Unnatural hisssstory

 
By Susan Aielo • Published: March 4th, 2011
Category: Animal Airwaves
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You know carrying your pet snake on your shoulder might be a good conversation starter at parties, but what happens when the hissing reptile is too big to safely handle?

For many, the answer has been to release these predators into the wild, which in Florida means an inviting habitat of tropical temperatures, abundant wildlife and warm water. The environment is so hospitable that snakes thrive and even breed, so that these non-native species now inhabit all parts of the state from Key Largo to Big Cypress National Preserve.

The growing numbers of pythons, boas and anacondas threaten endangered species, which have been found in snake stomachs. Pets and people are at risk, too. These hungry reptiles may even oust alligators from the top of the food chain.

So before you plunk down forty dollars for that unusual exotic pet, think responsibly, and in longer terms — like forty feet.