Monthly Archives: July 2015

18 foot, 3 inch Burmese python captured in the Everglades

In the Florida Everglades, University of Florida wildlife biologist Ed Metzger captured a female Burmese python that measured 18 feet, 3 inches, just a few inches shorter than the longest python captured in the Everglades in 2013. At 133 pounds, the recent capture was 5 pounds heavier than the 2013 snake. A necropsy confirmed the female hadn’t laid eggs in at least a year. The species is not native to the Everglades, but it is fundamentally altering the ecosystem after pet snakes were released in the area. The Miami Herald (tiered subscription model) (7/29), NBC News (7/29)

2,000 year old feline footprint found in ancient tile

An archaeologist discovered a paw print from a cat in a 2,000-year-old roof tile found in Gloucester, England. The tile was recovered in 1969 but the print was only recently identified. The tegula tile dried in the sun, but not before a cat walked across it. Footprints from dogs, humans and even a pig have been found in ancient tiles, but cat prints are uncommon. BBC (7/28)

Milwaukee’s big cat could be tip of state’s exotic-animal iceberg

Officials in Wisconsin continue to search for a big cat, with at least 14 sightings reported by Milwaukee-area residents over the weekend. Experts say it would be unsurprising if the animal turns out to be a pet, as Wisconsin is one of only six states with no state law prohibiting the ownership of such animals. USDA-licensed exhibitors and rescues say the state’s lack of regulations could lead to an influx of pets from states with oversight, increasing the number of possibly dangerous animals in Wisconsin. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (tiered subscription model) (7/27)

Armadillos implicated in Florida leprosy reports

Nine people have been diagnosed with leprosy so far this year in Florida, a state that typically averages 10 cases a year, and the cases reportedly involved animal exposure. The disease, also called Hansen’s disease, is carried by armadillos and spreads among humans via droplets. The slow-growing bacteria is easily treated with antibiotics, but without treatment, it can cause permanent damage. Disease expert Richard Truman urged people not to worry. He said many people are immune to the disease, and cases are rare considering how many people are exposed to armadillos

Scientists navigate complex turtle reproduction to save species

All of the 89 eggs laid by a 100-year-old Yangtze giant softshell turtle, the last female of her kind in existence, were infertile, according to the Turtle Survival Alliance. It was an experiment in reproduction, and the group, which inseminated the animal in the hopes of keeping the species going, will continue to explore the complex science of softshell turtles and try again later this year. “We’re flying blind here. We’re kind of learning as we go,” said alliance President Rick Hudson. ScientificAmerican.com (7/22)