I don’t like snakes, but I love snake stories. While reading the April 20, 2009 edition of The New Yorker, however, I learned one potential Tennessee snake story that absolutely gives me the chills: Burmese pythons, which can grow to 20 feet or longer, have established themselves in South Florida, and could, over time, make their way to Tennessee.
The photo above is a python held by Skip Snow, a wildlife biologist in Everglades National Park, who is quoted extensively in The New Yorker piece, which was written by Burkhard Bilger. You can hear Bilger talking about his article here.
Here’s the scary part, with my emphasis: “Roughly a third of the contiguous United States lies within the python’s range, they (US Geological Survey zoologists) concluded, including all the Southern states and large portions of Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, and California.”
I hope I never live to see that day. The pythons are apparently very adaptable critters, and one wonders how the Holiness church snake handlers of East Tennessee and elsewhere will adapt to these monsters. All I can say is that if I ever to come face to face with a Burmese python in the wild–Tennessee or anywhere else–I will most assuredly start talking in tongues on the spot.
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