Python kills security guard in Bali
A python, similar to the one pictured, killed a security guard in Bali.
December 27th, 2013
04:26 PM ET

Python kills security guard in Bali

A python has killed a security guard near a luxury hotel in Bali, Indonesia.

A doctor told CNN that a man's corpse was brought to the RSUP Sanglah Denpasar Hospital in Bali on Friday. A large snake appears to have suffocated the man, said the doctor, who did not wish to be identified.

FULL STORY

Filed under: Snakes
February 16th, 2013
07:24 PM ET

Final take in Florida hunt is 68 pythons

They can reach lengths of 18 feet and their numbers are estimated to be in the tens of thousands, but Burmese pythons, a nuisance in the Everglades, aren't easy to find.

"It's an amazing challenge to try to come out and hunt these big snakes," hunter Dennis Jordan told CNN Miami affiliate WSVN in the closing days of the 2013 Python Challenge sponsored by state officials.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission announced Saturday that 68 Burmese pythons were taken during the January 12-February 10 competition that drew 1,600 registrants lured by prizes of up to $1,500.

Though the take was small, wildlife officials said their main aim was heightening public awareness of the invasive species.

FULL STORY
Post by:
Filed under: Environment • Florida • Snakes
Overheard on CNN.com: Panda sex drive, robotic squirrel and a Beltway Batman
Edinburgh's male giant panda, Sunshine, enjoys a meal in December. Sadly for Sunshine, sex isn't on the menu.
April 5th, 2012
07:48 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Panda sex drive, robotic squirrel and a Beltway Batman

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

The following three stories are all a bit - or a lot - bizarre, but they've gotten a really interesting reader response. Check out the comments from readers.

Why panda sex is so complex

Pandas have a reputation for being picky maters with a narrow window of opportunity. Conservationists in Scotland were hoping panda pals Sweetie and Sunshine would take their courtship to the next level, but alas, nothing came of it. Readers had lots of suggestions to improve the process.

"Throw a bottle of wine, a pair of cuffs and a copy of 'Fifty Shades of Grey' in the cage, that should get her going," said NorCalMojo.

Some suggested that pandas need to mate if they want to survive, and if they can't mate, we humans need to help them along. "Oh, just get the turkey baster already," wrote commenter Paul. CNN.com's Elizabeth Landau responded to the following reader's comment.

Harry: "Either artificially impregnate the female panda or let them go extinct. If they only have a three-day-a-year window for reproduction then it's pretty clear that they won't survive as a species with humans around. So either we save it ourselves or let it go bye-bye.

elandau: "A number of readers asked about artificial insemination in pandas. This is a common practice for captive pandas, veterinarian Copper Aitken-Palmer tells us. For instance, every baby panda born at Zoo Atlanta has been the result of artificial insemination, and most groups with giant pandas in the United States, Europe and China participate in assisted reproduction techniques."

Is the panda beyond help? FULL POST


Filed under: Animals • Environment • Overheard on CNN.com • Science • Scotland • Snakes • World
Overheard on CNN.com: Readers' solutions for Florida's wild python problems
Pythons are wiping out mammals in the Florida Everglades, a new report says.
January 31st, 2012
03:31 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Readers' solutions for Florida's wild python problems

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

"They need to import the Honey Badger. That'll fix the problem."
Banned in 49 States

Florida has a GOP primary, but it's also got pythons. The slithering creatures have inspired many memorable comments on CNN.com on Tuesday.

Pythons wiping out mammals in Everglades, researchers say

Commenters offered ideas to get rid of the creatures, suggesting they be hunted.

Michael Vick: "The solution to the problem is already presented in the article. If Burmese pythons are threatened in their native range because humans hunt them for meat and skins, you just have to do the same to get rid of them (in the Everglades). You're forgetting python skins make great handbags, purses and shoes. This may help Florida's manufacturing industry as they have an unlimited supply of python skin. Python meat is lean and quite tasty. They taste better than rattlesnake meat and are much healthier for you than red and white meat. Florida needs to do this soon or else there won't be anything left but pythons."

Maybe a net is in order, one reader said. FULL POST

Post by:
Filed under: Animals • Overheard on CNN.com • Snakes
Pythons wiping out mammals in Everglades, researchers say
A Burmese python in the Everglades swallowed a 76-pound deer last year.
January 31st, 2012
09:34 AM ET

Pythons wiping out mammals in Everglades, researchers say

Burmese pythons have eaten so many small mammals in Everglades National Park that populations of rabbits and foxes have disappeared and numbers of raccoons, opossums and bobcats have dropped as much as 99%, according to a report released Tuesday by researchers at Virginia Tech University, Davidson College and the U.S. Geological Survey.

“Pythons are wreaking havoc on one of America’s most beautiful, treasured, and naturally bountiful ecosystems,” said U.S. Geological Survey Director Marci McNutt in a statement.

The massive nonnative snakes have become an established species in the park in the past 11 years, after snakes that were once pets were released into the wild, according to the researchers. Park spokeswoman Linda Friar said earlier this month that there are tens of thousands of the snakes in the park.

In the remote southernmost regions of the 1.5 million-acre national park, researchers could find no marsh or cottontail rabbits or foxes. In those same areas, the raccoon population has declined 99.3%, the opossum population 98.9%, and the bobcat population 87.5%, the researchers reported.

Those animals are often found in the stomachs of Burmese pythons captured in the Everglades, the researchers said.

“The magnitude of these declines underscores the apparent incredible density of pythons in Everglades National Park,” said lead author Michael Dorcas, a biology professor at Davidson College in North Carolina.

To measure the population declines, researchers traveled more than 39,000 miles at night along roads in the park between 2003 and 2011, counting both live animals and road kills. Their data were compared to similar counts made along the same roads in 1996 and 1997, before the Burmese pythons had become an established species in the park.

In northern areas of the park, where python populations have not become established, the researchers found similar mammal numbers between their recent and older surveys. But in the area where the pythons have recently become established, the researches reported a noticeable decline in mammal numbers. They called for action before the pythons wipe out mammals in the entire park.

“Right now, the only hope to halt further python invasion into new areas is swift, decisive, and deliberate human action,” McNutt said.

Burmese pythons are native to southeast Asia, their range extending from southern China to the Malay Archipelago, according to the National Zoo. The snakes reach breeding age in four to five years and a female lays an average of 35 eggs during the spring breeding season, though one snake may lay up to 100. Burmese pythons can live as long as 30 years.

In their native range, the snakes are considered threatened and are hunted by humans for their meat and skins, according to the National Zoo.

They may grow up to 22 feet long but average about 16 feet. The snakes can swallow whole animals four or five times the size of their head. In the Everglades, the pythons have been found to eat deer and even alligators.

While the researchers are concerned about the fate of the raccoons and the opossums, they say they may not even be able to measure the snakes' effect on more elusive species.

“Such severe declines in easily seen mammals bode poorly for the many species of conservation concern that are more difficult to sample but that may also be vulnerable to python predation,” Dorcas said in a statement.

The researchers compared the proliferation of pythons in Florida to that of the brown tree snake on the Pacific island of Guam, where native species have disappeared since the introduction of the snakes. But they said it's happening faster in Florida.

“It took 30 years for the brown tree snake to be implicated in the nearly complete disappearance of mammals and birds on Guam; it has apparently taken only 11 years since pythons were recognized as being established in the Everglades for researchers to implicate pythons in the same kind of severe mammal declines,” U.S. Geological Survey scientist Robert Reed said in the report.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service instituted a ban on the importation of the Burmese python and three other nonnative constrictor snakes - the yellow anaconda and northern and southern African pythons.

But the researchers say they'll still need to do more.

“This severe decline in mammals is of significant concern to the overall health of the park’s large and complex ecosystem,” Everglades National Park Superintendent Dan Kimball said in a statement. “We will continue to enhance our efforts to control and manage the non-native python and to better understand the impacts on the park.”

The latest research was published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Other stories you might be interested in:

Hunting snakes in Florida

Tylenol-spiked mice air-dropped to kill snakes

Post by:
Filed under: Animals • Florida • Snakes
Gotta Watch: When animals steal the spotlight
WJW's P.J. Ziegler interviews a Ohio cow about the comforts of a waterbed.
January 20th, 2012
06:10 AM ET

Gotta Watch: When animals steal the spotlight

If CNN affiliate WJW showed us anything, it’s that animals can easily captivate any audience. After a day of hard news from around the globe or in the political arena, sometimes you just want a cow on a waterbed, right? But luckily for their reporter, these farm animals didn’t turn on him and ruin his live shot. The same can’t be said for some journalists who found out the hard way that animals love to steal the spotlight. Laugh all you want at these videos but heed their warning: humans aren’t the only ones who crave attention.

Friendly dog overwhelms reporter — Poor Randene Neill. All she wanted to do was help out a few shelter dogs in need of a good home. Of course, she didn’t realize her friendly gesture would be taken too enthusiastically. While Neill tries to speak with the shelter owner, Ginger the dog ignores modern conventions of restraint and lavishes her love on the reporter the only way she knows how: licking.

FULL POST

Post by:
Filed under: Animals • Camels • Dogs • Gotta Watch • Snakes
Gotta Watch: Weird stuff hidden in pants
A woman is jailed for stealing a fur coat and hiding it under her skirt.
November 9th, 2011
11:05 AM ET

Gotta Watch: Weird stuff hidden in pants

It’s not uncommon for shoplifters to hide merchandise by stuffing it into their pants. You’ve Gotta Watch how far some thieves take this tactic to the extreme.

Fur coat follies – Police say one woman tried to steal a fur coat by stuffing it into her underwear. She was arrested for shoplifting, but she was in jail for three days before she told cops that she still had the coat on her. In this video, not only do you see her stuff the coat in her panties, but you also see her pull it out for police... three days later!

FULL POST

Post by:
Filed under: Birds • Gotta Watch • Snakes
Gotta Watch: Big - REALLY big - critters
If you think the 13-foot, 900 pound gator this Massachusetts woman caught is exceptionally large, wait until you see what a group of villagers caught in the Philippines.
September 7th, 2011
10:01 AM ET

Gotta Watch: Big - REALLY big - critters

Few things are as intriguing as uber large animals. Sure you've seen big dogs or cats, but we're talking about HUGE, rare creatures that make you want to do a double take. It's all on the heels of our most popular video yesterday, featuring footage of a one-ton crocodile. In case you missed it, it's at the end of our blog, but you've gotta watch other ginormous land and sea creatures.
FULL POST

Post by:
Filed under: Alligators • Animals • Gotta Watch • Sharks • Snakes
Gotta Watch: Anchors and animals
An anchorman teases a weatherman with a large spider and scares his co-worker out of the studio.
September 2nd, 2011
10:47 AM ET

Gotta Watch: Anchors and animals

Broadcast journalists are seasoned professionals, but even they can get unnerved, especially when animals are involved. You've gotta watch how nature tackles television personalities with tons of humor.
FULL POST

Post by:
Filed under: Animals • Gotta Watch • Showbiz • Snakes • TV
Gotta Watch: Windshield worries
A horse leaps onto a moving vehicle, startling the driver.
August 1st, 2011
10:53 AM ET

Gotta Watch: Windshield worries

Driving can be dangerous, but it's not just distracted drivers or speeding-ticket dodgers that makes it so tricky. Sometimes road hazards can turn into near-death experiences. A piece of wood can become a dangerous projectile or a sneaky snake could ruin your summer travel plans. You've gotta watch how these windshield worries more than interrupted a few road trips.
FULL POST

Post by:
Filed under: Animals • Gotta Watch • Snakes • Travel
Slippery Bronx Zoo snake gets a name
The snake that went missing for several days at the Bronx Zoo has gained a name after a public vote.
April 7th, 2011
12:43 PM ET

Slippery Bronx Zoo snake gets a name

The Egyptian cobra that turned into a media darling after its escape and subsequent capture at the Bronx Zoo was named Mia on Thursday after a public vote. The name is a play on the several days it was "missing in action."

FULL STORY
Post by:
Filed under: Animals • New York • Snakes
Gotta Watch: Snake Week
The Bronx Zoo will announce the winning name for the Egyptian cobra.
April 7th, 2011
12:12 PM ET

Gotta Watch: Snake Week

Okay, it's not officially "Snake Week" here at CNN, but it sure feels like it. Eyes have been glued to the story about the missing (and now found) snake at the Bronx Zoo and now, another snake story has emerged. Here are some of our favorite videos and interviews from our unofficial "Snake Week."

Scaly bathroom buddy? - One man got an unexpected, early morning surprise when he headed into his bathroom. Nestled on his heating vent was a coiled, three-foot boa constrictor.

FULL POST

Post by:
Filed under: Gotta Watch • Snakes
Snake on a train: The payback
Penelope the snake rode among the strap-hangers on Boston's T Red Line for a month.
February 24th, 2011
07:26 AM ET

Snake on a train: The payback

When Melissa Moorhouse got on a Red Line subway train in Boston on January 7, her pet snake, Penelope, was coiled cozily under her scarf.

When Moorhouse got off the train, Penelope, a Dumeril's boa, stayed behind, hiding somewhere in the car, CNN affiliate WCVB-TV reported.

A month passed before another passenger reported seeing a snake on the "T," as the Metropolitan Boston Transit Authority system is called. After another search, Penelope was found, safe and sound, and returned to Moorhouse.

But that's not all the T folks had for Moorhouse. This week she received a $650 bill, she told the station.

"To rid the subway car of any traces of germs such as salmonella, which may have been left by your snake, MBTA maintenance crews had to scrub and disinfect the Red Line car in which your snake was found," MBTA Treasurer-Controller Wesley Wallace wrote to Moorhouse.

Moorhouse didn't think she deserved the bill.

"I understand sanitizing the train, but shouldn't that be done anyway?" she told WCVB. "A lot of different people with a lot of different sicknesses are on that train. People throw up on the train, people bleed on the train. Do they have to pay to get it cleaned?"

The MBTA told Moorhouse she should use a pet carrier if she carries the snake on a train again.

Post by:
Filed under: Animals • Massachusetts • Snakes • U.S.