BURMESE PYTHON RADIO-TELEMETRY STUDY
Since 2013, the Conservancy of Southwest Florida and research partners have been conducting radio telemetry fieldwork to document python biology and behavior in Collier County.
A primary objective is to develop a database of behavior and habitat uses to better understand invasive Burmese python activities in southwest Florida. This information will be used to help land managers to develop a management strategy for this invasive species.
Adult pythons are captured, surgically implanted with a radio-transmitter, and released back at the capture site. These individuals are referred to as “sentinel snakes” for their ability to lead researchers to other pythons during the breeding season.
The Conservancy snake team uses a combination of active searching and telemetry to remove invasive pythons from Southwest Florida. Using their mating behavior against them, closely following sentinel snakes during the breeding season allows the team to remove animals that otherwise wouldn’t be detected.
Captured pythons are humanely euthanized and the remains are examined in the lab. Data is collected on breeding potential, animal condition, and gut content. Samples of the gut contents are sent to the University of Florida where prey items are identified.
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