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Posted by: Adam Aston on February 26, 2008
Climate change is already forcing polar bears south and triggering bird migrations earlier than ever. Now the US Geological Survey reports that that Burmese pythons are spreading through the state of Florida, and may make their way as far north as New Jersey as the climate warms over the coming century.
An invasive species introduced to Florida by snake-lovers who buy them as pets and set them free when they grow too large, pythons can grow to over 20 feet long and more than 250 lbs. Despite the occasional run in with an indigenous alligator (the photo above was taken in Everglades National Park), pythons lack the natural predators that keep them in check in their native south-east Asia. So the giant serpents have been expanding steadily northward following Florida’s marshy waterways.
Though not a serious threat to humans, the snakes have been chowing down on endangered native species as they expand their range. Already the snakes have found a taste for endangered Key Largo woodrats and rare round-tailed muskrats. Just one question: How will they take to New Jersey house cat?
BusinessWeek correspondents John Carey and Mark Scott, cover the green scene, keeping on top of the business aspects of energy, the environment and climate change, as well as the technologies, policies, markets and people that are shaping how the earth's resources will be used in the century ahead.