Burmese Pythons in Florida Frequently Asked Questions
The breeding population of Burmese pythons is found in south Florida throughout Everglades National Park, Southern Glades Wildlife and Environmental Area and Everglades and Francis S. Taylor Wildlife Management Area, and Big Cypress National Preserve. Recently pythons have been observed in southwest Florida in Collier-Seminole State Park, Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and adjacent areas.
Individual pythons have been reported in several cities around Florida outside of south and southwest Florida, but these individuals are likely escaped or released pets and not part of the breeding population.
Burmese pythons are frequently found in or near the water, although they are capable of climbing. Occasionally, pythons are seen in the water during warm months, but most pythons are found crossing roads at night during summer and fall.
During cooler months, Burmese pythons can be found on levees along the edge of canals. On cool mornings, pythons will often lay in the edge of vegetation on the eastern side of canals; after warming up, they will move away from the edges later in the day.
Breeding takes place from January through April. In these months, females and males can be found together in the fringe of vegetation on the edge of canals with permanent water. Breeding females are typically larger than males; after laying eggs, females will guard the "nest" for weeks until hatching.
Burmese pythons of all sizes have been found in the Everglades. The largest snake was over 18 feet long and weighed over 100 pounds. Most Burmese pythons in Florida are between 6 and 10 feet long, and as adults, are larger than almost all native snakes. In their native range, Burmese pythons commonly reach 18 feet, and the largest specimens exceed 20 feet.
Burmese pythons are native to Asia, from eastern India through Vietnam and southern China. They are not found in extreme southern Thailand, Myanmar or Western Malaysia, but occur on the islands of Java, Bali, Sumbawa and a small part of Sulawesi.
Burmese pythons are not native to Florida and are considered to be an invasive species due to their impacts to native wildlife. This species is not protected in Florida except by anti-cruelty law. Pythons can be killed on private property with landowner permission and can also be killed year-round and without a permit on 25 public lands in south Florida. The FWC encourages people to humanely kill wild caught pythons whenever possible.
The Burmese python is an invasive species which negatively impacts native wildlife in and around the Everglades ecosystem in south Florida, and the FWC encourages the public to get involved. There are several ways people can participate, from knowing how to send credible reports of pythons to the FWC to direct removal of pythons from the wild. To read about getting involved with removal efforts for Burmese pythons and other nonnative species, visit our Get Involved web page.