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Burmese pythons are helping rats take over Florida's Everglades


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Burmese pythons are inadvertently helping rats dominate parts of the Everglades in Florida by wiping out their traditional predators, researchers have found. The rise in rodents could further disrupt an already fragile ecosystem and increase the risk of disease to humans. 

The first Burmese python (Python bivittatus) was found in Everglades National Park in 1979, and numbers skyrocketed throughout the 1980s and 1990s. There are now tens of thousands of the snakes living in the Everglades, and over the last 40 years they have decimated native populations, including bobcats, rabbits and foxes. 

But some smaller mammals appear unaffected by the presence of Burmese pythons, including the cotton rat (Sigmodon hispidus).


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