Did you happen to see the February 2008 news release from the United States Geological Society, the one addressing the "python invasion" of America? In case you missed it, here are two maps the USGS has so helpfully provided the taxpaying public. First, a map showing the suitable range of pythons right now:
And second, after giving the necessary shout-out to the global warming crowd, the suitable range of pythons in 2100:
Are you sufficiently scared yet? Good, because that was the quite apparent purpose. We're still deep in the clutches of the "scare first, think later" scientific methodology of choice in today's academia. You can't get sufficient funding, don't you know, until you've sufficiently scared the populace into action.
Guess what, Oklahoma, there's a Burmese Python in your future!!!
I'm writing on this subject because I've just had the same conversation with a scientist friend at the South Florida Water Management District (I've mentioned him before on this blog). I went ballistic when he addressed the USGS maps and the possible range of the python.
Is it just me? Is it really just me? Isn't the absurdity of those maps immediately apparent?
Climate maps, when talking about the Burmese Python in America, have no utility whatsoever beyond the tendency to frighten the public. Climate quite obviously is not determinative on the range of a damn python, vegetation and environment and the overall habitat drive that train. Nevertheless, the intended effect was obtained. Look at this ridiculous article in the San Francisco Chronicle, the focus of which was Python's making their way to the San Francisco Bay Area:
At 20 miles a month, a determined Burmese python from Florida could arrive in San Francisco as early as August 2020.
"It would be exceptional for one animal to be that unidirectional in its movement, but it's mathematically possible," Rodda said.
Damn, you truly have to be some kind of stupid to believe that. Mathematically possible??? Now, yes -- I understand that the writer was trying to be something other than dry and rational. Okay, okay. Perhaps this was his way of drawing attention to the scare first, think later game. But shouldn't there be a limit to this kind of foolishness?
After all, we are talking about a genuinely serious problem -- there's no need for the chicken little drama. For instance, SFWMD photographed a python they killed recently.
And these creatures are seriously breeding; check these pictures out:
Amazing stuff. These snakes should never be allowed into the country and it is idiotic that individuals are allowed to keep them as pets. But I still believe the King of the Swamps, the Alligator, will basically take care of the problem if they ever become too numerous.
Eat them. Eat them all.
And yes, I saw this 2005 photo of the python that had killed and swallowed a smaller Gator:
What I know, however, is this: they can't do that to a Bull Gator and the Bull Gators are the Kings of the Swamp. Hell, Bull Gators kill and devour Gators of that size, too. I'm virtually certain of what happened in that above picture. The python swallowed the Gator, which was really more than it should have attempted -- but an amazing feat, I will admit. It became somewhat immobilized because of the meal and a Bull Gator came by and bit its freakin' head off. Result: another dead python.
As this picture below indicates, at least to me, no matter how big a python may get, it can't deal with a Bull Gator:
And if it is able to fight a Bull Gator to a draw, if another big Gator is around -- end of story. There is only one King of the Swamp in America and it damn sure isn't a Burmese Python.