KEY LARGO, Fla. -- Wildlife officials in the Florida Keys are closely monitoring reported sightings of Burmese python hatchlings in Key Largo last month. They're the first ever sightings of the non-native species on the island.
According to Florida Fish & Wildlife, one 18-inch-long Burmese python was found on August 2nd in Key Largo, and a second similar-sized python was found on August 3rd in the same location. A third hatchling was found on August 23rd in north Key Largo.
These observations suggest that pythons have reproduced near this location, but there have been no sightings of python nests or eggs in the area.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) Exotic Species Hotline has received 31 credible reports of Burmese pythons in the Keys over the past five years, with recent confirmed sightings limited to Key Largo.
“While we have documented Burmese pythons in the Keys for a while now, this is the first time we have documentation of hatchlings in the area. This is not surprising considering the proximity to the known breeding population in the Everglades,” said Kristen Sommers, section leader of the FWC’s Wildlife Impact Management Section.
The United States Geological Survey, FWC and other partners are working together with local residents to increase detection and monitoring efforts for Burmese pythons in the Keys.
Residents and visitors can help by reporting sightings of Burmese pythons and other nonnative species to the FWC’s Exotic Species Reporting Hotline at 888-Ive-Got1 (888-483-4681), online at IveGot1.org or by downloading the free “IveGot1” smartphone app.