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Joyce joined The Tampa Tribune as senior editor for metro in 2005 and later helped launch TBO.com’s continuous news desk. He has worked as an editor and reporter in Arizona, Kentucky, Virginia, Idaho and Stuart, Fla. Email
Scullin has worked for The Tampa Tribune since 2005, directing news coverage in Pasco County and serving as the paper’s Sunday editor. He has worked as an editor and reporter in Lakeland, Sarasota, North Carolina and California. Email
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Number of the day, 140: legal burmese python owners in Florida
Posted Nov 15, 2011 by Dennis Joyce
Updated Nov 15, 2011 at 01:25 PM
If you’re a fan of “Swamp Wars” on the Animal Planet network, or you’ve seen news accounts about their exploding population, you’d think invasive burmese pythons outnumber retirees in the Sunshine State.
There are indeed lots of them in the wild.
At up to 23 feet long and 200 pounds, each can wreak havoc on the Florida environment.
And all but a few are outlaws.
In fact, only 140 people or businesses hold licenses statewide from the Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission to keep these particular critters.
You need a license from the state to keep any “reptile of concern,” as they’re called, and “burmese/Indian python” is one of seven ROC classes. Others include reticulated pythons, green anacondas and Nile monitors.
More license holders live in Miami-Dade than any other Florida County, not surprisingly.
Hillsborough County has 11, including the Lowry Park Zoo and a guy who lives on Manhattan Avenue.
And click here to read a scholarly paper about the invasion of the burmese pythons, produced by people who know - from the University of Florida.