KEY LARGO-- Burmese python hatchlings have been spotted for the first time on Key Largo.
One 18-inch-long Burmese python was found on Aug. 2, 2016, in Key Largo, and a second similar-sized python was found on Aug. 3 in the same location. A third hatchling was found on Aug. 23 in north Key Largo. These confirmed observations are the first known hatchling-sized Burmese pythons found in Key Largo. These observations suggest that pythons have reproduced near this location, but there have been no sightings of python nests or eggs in the area.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) Exotic Species Hotline has received 31 credible reports of Burmese pythons in the Keys over the past five years, with recent confirmed sightings limited to Key Largo.
FWC said in a press release, Burmese pythons in the Keys for a while now, this is the first time they have documentation of hatchlings in the area.
Officials are sending postcards to homeowners there asking for help spotting the elusive snakes. The postcards show a picture of a python and list a phone number to call if someone spots one.
"We worry about pythons becoming established in the Keys because there are several at-risk populations of small mammals, like the Key Largo woodrat and the Key Largo cotton mouse, that would be easy prey for Burmese pythons.”
Residents and visitors can help by reporting sightings of Burmese pythons and other nonnative species to the FWC’s Exotic Species Reporting Hotline at 888-Ive-Got1 (888-483-4681).
(© 2016 WTSP)