New trap designed to catch Everglades Burmese pythons will be tested by USDA

    MIAMI (AP) -- Federal wildlife officials alarmed by the spread of Burmese pythons across Florida's Everglades are trying to figure out if the large, heavy snakes can be lured into specially designed traps.

   The U.S. Department of Agriculture has received a patent for a trap to catch the invasive species from southeast Asia. Pythons don't have many predators in Florida, and researchers believe they're decimating populations of native mammals in swampland.

   The trap resembles a long, thin cage of steel mesh with a net at one end.

   The National Wildlife Research Center's Gainesville field station is preparing to test the traps by baiting them with the scent of mammals such as rats.

Photo by USDA Wildlife Services

"Though the trap is based on a standard live trap design, the Large Reptile Trap is the first to require two trip pans to be depressed at the same time in order to close the trap door. The pans are spaced such that non-target animals are unlikely to trigger the trap," said NWRC wildlife biologist and trap inventor John Humphrey in a news release.

   Pythons can grow up to 20 feet long. Florida's population of Burmese pythons likely developed from pets released into the wild.

Photo by USDA Wildlife Services

The wptv.com web team contributed to this report

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