I just watched a special on PBS – yes, I do that – about the Bermese Python taking over the Everglades. It’s sad, really. The snake eats everything from rats to alligators, and have their eye on the 100 plus endangered species that live there.
In school, we discussed the importance of planting indigenous plants when landscaping our buildings, but I never thought too much on the animal species; you don’t involve animals too much in architectural design, unless you’re designing a zoo. Just the same, the exotic animals being released everyday into the wild is wreaking havoc on the environment. In the case of the pythons of the Everglades, they came from people who could no longer care for their pet. They have no native predators, and once they are full grown – some found over 15 feet – only the largest alligators and humans can kill them. There is nothing stopping them from eating, growing, breeding, and doing it all over again. Their numbers are in the 10s of thousands, and there is no end in sight. It is too costly to try to actually eradicate them from Florida, and so the Parks Department is focusing on containing and eradicating them from wildlife sanctuaries. I wish them luck. They also have begun what they call the “Animal Amnesty” program where they accept people’s exotic pets, no questions asked.
So remember, if you can no longer care for your pet, don’t just release it to the wild, give it away to a good home or sell it to a good home, if you’re hard up. In the meantime, I wonder if it wouldn’t be wise to send hunters into the Everglades to hunt the pythons – it’s for a good cause. The price of shoes and handbags might just come down, and then we’d be fashionable while saving our wallets and our Everglades.