Climate Change

Three Words: Giant. Burmese. Pythons.

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a pig and a python

Just when you thought global warming scare stories couldn't go any farther over the top:

This USA Today headline:

Pythons could squeeze lower third of USA

This lede:

As climate change warms the nation, giant Burmese pythons could colonize one-third of the USA, from San Francisco across the Southwest, Texas and the South and up north along the Virginia coast, according to U.S. Geological Survey maps released Wednesday.

The pythons can be 20 feet long and 250 pounds. They are highly adaptable to new environments.

And this, from the last paragraph:

The Burmese python is not poisonous and not considered a danger to humans. Attacks on humans have involved pet owners who mishandle and misfeed the snakes

Via The Weekly Standard

For more reason on global warming, go here. For more almost-but-not-quite-relevant stories, read Kerry Howley on Burma

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  1. OK, that’s twice today. When did “lede” become acceptable?

  2. This is so cool!

    I expect the burgeoning Burmese python population will have an impact on the “small yapping dog” population and the “too many cats running around stinking up people’s yards” population in ways that will meet with my approval.

    When they get big enough, the pythons might be able to make a dent in the suburban white-tail deer population too.

    I’m still waiting for global warming to trigger the return of the dinosaurs, though. That would be ultra-mega cool.

  3. i’m guessing a new addition to southern cuisine.

  4. “Lede” is common and long-established in-jargon among journalists for “lead” (as in “lead of the story”). It’s spelled funny so that editors don’t mistakenly assume the word “Lead” is actually supposed to be the first word of the story, in notations like this:

    Lead: Which is hotter, global warming or libertarian women?

  5. Stevo, you forgot about rats and mice. We could use fewer of those.

  6. this is nothing new. I used to live in Vegas. Large pythons were in the news, usually having been found on golf courses, every couple of months.

  7. I for one, welcome our new python overlords.

    I’ll just get my coat…

  8. If only they shot killer bees out of their mouth that were malarial. Then we’d have a global warming scare trifecta.

  9. OMG, are these Burmese Pythons gonna take my job?

  10. Are they going to swim from Burma?

  11. SHARK! PYTHON!

  12. Thats nothing… wait til America see’s my pythons

  13. twistedmerkin | February 22, 2008, 3:42pm | #
    OMG, are these Burmese Pythons gonna take my job?

    Twisted..your job is to consume small yapping dogs, and stinky cats?

    … or are you a lawyer?

  14. They did a tongue-in-cheek article about this in SFGate. But the humor was too subtle for the current age – there were more readers who raked the writer over the coals for stupidity and scaremongering than those who got the joke.

  15. Is it offensive (I hope, I hope) to their native government to call them Burmese, wouldn’t they prefer Myanmarese Pythons?

  16. Everyone on this thread needs to get their asses onto APPLE.COM to check out the trailer for the latest Shammallammading-dong movie, “The Happening”. It is all about climate disaster a’la Global Warming, and contains the most hilarious Mark Wahlberg line ever … “What’s happening with the bees?”

    Anyway, this Python development is only slightly less frightening than Manbearpig.

  17. “…The snakes weigh up to 250 pounds and slither at a rate of 20 miles per month, according to USGS zoologist Gordon Rodda. They are not staying put. In fact, one of them has already slithered about 100 miles toward San Francisco…

    “We have not yet identified something that would stop their spreading to the Bay Area,” Rodda said.

    The Burmese python is one of several nonnative giant constrictor snakes – believed to be former pets – that have been introduced and then established themselves in Florida’s Everglades National Park. Biologists estimate 30,000 nonnative giant snakes live in the Everglades, perhaps more. Some have begun appearing in areas outside the park, alarming biologists and also people who don’t care for snakes.

    The snake that managed to slither 100 miles turned up on the shore of Lake Okeechobee in south central Florida. Another python made it as far as Vero Beach, Fla., on the Atlantic coast. Vero Beach is the spring training site for the Los Angeles Dodgers, but the team has not reported any casualties, although its pitching staff could use help…”

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/02/21/MNABV5PP3.DTL

  18. KD wins the thread!

  19. So, carry a pistol loaded with snake rounds. What’s the problem?

    -jcr

  20. for the lawyer thing

  21. When did “lede” become acceptable?

    It’s been acceptable in journalism circles for more than 50 years.
    Also, “graf” for paragraph.
    “Cutline” for caption.
    “Hed” for headline, “subhed” for sub-headline.
    “Hammer” for big headline.
    “Byline” for the reporter’s name.
    “Tag” for reporter’s contact info at end of story.
    “Pullquote” for quote in a story that’s blown up and embedded in the text.
    Don’t worry about these and other scary journalism words. Just leave them to us professionals.
    😉

  22. Jay D | February 22, 2008, 3:55pm | #
    KD wins the thread!

    Jay D if it was because of the lawyer crack, I don’t deserve it – too easy… but thanks anyway!

    (I was typing the above when I ‘previewed’ and saw your “for the lawyer thing”)

  23. The Burmese python is not poisonous and not considered a danger to humans. Attacks on humans have involved pet owners who mishandle and misfeed the snakes

    Sort of. You won’t want to leave any small children laying about.

  24. I’m still waiting for the killer bee’s they said we were going to have back in the early ’90s. Where are they?

  25. Damn good eatin’!

  26. I’m still waiting for the killer bee’s they said we were going to have back in the early ’90s. Where are they?

    They read Chomsky.

  27. What, no “Snakes on a Plane” jokes yet?

  28. What, no “Snakes on a Plane” jokes yet?

    I was charged double by Northwestern Airlines after the ticket lady got one good look at my schlong.

  29. “I was charged double by Northwestern Airlines after the ticket lady got one good look at my schlong.”

    You refer to your mother as “my schlong”?

  30. Cesar,

    Check out Wikipedia’s entry on “Africanized Bees.”

    Neat map.

    Short answer: Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, California, Nevada…

  31. Ok, thanks joe I haven’t heard much about them since then. I guess they aren’t as horrible as they made them out to be?

  32. You refer to your mother as “my schlong”?

    Ever try to get your mother off? It’s not easy. So I call her what she wants me to call her.

  33. Cesar,

    Like with all immigrants, the bees calmed down after screwing the natives for a few generations.

  34. I fucking hate snakes, dammit. I hate them.

  35. Cesar,

    AFAICT, pure Africanized bees are pretty nasty, but the hybrids are just fine.

  36. “Snakes … why’d it have to be snakes.”

  37. CAPTION CUTLINE CONTEST!

    Lookie’ Clem! I caught me onna’ dem’ long, squirmy horny-toads!

  38. CUTLINE CONTEST!

    “Officer Smith of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office shows off the department’s newest addition to the prisoners’ menu.”

  39. “too many cats running around stinking up people’s yards” population in ways that will meet with my approval.

    Speak for yourself. My current big tom cat (he looks like a mini-panther) has in the last few years apprehended and executed two copperheads, and several garden snakes, rats and other assorted vermin. He earns every scrap I give him.

    I used to have a cat that was a Satanist who mistook me for her lord. One morning when I went to fetch the paper, I was greeted with a nicely eviserated rabbit laying on its back with its skin and fur carefully pulled back revealing its internal organs. She
    had also dipped her paw in the rabbit’s blood and formed a pentagram around the sacrifice.

    Okay, that very last part didn’t actually happen, but still that cat kind of worried me.

  40. Kraft introduces Snake ‘n’ Bake.

  41. CUTLINE CONTEST!

    Photo of the late Officer Taylor taken just before real life re-creation of the Gadsden Flag went awry.

  42. While in high school, i worked at a pet store that sold Burmese pythons. Plenty of the other types of constrictors would bite if handled, but the Burmese were all pretty much the most laid-back snakes in the place, aside from doing hell to the occasional rabbit. I got one of them out once to show to a pretty girl and it totally wrapped its tail around her crotch. Awesome!

  43. My favorite was on foxnews.com, the main photo was a bunch of skyscrapers with the headline across it:

    “MEGACITIES: Is your hometown next?”

    followed by:

    ‘metro areas threaten to become urban beehives. experts predict world population explosion will swallow suburbs and create many more megacities of 10 million or more.’

    Will this scourge show no mercy??

  44. African honey bees don’t lose their aggressive behaviours when mixed with european honey bees. African honey bees have now been found in Ca.,Nv,. Az., N.M., Tx., Ok., Ar., La., and south and central Florida. There were reports last year of a few specimens found near Mobile, Al. but no established colonies were verified there.
    Incidentally, if a beekeeper learns the correct way to keep african bees, they produce about six times as much honey as european bees.
    Or maybe we should import some of those giant japanese wasps to eat them all.

    Concerning the article, I predict an exploding market in Florida for snakeskin clothes and such. What could be more life affirming than a giant python cod-piece?

  45. …”Snakes on a Plane Plain”…

    Happy now?

  46. What, no “Snakes on a Plane” jokes yet?

    Dammit, I just got here… give me time!

  47. CUTLINE CONTEST!

    “Two months later, Officer Johnson left his wife for a younger woman and bought an even bigger truck.”

  48. CUTLINE CONTEST:

    “Don’t Tase me, boa!”

  49. I have had it with these motherfucking snakes in the motherfucking Great Plains!

  50. This reminds me of an old Cajun joke:

    Two old Cajun men are sitting on the front porch drinking whisky when, suddenly, they see a flying saucer land. A staircase descends, and 3 4-foot green creatures step out. The one in front approaches the two men on the porch.

    “Shleet zhow mik hwat wow dugau melikt,” he says.
    “What da hell wa’ dat?” says one of the men.
    “I dunno,” says the other, “but you bedda start da roux.”

  51. So, KMW, this “global warming scare story” was put out by the United States Geological Survey.

    Still waiting on a reason why they’re wrong.

  52. Stevo:
    Threadwinner.

  53. Thank you, Jamie, but KD was already named threadwinner.

    This is what happens when the judges decide before all the entries are in.

  54. When did “lede” become acceptable?

    “Lead” is what you pour into a Linotype machine.

  55. The GW shark has not only been jumped, it can no longer be seen in the rearview mirror.

    It no longer matters which facts are correct, what the reasonable level of fear or concern should be, who’s right and who’s in denial – these stories have grown so numerous that most Americans don’t believe in GW as a realistic danger and who the fuck can blame them.

    Me, I quit worrying about GW when I read the report about the scientist who said humanity will be decimated except maybe for, in the most optimistic scenario, a few “breeding pairs” left in near the Arctic. He seemed to so relish using the term “breeding pairs” in relation to humans that I thought – that’s it, it’s turned into climate porn, and I no longer give a crap.

    The fact that the UN climate warriors keep winging their way to Bali to deal with the clear and present danger doesn’t really help either.

  56. “Snakes … why’d it have to be snakes.”

    C’mon, show a little backbone.

  57. http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1176967,00.html

    Poll: Americans See a Climate Problem

    Sunday, Mar. 26, 2006 Article

    A large majority of Americans – 85% – say global warming is probably happening, according to a new TIME magazine/ABC News/Stanford University poll. An even larger percentage (88%) think global warming threatens future generations. More than half (60%) say it threatens them a great deal; 38% feel that global warming is already a serious problem, and 47% feel that it will be in the future.

    It’s just you, stubby.

  58. The Harris Poll. Oct. 16-23, 2007. N=1,052 adults nationwide. MoE ? 3 (for all adults).

    “Do you believe the theory that increased carbon dioxide and other gases released into the atmosphere will, if unchecked, lead to global warming and an increase in average temperatures?”

    .

    Yes No Unsure
    % % %
    10/16-23/07
    71 23 6
    9/19-23/02
    74 19 7

  59. Can’t believe no one has said:

    CRIKEY !!!

  60. KD | February 22, 2008, 4:00pm | #

    Jay D | February 22, 2008, 3:55pm | #
    KD wins the thread!

    Jay D if it was because of the lawyer crack, I don’t deserve it – too easy… but thanks anyway!

    (I was typing the above when I ‘previewed’ and saw your “for the lawyer thing”)!

    Stevo Darkly | February 22, 2008, 5:08pm | #
    CUTLINE CONTEST:

    “Don’t Tase me, boa!”

    Jamie Kelly | February 22, 2008, 5:13pm | #
    Stevo:
    Threadwinner.

    Stevo Darkly | February 22, 2008, 5:14pm | #
    Thank you, Jamie, but KD was already named threadwinner.

    This is what happens when the judges decide before all the entries are in.

    Stevo: I happily acknowledge (bowing respectfully) your win of the thread – can I do that? I’ve never played the thread contest before…? Forgive me if it is against the unspoken cultural customs of blogs.

    I agree, all entries were not in, and the “lawyer” thing should only win if there’s nothing more creative … it’s sooooo easy using lawyers.

  61. Ah, a quick survey of this thread demonstrates that a) Hit & Run readers and long-toothed contributors are still obsessed with statistically unimportant polls (It’s the polls, stupid!) and b) people will get riled about anything. Get a room, people.

  62. Under the “better late than never” category …

    Jay D (re giving me the win of the thread for the “lawyer thing”).

    “Don’t tease me bro…

  63. Cutline Contest:

    “Where are you taking me, ya crazy snake?!?!”

  64. joe, you’re not even trying any more. Don’t mistake that for a complaint, BTW.

    “After their tender and loving tryst, the snake put on his jacket and left. Officer Jenkins hid his tears.”

  65. joe:

    Poll: Americans See a Climate Problem

    Sunday, Mar. 26, 2006 Article

    Cool. I got one, too:

    Americans do not believe that humans evolved, and the vast majority says that even if they evolved, God guided the process. Just 13 percent say that God was not involved.

  66. They are highly adaptable to new environments.

    Hmph, clearly not. Apparently they require a warm climate, hence the link to Global Warming(tm). What I infer from this story is that if Global Cooling(tm) were still de rigeur, their habitat would be shrinking and the headline would be:

    Burmese Python Losing Grip Due to Man-made Climate Change

  67. The Burmese python is not poisonous and not considered a danger to humans. Attacks on humans have involved pet owners who mishandle and misfeed the snakes

    To suggest that we invited the attacks because we were mishandling and misfeeding the snakes — I’ve heard a lot of strange ideas about what caused the python attacks, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard that one before. As someone who lived through the python attacks, I don’t ever want to see that happen again. So I ask the reporter to withdraw his comment and say that he really didn’t mean that.

  68. A large majority of Americans – 85% – say global warming is probably happening,…

    Goddamit, joe, a large majority of Americans believe that we were literally created by an invisible sky friend who breathed life into dirt.

    And a huge number of Americans in Florida in the year 2000 were unable to properly mark their ballots for their choice of President.

    It has been many, many years since I considered that what the majority of Americans believed was something I needed to consider.

  69. In other words, joe, do you really want to make science a matter of majority rule?

  70. Incidentally, if a beekeeper learns the correct way to keep african bees, they produce about six times as much honey as european bees.

    Yeah, but can African bees carry more coconuts than European bees??

    😉

  71. In other words, joe, do you really want to make science a matter of majority rule?

    The way joe natters on about the almighty , if imaginary, Consensus, I believe the answer would be yes. Yes, he does.

  72. “‘A large majority of Americans – 85% – say global warming is probably happening,…’

    “Goddamit, joe, a large majority of Americans believe that we were literally created by an invisible sky friend who breathed life into dirt.”

    Well, in that case:

    A majority of Americans: 2
    H&R posters: 0

  73. Goddamit, joe, a large majority of Americans believe that we were literally created by an invisible sky friend … It has been many, many years since I considered that what the majority of Americans believed was something I needed to consider.

    In all fairness, joe was responding to someone’s assertion that global warming had “jumped the shark” and that “most Americans” don’t believe it’s a danger. It wasn’t an argument about the merits of global warming theories themselves; it was about the extent to which Americans embrace them.

  74. Burms in San Francisco – that’ll be the day.
    Global warming might extend their habitat, but it never will extend it that far. If a Burm’s body temp drops below about 70 degrees, they have a tendency to get very sick – and eventually die. SF is in the 50s-60s most of the year, wouldn’t take long before the poor pythons were wheezing and couldn’t come out to play anymore.

    But that article in SFGate was hysterical!

  75. “SF is in the 50s-60s most of the year, wouldn’t take long before the poor pythons were wheezing and couldn’t come out to play anymore.”

    And as temperatures increase?

    Well I am pretty sure new uses for large pythons will be found in SF.

  76. “Well I am pretty sure new uses for large pythons will be found in SF.”

    manbags?

  77. joe, I’ve had my share of complaints about Reason’s science coverage, but you’re just being ridiculous here. The point of this blog post is to make jokes about giant snakes. Get with the program.

  78. And economist wins the thread with the last word!

  79. Cutline:

    Border Patrol officer displays the newest weapon in the Patrol’s arsenal for searching and clearing trans-border tunnels.

  80. THOREAU WINS THE THREAD WITH THE LAST WORD!

  81. Hey Mininon dude…

    I didn’t know you could win a thread just by using …THE LAST WORD…

    (apply STAPLES advertising phrase “That was easy” here)

    Gosh…!

  82. KD LOSES THE THREAD WITH THE WORD AFTER DECLARATION. MR. STEVEN CRANE SHALL BITE HIS OWN TAINT IN DEMONSTRATION OF HOW NAUGHTY THAT IS.

    WHILE LISTENING TO YOUR THIRD ALBUM, MS LANG.

  83. Minion dude…

    That naughty? … Ouch!

    And FYI I used to actually Consort with Albertans. Some were absolutely torchy, some twangy, most just drove tractors.

    Win thread – lose thread – taint important! Taint more important than thread!

  84. I’d like the snakes removed, thank you very much. First one I see in my backyard is getting El Machete.

  85. Wonder how many boots you can make from one of this things? I need a new pair of boots.

  86. I used to have a cat that was a Satanist who mistook me for her lord.

    I think you misinterpreted the situation.

    A dog looks at the person who provides everything he needs and says, “You are my god.”

    A cat looks at the person who provides everything he needs and says, “I am your god.”

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