Article ID: 613515

Released: 7-Feb-2014 11:00 AM EST

Source Newsroom: University of Arkansas, Fayetteville

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  • Credit: J.D. Willson

    J.D. Willson, an assistant professor at the University of Arkansas, holds a Burmese python during fieldwork in the Florida Everglades

Reptile Researcher Available to Comment on Discovery of Large Burmese Python in Florida Everglades

J.D. Willson, assistant professor of biological sciences, is available to comment on the recent discovery of a 17-foot, 8-inch Burmese python in the Florida Everglades. He has been part of a research group that has conducted extensive studies of the invasive snake species in Florida and is the co-author of Invasive Pythons in the United States: Ecology of an Introduced Predator, published in 2011 by the University of Georgia Press.

Willson's research focuses on the ecology, impacts and potential range for expansion of Burmese pythons. The fast-growing population of snakes was first recognized an established in the late 1990s, but his research suggests they may have been around longer than that.

Willson said he is not surprised by the discovery of the nearly 18-foot python, which is one of the largest ever found in the Everglades.

"The record size of pythons in Florida continues to increase," he said. "It wouldn't be a surprise if a 20-footer is found."


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