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Snow in Florida: Big chill culling unwanted iguanas and pythons

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“We have calls coming in about iguanas dropping from trees and landing on people’s windshields … [but] the best thing to do with the iguanas is let nature take its course, since it’s the only way to help control this population,” says Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokeswoman Gabriella Ferraro, adding that the iguanas “shouldn’t even be here.”

Python explosion in the Everglades

Florida’s big chill also plays into one of the biggest Florida stories last year: The controversy over the explosion of the Burmese python in and around Everglades National Park, and whether it should lead to a national ban on some exotic pets.

After Florida Sen. Bill Nelson (D) brought a massive python hide to Congress to highlight the up to 150,000 large non-native snakes plying the swamps and threatening the ecosystem and even humans, the state last summer introduced its first-ever python bounty hunt, which has had limited success in pushing back the extremely reclusive and hard-to-find snakes. (Read a Monitor article about the python bounty hunt here.)

But Friday the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission put out a press release urging hunters to use the cold to help them find the pythons. The animals are likely to be forced by the cold to come out of their hiding places and find sunny spots – along roads and levees – to bask.

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