There's nothing like a release from the U.S. Geological Survey headlined "Report Documents the Risks of Giant Invasive Snakes in the U.S." to get your attention. (Unless it's "Osama bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S." But we digress.)
Bottom line: Look out Texas, we got giant pythons and boa constrictors coming our way. Giant!!
"This report clearly reveals that these giant snakes threaten to destabilize some of our most precious ecosystems and parks, primarily through predation on vulnerable native species," said Dr. Robert Reed, a coauthor of the report and a USGS invasive species scientist and herpetologist, in an official release.
There's a whole slew of snakes that have been imported into the country, often as pets, that are getting out of control. The problem is especially acute in South Florida, but the report says that Texas will be vulnerable to two types of ominous-sounding creatures: the Burmese python and the boa constrictor.
Livestock could be at risk, as will endangered species.
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"Compounding their risk to native species and ecosystems is that these snakes mature early, produce large numbers of offspring, travel long distances, and have broad diets that allow them to eat most native birds and mammals," one scientist said in the report. A report that also includes such charming phrases as "there are no control tools yet that seem adequate for eradicating an established population of giant snakes once they have spread over a large area."
Attacks on humans won't be much of a problem -- they say -- because snakes like to go after easier targets. Like your pretty little baby sleeping on the porch. But maybe not.
The Houston Chronicle's Eric Berger does a good job sifting through the 300-page report and deciding what's important. His take also includes ominous phrasing, such as "devastating economic and environmental effects."
Where's Samuel L. Jackson when you need him?