WUFT News

Gainesville Researcher’s Python Trap Could Be Used In The Everglades

By on November 1st, 2013

A wildlife biologist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Research Center in Gainesville is conducting testing using a special trap he designed to capture pythons in Florida.

John Humphrey designed the trap to eliminate raccoons, or any other small mammals. The trap can only capture large constrictor snakes in South Florida because native snakes are too small set off the trap.

“By developing the trap with the two trip pans that have to be pressed at the same time, otherwise the trap stays set, we hope that when we get to the field that it will exclude these non-target species which include both native snakes and small mammals,” Humphrey said.

Pythons in the Florida Everglades are threatening native species, he said.

“They compete with native wildlife for food resources. And they have been shown to feed on the Key Largo wood rat, which is an endangered species,” Humphrey said. “So it’s a prey competition; they’re competing with our native wildlife for food items and that’s the largest problem.”

The traps could be used in the wild now, but they have not officially been used in the field to capture pythons.

“When our collaborators in South Florida request these for use, we will give them to them,” he said.

Humphrey plans on continuing testing the traps using pythons and pheromones. He also aims to test if the trap can be used on other reptile species, like the black and white Argentine tegus and Nile monitors.

The trap will work on the reptiles, Humphrey thinks, because they have long, heavy bodies, like pythons.

The trap may still need adjustments.

“It’s not a silver bullet. It’s just another tool in the tool box that you would have to use to try to fix the problem,” he said.

The trap’s potential impact in the Everglades is unknown until more research is done in Gainesville, Humphrey said.

Five pythons, ranging in age, are being used in the study. They were all found wild in the Everglades.

Related: Florida’s python problem continues after amateur hunters, attention fade away


This entry was posted in Environment and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Environment

The redbay ambrosia beetle, Xyleborus glabratus, killed by a fungus founded by a team of UF researchers in order to stop the spread of laurel wilt, a disease that kills several tree species.

Solution Found For Disease Threatening Avocado Production

UF Researchers and researchers from the Tropical Research and Education Center, USDA and the Indian River Research and Education Center in Fort Pierce have found an alternate way to control the spread of Laurel wilt, a disease that threatens Florida’s avocado industry.


This octagon-based receptacle, which looks as if its been opened, sits in front of Dragonfly Sushi in downtown Gainesville. Morgan Kalish, a downtown worker, smokes a cigarette as he walks by it on Monday morning.

Cigarette Receptacles Making Impact Downtown

The local Cigarette Litter Prevention Program is seeing success after the installation of more than two dozen cigarette receptacles in the downtown area. The program hopes to expand into midtown, despite vandalization by the homeless.


Skeletonization of a Gainesville air potato leaf shows why the air potato beetle is considered one of the most successful biocontrol approaches in recent decades compared to other projects — current or past.

Plant-Eating Beetle: Cheapest Way To Kill Weeds

The FWC has seen recent success in controlling invasive plants that overrun Florida with the use of air potato beetles, and other beetle species.


Cedar Key School’s Future Farmers Of America Chapter Fights Local Hunger

Students from Cedar Key School, a public K-12 school, vow to fight hunger in Levy County by cultivating land at the school to provide fresh, healthy food. The school donated 7,000 pounds of fresh food to the Cedar Key United Methodist Church Food Pantry.


The town’s water tank lies behind a barbed chain link fence in the forest, across from Otter Creek Baptist Church. When the water is stored, the contaminants accumulate because it sits in the pipes and doesn’t circulate.

Water Contamination Problems Persist In Otter Creek

Otter Creek’s search to buy land acquisition with a source of clean water may lead to an end to the town’s ongoing water-contamination issues.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments