The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission kicked off their Python Challenge this weekend. Burmese pythons are invasive species that are eating everything in the Florida Everglades ecosystem, including native wildlife and house pets. The Python Challenge pays $1,000 to the person person who harvests the longest python, and $1500 to the person who harvests the most. This is a horrible time of year for killing pythons since its cool and they are mainly in burrows. A summer slaughter would be more productive, and thats when the females are gravid.
We don’t have any huge introduced snakes to worry about in Washington. Bullfrogs are probably our worst offender on the introduced herp list.
A reptile species that I’d like to see introduced here in Seattle is the tuatara. These awesome reptiles (native to New Zealand) have been around for hundreds of millions of years and are the last remaining species of an entire order of reptiles (no, they are not lizards). They thrive in cold environments, making them ideal candidates for Seattle life. I can’t imagine that people would want to kill these animals if they were introduced here. Most people would probably be thrilled to see a tuatara on the Burke-Gilman trail or on the San Juan Islands.