Burmese pythons pretty much taking over the Everglades

In areas where the pythons have established themselves, marsh rabbits and foxes can no longer be found. Sightings of raccoons are down 99.3%, opossums 98.9% and white-tailed deer 94.1%, according to a paper out Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences…

Mammals in Florida have no natural fear of large snakes because they haven’t existed in the area for about 16 million years, when a boa-like snake that used to live there became extinct.

The loss of the mammals is devastating not only to those populations, but to all the animals that rely on them. It’s possible that the decline in bobcats, foxes, coyotes and panthers is linked to the disappearance of their typical prey: rabbits, raccoons and opossums.

Pythons also are eating lots of birds. More than 25% of pythons found in the Everglades contain bird remains.