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9-meter-long python found on offshore platform in Florida

(National Park Service)

A kayaker found a problematic creature in a surprising place in November: a coiled 9-foot Burmese python on a platform off the coast of Florida.

The serpent and the platform was found in in Florida is 170,000-plus-acre Biscayne National Park. Ninety-five percent water, the large marine resort contains four different ecosystems: mangroves, Biscayne Bay, and the fish, in the northern part of the Keys, and a part of the world’s third largest coral reef, according to Carissa DeCramer, the park, the chief of staff.

But while the creatures, such as manatees, crocodiles and crabs are endemic to the park, it is very unusual to see a python, ” she said.

“This is incredibly rare for Biscayne National Park,” DeCramer said. “Pythons are not aquatic animals. They can swim, that is the reason why this python was able to make it to the platform. But they are not regularly in open water.” And they do not like salt water.

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Burmese pythons are a problematic invasive species in Florida, and have been for years. More than 2,000 reports of the pythons are made in Miami-Dade County, only, and they have also been reported in many other Florida counties.

“The task of the National Park Service to preserve and protect these places, so that it can be the natural environment,” DeCramer said. “We want to manage and monitor a kind of invasive species.”

The pythons threaten wildlife and compete with native predators, ” she said. The most important invasive species, they are busy with actually lionfish, known for his “very aggressive eaters.”

The snake— an immature female was picked up the next day from the platform (that was about a half mile off the coast) by a python wrangler, according to the Miami Herald. DeCramer said that the later humanely killed.

“I really want to emphasize how rare this sighting was,” DeCramer added. “It is very unusual that the pythons in the park. The park is very safe to visit.”

Pythons can be reported as mentioned in the park itself on 305-230-1144, or a hotline for the state of Florida, which is 1-888-IVE-GOT1, or 1-888-483-4681.

Follow Rob Koster on Twitter: @robverger

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