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Can Burmese Pythons swim from the Everglades to the Florida Keys?

A number of Burmese pythons have been found on Key Largo, and a few in the Lower Keys. However, there is as yet no evidence of a breeding population anywhere in the Keys. Because pythons regularly escape or are released from captivity, it can be difficult to determine whether a snake encountered in the Keys arrived there by swimming from the mainland or was a former captive pet on the island. Given the python’s apparent ability to disperse via salt water, however, island residents and resource managers need to stay vigilant so as to be able to detect and eliminate arriving pythons before they become established.

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