Others escaped from a breeding facility wrecked by Hurricane Andrew in The report concluded, "Regarding areas of putative suitability and potential expansion within the United States, we find, remarkably, that the area in which the snakes are known to have colonized south Florida is essentially the only region where the climatic conditions are suitable for the pythons.
In FebruaryUSGS scientists published a projected range map for the US, based on average climate data of the snake's home range and global warming projections, which predicted that by the end of the 21st century, these snakes could migrate to and flourish in as much as a third of the continental United States, including all three coasts.
The 9-foot-long Burmese python was comfortably nestled in a muddy hollow, well-hidden in a thicket of saw grass and alligator flag in Big Cypress National Preserve. This homing ability of the Burmese python is therefore an additional factor that must be considered in predictions of the future range of the python within the southern US and the management of the current population within South Florida.
Although the exact origin of Burmese pythons in the Everglades is unknown, it is likely that many were once pets released by owners who found them too difficult to care for. It is crucial that drift fences are inserted several inches into the ground in order to ensure that snakes cannot bypass them, but the hard limestone foundation of the area would make construction of adequate drift fences difficult.
Furthermore, the low detectability of pythons means that even if mark-recapture studies could be conducted, they would require a greater research effort than is currently possible.
What is the risk? Free-ranging snakes representing dozens of species from around the world are discovered in the United States in any given year, usually as a result of escapees or releases from the pet trade, but most of these don't appear to have established a reproductive population.