEY ALSO WILL EAT A WIDE VARIETY OF MAMMALS AND BIRDS.

HERE'S THE BILL OF A GREAT BLUE HERON.

THIS IS THE SMALL BILL TIP OF A RAIL.

IN THE MAMMAL CATEGORY, EVERYTHING FROM SMALL MICE AND RODENTS TO BOBCATS.

HERE'S A HALF OF A HOOF FROM ADULT DEER.

SO, AS YOU CAN SEE, THEY EAT A WIDE RANGE OF PREY -- BIRDS, MAMMALS, REPTILES.

Abraham: SO, PYTHONS MUSTN'T REACH AREAS WITH ENDANGERED SPECIES.

THE FLORIDA KEYS.

SO FAR, ONLY A FEW PYTHONS HAVE BEEN FOUND HERE, PROBABLY RELEASED PETS.

A FULL-SCALE INVASION MUST BE AVERTED BECAUSE THIS 100-MILE-LONG ISLAND CHAIN IS THE ONLY HOME ON EARTH FOR THE KEY LARGO WOOD RAT.

U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY BIOLOGIST RON ROZAR HAS A NETWORK OF TRAPS ACROSS KEY LARGO TO INTERCEPT SNAKES ARRIVING FROM THE MAINLAND.

THERE ARE OVER 60 TO BE MONITORED, AND EACH HAS A TEMPTING LURE.

Rozar: SO EACH DAY, WE COME AND WE CHECK THE TRAPS.

CHECK ON, ONE, TO SEE IF THERE'S ANY SNAKES INSIDE, AND, TWO, TO SEE HOW OUR BAIT RAT IS DOING.

NOW WE CHECK ON THIS GUY EVERY DAY, MAKE SURE THAT THEY HAVE ENOUGH FOOD AND MOISTURE.

THIS GUY LOOKS PRETTY GOOD.

NOW THE WAY THIS TRAP OPERATES, SNAKE APPROACHES, SMELLS THE RAT, COMES INTO THE CAGE.

ONCE HE ENTERS THE CAGE, THE FLAPS CLOSE BEHIND HIM SO HE CAN'T GET BACK OUT.

TRIES TO GET TO THE RAT, BUT THE RAT'S IN ITS OWN SEPARATE ENCLOSURE SO THE RAT CAN'T BE GOTTEN TO.

WE THEN EXTRACT THE SNAKE FROM THE TRAP.

SOMETIMES, WE CAN GET ANIMALS IN HERE THAT WE'RE NOT LOOKING FOR, THINGS THAT AREN'T BIG PYTHONS.

SOME OF THE NATIVE ANIMALS THAT MIGHT GO IN HERE INCLUDE WOOD RATS AND COTTON MICE AS WELL AS SOME OF THE NATIVE SNAKES.

FOR THAT, WE'VE PUT IN SOME ESCAPE HATCHES.

SO, IF A NATIVE SNAKE -- FOR INSTANCE A YELLOW RAT SNAKE -- COMES IN HERE, ALL HE DOES, GOES TO THE ESCAPE HATCH, CRAWLS OUT, HE'S SAFE.

Abraham: SO FAR, NO PYTHON HAS MADE IT TO THE TRAP LINE.

BUT WHEN THE INVASION STARTS, THIS WILL BE THE KEYS' FIRST LINE OF DEFENSE.

ALL THIS WORK COULD HELP PROTECT THE ENDANGERED WOOD RAT.

DISNEY'S ANIMAL KINGDOM AND TAMPA'S LOWRY PARK ZOO HAVE SPENT THOUSANDS ON A BREEDING PROGRAM.

GUYS! HELLO, HELLO.

Abraham: THESE CUTE MAMMALS LIVE NOWHERE ELSE.

FEWER THAN 200 OF THEM REMAIN IN THE WILD.

GOOD GIRL.

THE WOOD RAT WAS FIRST LISTED AS THREATENED IN 1969.

SINCE THEN, THEIR POPULATION HAS CONTINUED TO DECLINE.

GOOD GIRL.

Abraham: HUMAN DEVELOPMENTS HAVE SERIOUSLY DEPLETED THE WOODED AREAS THESE RODENTS NEED TO SURVIVE, AND ATTACKS BY FERAL CATS ARE A SERIOUS THREAT.

THE ARRIVAL OF A PYTHON ARMY COULD BE THE FINAL NAIL IN THE WOOD RAT'S COFFIN.

IN CONTRAST, PYTHON POPULATIONS ARE BOOMING.

THE SNAKES ARE INVADING AGRICULTURAL LAND.

WITH ALMOST THREE MILLION ACRES OF IT IN FLORIDA, THERE'S A LOT OF HABITAT FOR THE BURMESE TO COLONIZE.

BUT THESE SEEMINGLY PEACEFUL FIELDS CAN BE DANGEROUS TERRITORY FOR SKULKING SNAKES.

AT PLOWING TIME, THEY RISK BEING DICED BETWEEN SLICING BLADES.

FEW FARMERS ARE SURPRISED TO FIND PYTHONS ON THEIR LAND.

AS THEIR RANGE EXPANDS INTO THE SUBURBS, PYTHONS ARE INCREASINGLY CROSSING PATHS WITH PEOPLE.

AND THEY CAN BECOME A TRAFFIC HAZARD.

DRIVERS NEED TO HAVE THEIR WITS ABOUT THEM.

YOU WOULDN'T EXPECT A SPEED BUMP TO SLITHER.

BUT FLORIDIANS ARE BECOMING ACCUSTOMED TO WEAVING AROUND CREATURES FROM FOREIGN LANDS.

BURMESE PYTHONS ARE JUST ONE OF OVER 400 KINDS OF EXOTIC ANIMALS THAT LIVE WILD IN FLORIDA.

PARROT BIOLOGIST PAUL REILLO LOOKS FOR ONE OF HIS SUBJECTS AROUND THE LUXURY HOTELS OF WEST PALM BEACH.

TO FIND THEM, HE USES TINY REMOTE CAMERAS.

Reillo: OKAY, IN SHE GOES.

THERE WE GO.

YOU KNOW THE GREAT FUN ABOUT THESE NATURAL HOLLOWS IS THAT YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT YOU'RE GOING TO FIND.

OH, THERE WE GO.

WE'VE GOT A DUCK.

HEY, DON'T PECK THE CAMERA!

THAT'S NOT WHAT WE'RE LOOKING FOR.

LET'S SEE WHAT WE'VE GOT IN THIS ONE.

OH, THAT'S NO GOOD, THAT'S NOT WHAT WE WANT.

WE'VE GOT A RACCOON AND THESE GUYS ARE MAJOR PREDATORS OF THE PARROTS.

Abraham: PERHAPS IT'LL BE 'THIRD TIME LUCKY.'

Reillo: OKAY, LET'S SEE WHAT WE HAVE HERE.

WELL THAT'S MUCH BETTER, THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT WE'RE LOOKING FOR, GREEN-CHEEKED AMAZON. THERE ARE THREE BABIES IN THIS NEST AND YOU CAN SEE THAT THEY'RE SITTING ATOP A MOUND OF WRITHING INSECT LARVAE BECAUSE ALL OF THE FOOD GOES IN TO THE NEST CAVITY AND GETS ACCUMULATED AS WASTE.

AND IT BECOMES A BREEDING GROUND FOR INSECTS.

THIS IS AN EXOTIC SPECIES NESTING IN AN EXOTIC TREE HERE IN FLORIDA, BUT THIS FOOTAGE IS VERY USEFUL BECAUSE THIS TECHNOLOGY AND THIS WHOLE RIG IS EXACTLY WHAT WE USE FOR ENDANGERED SPECIES ACROSS THE CARIBBEAN, AND THESE TECHNIQUES THAT WE'RE USING ON THIS SPECIES HERE ARE HELPING US SAVE SIMILAR SPECIES IN THE WILD.

Abraham: IN THEIR MEXICAN HOMELAND, THESE BIRDS ARE THREATENED.

AS FEW AS 3,000 REMAIN.

FLORIDA IS A SAFE HAVEN FOR THEM.

OTHER INVADERS ARE MORE THREATENING THAN THREATENED.

A CARNIVOROUS NILE MONITOR FROM AFRICA.

LIKE THE PYTHONS, THESE GO-ANYWHERE LIZARDS ARE ESCAPEES FROM THE PET TRADE.

THIS ONE'S PICKED UP THE SCENT OF FOOD.

IT'S ON A RAID.

A POND WON'T SLOW IT DOWN.

STRONG SWIMMERS, NILE MONITORS HAVE BEEN FOUND ON ISLANDS TWO MILES OFFSHORE.

THE PREY'S SCENT IS GETTING STRONGER.

SOMEONE'S VALUABLE KOI CARP.

THESE HUNTERS CAN ALSO BE A THREAT TO NATIVE WILDLIFE.

THEY COULD SPELL DISASTER FOR A RARE REPTILE.

NOT AN ALLIGATOR, BUT THE AMERICAN CROCODILE.

IT BREEDS IN SMALL NUMBERS CLOSE TO THE NILE MONITOR'S STRONGHOLD.

FEMALES LAY AROUND 40 EGGS IN LATE SPRING, AND STAY NEAR THE NEST UNTIL THEY HATCH 90 DAYS LATER.

UNLIKE ALLIGATORS, AMERICAN CROCODILES RARELY CHARGE AT INTRUDERS.

THIS ALLOWS MONITOR LIZARDS TO PLUNDER THE NEST WITH IMPUNITY.

THESE ARE INVETERATE EGG THIEVES.

IN THEIR NATIVE AFRICA, THEY ARE MAJOR PREDATORS OF NILE CROCODILE NESTS.

SOME WORRY THAT THEY COULD DIG UP THE EGGS OF FLORIDA'S ENDANGERED MARINE TURTLES.

BUT THERE'S HOPE YET.

A TRAPPING PROGRAM AIMS TO REDUCE THEIR NUMBERS AND PREVENT NATIVE REPTILES FROM HAVING THEIR EGGS SNATCHED.

NOT ALL REPTILE IMMIGRANTS ARE HARMFUL.

A CHARMING LIZARD FROM MADAGASCAR LIVES AND BREEDS IN THE GARDEN OF A POPULAR BAR IN THE FLORIDA KEYS.

THESE LITTLE STUNNERS WERE RELEASED DELIBERATELY BY REPTILE DEALERS WHO COME BACK TO COLLECT ANY SURPLUS LIZARDS TO SELL AS PETS.

FEMALES CAN LAY 12 EGGS EVERY BREEDING SEASON AND THE COLONY HERE IS THRIVING.

SOME OF THE GECKOS ARE EVEN BECOMING LOUNGE LIZARDS.

THEY FACE UNCERTAINTY IN THEIR HOMELAND FROM HABITAT LOSS, BUT PERHAPS THEY'LL MAKE IT IN THE U.S.

ANOTHER LIZARD HAS TAKEN THE STATES BY STORM.

THE GREEN IGUANA.

THESE IGUANAS COME FROM CENTRAL AND SOUTH AMERICA.

BIG MALES CAN GROW OVER 6 FEET LONG.

THEY SOMETIMES FIGHT IN THE BREEDING SEASON.

BUT A BOB OF THE HEAD AND A FLASH OF THE DEWLAP UNDER THE THROAT BY THE LARGEST LIZARD IS USUALLY ENOUGH TO PREVENT COMBAT.

THEY CAN MUNCH THROUGH A BED OF PRIZED BLOOMS IN MINUTES.

THEY ALSO DISLODGE ROOF TILES AND POOP PRODIGIOUSLY.

DESPITE THIS, MOST FLORIDIANS ARE QUITE FOND OF THEM.

THERE ARE OVER 100,000 GREEN IGUANAS HERE.

THE HIGHEST CONCENTRATIONS LIVE ALONG CITY CANALS.

AND THIS IS WHY -- WATER PROVIDES AN ESCAPE ROUTE.

IN AN EFFORT TO STEM THE TIDE OF EXOTIC ANIMALS GONE WILD IN FLORIDA, MIAMI METRO ZOO HOSTS A PET AMNESTY DAY.

SOME PETS WILL OUTGROW THEIR OWNERS, AND THE DAY OFFERS A CHANCE FOR PEOPLE TO TURN THEIR CRITTERS IN.

FISH AND WILDLIFE CONSERVATION OFFICER PATRICK REYNOLDS EXPLAINS.

BASICALLY, IT'S AN OPPORTUNITY FOR PEOPLE TO BRING IN UNWANTED PETS, EXOTIC PETS, PETS THAT OTHERWISE WOULD GET RELEASED INTO THE WILD, LIKE BURMESE PYTHONS, IGUANAS, TORTOISES, UH... EVERYTHING TO A HOWLER MONKEY WAS TURNED IN TODAY.

Man: DO YOU KNOW ABOUT HOW OLD IT IS?

Woman: PROBABLY ABOUT 6.

Man: OKAY.

Woman: SHE LOVES TO BE PETTED.

Abraham: SOME OWNERS HAVE GRADUALLY FALLEN OUT OF LOVE WITH THEIR ANIMALS.

FOR OTHERS, THE DECISION TO GO PET-FREE IS MORE SUDDEN.

Man: I'VE HAD HER FOR 10 YEARS, AND SHE RIPPED MY WIFE'S FINGER OFF THE OTHER DAY.

AND THAT WAS THE END OF THAT!

Abraham: EVENTS SUCH AS THIS COULD HAVE HELPED REDUCE THE SPREAD OF THE BURMESE PYTHON IN RECENT YEARS.

Man: THIS HERE IS A BABY.

BEING AS BEAUTIFUL AS HE IS, THERE WILL BE FIRST PICKS ON HIM, I'M SURE.

Abraham: ALL ANIMALS ARE EXAMINED BY A VET BEFORE BEING TURNED OVER TO NEW OWNERS.

Woman: THESE GUYS NEED A LITTLE HELP.

THIS ISN'T MINOR, SOMEBODY NEEDS TO DEAL WITH THESE GUYS.

Abraham: EVERY ADOPTER HAS TO GO THROUGH AN APPLICATION PROCEDURE.

SOME ARE EVEN INTERVIEWED, TO ENSURE THAT THE AMNESTY ANIMALS GET GOOD, ESCAPE-PROOF HOMES.

SHE'S GOT A RED WOUND INSIDE HER LEFT FRONT FOOT, BUT IT'S VERY SUPERFICIAL.

THE SHELL'S IN PRETTY GOOD SHAPE.

Abraham: IT'S AN EVENT THAT GETS THE WORD OUT AND GETS RESULTS.

SCOTT HARDIN IS FLORIDA FISH AND WILDLIFE CONSERVATION COMMISSION'S EXOTIC SPECIES SECTION LEADER.

Hardin: WE CAN EASILY GET 15 OR 20 BURMESE PYTHONS, THREE OR FOUR RETICULATED PYTHONS.

SOME OF THE OTHER SNAKES THAT REQUIRE PERMITS WE HAVEN'T SEEN YET BECAUSE THEY ARE MORE UNUSUAL IN TRADE, MUCH MORE EXPENSIVE.

BUT BURMESE ARE THE ONLY ONES OUT IN THE EVERGLADES TO OUR KNOWLEDGE, AND THAT'S THE MOST COMMON LARGE CONSTRICTOR.

Abraham: SOME OWNERS DISCOVER THEY CAN'T AFFORD TO FEED AND HOUSE THEIR GIANT SNAKES PROPERLY.

IT'S FAR BETTER THAT THEY HAND THEM IN HERE THAN RELEASE THEM INTO THE WILD.

THE AMNESTIES WILL HELP PREVENT NEW EXOTIC SPECIES FROM COLONIZING FLORIDA.

THEY'LL ALSO HELP STOP FRESH RECRUITS FROM REACHING THE INVADERS THAT ARE ALREADY LIVING WILD HERE, LIKE THE PYTHON.

BUT THE BURMESE INVASION IS WELL-ADVANCED.

BY CATCHING WILD PYTHONS, RESEARCHERS ARE MAKING GOOD PROGRESS IN LEARNING HOW THESE SNAKES LIVE HERE IN FLORIDA.

AND WE KNOW THEY'RE MATING IN THE WILD.

FEMALES HAVE BEEN FOUND WITH SEVERAL MALES.

BUT UNTIL RECENTLY A PYTHON NEST HAD NEVER BEEN FOUND.

VIRTUALLY EVERYTHING WE KNOW ABOUT THE BREEDING HABITS OF BURMESE PYTHONS HAS BEEN LEARNED FROM CAPTIVE SNAKES.

THERE ARE PLENTY OF THOSE IN THIS HUGE FACILITY.

CAREFUL BREEDING CREATES EYE-POPPING PYTHONS.

SOME OF THE MOST FLAMBOYANT CAN BE WORTH TENS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS EACH.

EVERY SPRING, A BURMESE CAN LAY A CLUTCH OF UP TO 100 EGGS.

COILS THAT BROUGHT DEATH TO PREY NOW WRAP PROTECTIVELY AROUND THE EGGS TO KEEP THEM ALIVE.

SHIVERING GENERATES HEAT.

WARMTH FROM TWITCHING MUSCLES CAN RAISE THE EGGS' TEMPERATURE BY AS MUCH AS 11 DEGREES FAHRENHEIT.

SNAKE BREEDERS REMOVE THE EGGS FOR SAFE-KEEPING TO AN INCUBATOR.

IT TAKES TWO MONTHS AT 90 DEGREES FAHRENHEIT TO HATCH THE EGGS.

BUT WHAT HAPPENS IN THE WILD?

UNTIL RECENTLY, NOTHING WAS KNOWN ABOUT HOW OR WHERE BURMESE PYTHONS NESTED IN FLORIDA.

SKIP SNOW'S TEAM CHANGED ALL THAT WITH A STUNNING DISCOVERY.

NEXT TO A BUSY ROAD LESS THAN 17 MILES FROM MIAMI, THEY FOUND A PYTHON NEST.

OKAY, WE'RE HERE AT THE SITE OF A BURMESE PYTHON NEST THAT WE FOUND BACK IN 2008.

THIS IS A SPECIAL CAMERA USED FOR LOOKING IN DENS AND CAVITIES, DEVELOPED TO LOOK IN THE DARK.

WHEN WE DID THIS BACK IN JULY 2008, WE FOUND A FEMALE BROODING ON HER 27 EGGS, WHICH WE'D FIND OUT LATER WHEN WE DUG HER OUT.

IT'S PROBABLY, DON'T KNOW FOR SURE, BUT PROBABLY THE FIRST TIME THAT IT'S BEEN OBSERVED AND FILMED IN THE WILD, AT LEAST CERTAINLY IN THE UNITED STATES.

SO THIS IS PROOF POSITIVE THAT BURMESE PYTHONS ARE BREEDING IN THE EVERGLADES.

Abraham: WHEN PYTHON BABIES LEAVE THE NEST, THEY FACE MANY DANGERS HERE IN FLORIDA.

AT JUST 19 INCHES LONG, THEY'RE VULNERABLE TO ATTACK FROM NATIVE PREDATORS.

A KING SNAKE.

IT SPECIALIZES IN EATING OTHER SNAKES.

THE KING SNAKE IS A CONSTRICTOR, JUST LIKE THE PYTHON.

IT USES MUSCULAR COILS TO SUBDUE ITS PREY.

SURELY THE BABY PYTHON HAS NO CHANCE NOW.

BUT THEN, INEXPLICABLY, THE KING SNAKE ABORTS THE ATTACK.

THIS NEW RECRUIT HAS PASSED ITS FIRST TEST.

A RACCOON -- ANOTHER SNAKE HUNTER.

THE RACCOON'S SHARP TEETH CAN EASILY PIERCE THE HATCHLING'S SKULL.

BUT THE PYTHON HAS A STRIKE UP ITS SLEEVE.

[ SNAKE HISSES ] [ RACCOON CHITTERS ] SOME RECRUITS TO THE PYTHON ARMY MAY SUFFER FATAL INJURIES, BUT THOSE WHO SURVIVE THEIR FIRST TOUR OF DUTY STAND A MUCH BETTER CHANCE OF DEFENDING THEMSELVES.

A SIX-MONTH-OLD PYTHON IS LARGE ENOUGH TO FIGHT OFF ANY RACCOON.

AND AT ONE YEAR OLD, THE RACCOON COULD BE ON THE PYTHON'S MENU.

LARGE PYTHONS ARE INVULNERABLE TO ALL BUT THE BIGGEST ALLIGATORS... AND ONE OTHER HUNTER... US.

THE SOUTH FLORIDA WATER MANAGEMENT DISTRICT EMPLOYS BOB HILL TO WAGE WAR AGAINST INVADERS ON THEIR LAND.

Hill: I'VE PROBABLY FOUND CLOSE TO 75 OR 80 PYTHONS ALONG THIS RIGHT-OF-WAY.

Abraham: BOB KILLS ANY SNAKES HE FINDS.

THEIR BODIES ARE USED TO HELP PYTHON SCIENTISTS ADD TO THEIR KNOWLEDGE OF THESE GIANT SNAKES.

Hill: THIS PYTHON'S ABOUT 9 1/2, 10 FEET LONG.

I'VE CAUGHT PROBABLY 100, 200 SNAKES IN THE AREA WHERE THIS ONE WAS PICKED UP, THE LARGEST ONE BEING ABOUT 16 FEET.

Abraham: SOME AREAS TEEM WITH PYTHONS.

Woman: IN ABOUT A WEEK, WE RECOVERED 54 PYTHONS THAT HAD BEEN KILLED IN ONE SMALL AGRICULTURAL FIELD.

Abraham: SNAKES ARE SPILLING OUT OF THE NATIONAL PARK.

THE ARMY OF SNAKES IS GAINING TERRITORY.

JUST HOW BIG IS THE INVASION FORCE?

WE DON'T KNOW FOR SURE, WE MAY NOT KNOW FOR MANY YEARS, BUT WE DO BELIEVE THAT IT'S ON THE ORDER OF THOUSANDS IF NOT TENS OF THOUSANDS, IT'S NO LONGER JUST HUNDREDS OR A DOZEN.

Abraham: THE ARMY IS GAINING IN SIZE AND STRENGTH.

MORE AND MORE INVADERS ARE BEING SEEN, AND NOT JUST BY SCIENTISTS.

Man: LOOK AT THIS! LOOK AT THAT SNAKE.

Girl: OH, MY GOD!

LOOK AT THAT SNAKE! LET ME GET A PICTURE.

Abraham: IN THE EVERGLADES, BURMESE PYTHONS COULD CAUSE ALL SORTS OF PROBLEMS.

ONE OF THOSE IS COMPETITION WITH OUR NATIVE ANIMALS FOR FOOD.

Abraham: GATORS AND PYTHONS HAVE SIMILAR DIETS.

AS DO ENDANGERED INDIGO SNAKES.

THERE MAY NOT BE ENOUGH TO GO AROUND.

THEY WILL EAT ALMOST ANY ANIMAL OUT THERE, NO MATTER HOW BIG OR SMALL, FROM RODENTS TO ADULT DEER, BOBCATS, BIRDS.

Snow: WE HAVE A NUMBER OF THREATENED AND ENDANGERED SPECIES IN SOUTH FLORIDA THAT ARE POTENTIAL PREY FOR BURMESE PYTHONS.

Abraham: IT COULD MAKE THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SURVIVAL AND EXTINCTION.

ANOTHER ONE MAY BE COMPETITION FOR SPACE.

Abraham: PYTHONS TAKE OVER WATERHOLES AND BURROWS THAT WOULD OTHERWISE BE INHABITED BY NATIVE ANIMALS.

ANOTHER ONE CLEARLY THAT WE KNOW VERY LITTLE ABOUT IS DISEASE.

Abraham: PYTHONS MAY HAVE BROUGHT FOREIGN PARASITES WITH THEM, OR AT LEAST ACT AS RESERVOIRS FOR PESTS THAT TRANSFER TO FLORIDIAN REPTILES.

AND LASTLY IS, OBVIOUSLY, SAFETY.

Donlan: THERE'S A GOOD CHANCE THEY MAY LEAVE THE EVERGLADES AND THEY COULD GO ONTO HIGHWAYS AND CAUSE HAZARDS TO TRAFFIC AND HUMANS IN THAT WAY.

Abraham: IN ADDITION TO TRAFFIC ACCIDENTS, THERE IS THAT CHANCE THAT A PYTHON COULD ATTACK A HUMAN.

BURMESE PYTHONS AREN'T KNOWN TO HUNT PEOPLE, BUT THEY DO HAVE THE TOOLS BY WHICH TO KILL PEOPLE, SO WE DO HAVE TO RECOGNIZE THAT THEY ARE POTENTIALLY A HAZARD.

Abraham: SO, ARE PYTHONS HERE TO STAY IN THE EVERGLADES?

AND IF THEY ARE, WILL WE BE SEEING EVEN MORE OF THEM IN THE FUTURE?

Reynolds: WE'RE NEVER GOING TO ERADICATE THEM.

WE DON'T HAVE THE MONEY, THE MANPOWER TO EXTERMINATE BURMESE PYTHONS.

WE HAVE TO LEARN TO LIVE WITH THEM -- THEY'RE WITH US.

WE HAVE A TEAM IN EVERGLADES NATIONAL PARK TRYING TO ERADICATE THEM FROM THE PARK, BUT OUTSIDE OF THE PARK, IN THE CITY, THEY'RE STILL THERE AND THEY'RE PROBABLY ALWAYS GOING TO BE THERE.

THERE'S TOO MANY PLACES FOR THEM TO HIDE.

THE GOAL IS CLEARLY TO CONTAIN THE POPULATION AS WE HAVE IT NOW AND TRY AND KEEP IT FROM SPREADING TO AREAS WHERE IT'S NOT.

HOPEFULLY, AT THE VERY LEAST, WE CAN CONTAIN IT, AND WE CAN SUPPRESS THE IMPACTS THAT THEY MAY HAVE, WHILE WE WAIT FOR A GOOD TECHNIQUE BY WHICH TO ERADICATE THEM.

Abraham: GETTING RID OF PYTHONS IS A FORMIDABLE TASK.

UNTIL THAT HAPPENS, BURMESE PYTHONS COULD BECOME TOURIST ATTRACTIONS.

THESE PREDATORS ARE SO ADAPTABLE, PYTHONS COULD BECOME AS MUCH A PART OF THE EVERGLADES AS ALLIGATORS, MANATEES, BLACK BEARS AND PUMAS.

ONLY TIME WILL TELL.