Pythons in the Everglades

Various types of pythons have grown to be the most popular of serpent pets. To obtain a feral python, take a flight to sub-Saharan Africa, hire a guide, trek through the jungle, and pray. Or drive across the Tamiami Trail through South Florida's spectacular River of Grass. Yes, kids, there are pythons in the Everglades. Plenty of them. Mostly erstwhile pets that outgrew their keepers' abilities to care for them, although God knows exactly how many pythons have taken a 747 from, say, Uganda, and found themselves lost in South Florida, or how many were blown free by Hurricane Andrew. (These magnificent rodent-eating reptiles can live for several decades; the oldest captive snake is said to have been a ball python that reached the age of 49.) The plump slitherers only come out at night, but by moonlight (or headlights) they're tough to miss. As you cruise toward Everglades City, keep your eyes open, but the side roads in the western area of the swamp present the most opportunities for a nonindigenous reptilian encounter. If you aren't lucky enough to eyeball one, you should enjoy the beauty of the Glades -- and maybe see some monkeys or a few giraffes. Just kidding about the giraffes.


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