Pythons are large constrictors and became very popular reptiles in the US pet trade during the late eighties but the mass importation has led to serious ecological problem in South Florida. The small python hatchlings out grow fast their initial setup cage and reaching eight foot in length within three years. Many pet owners no longer wish to care for their snake(s) and some people even decided to release their pythons back into the wild. During Hurricane Andrew, a mass escape of reptiles, including thousands of burmese pythons, from their exotic importers took place in 1992.
Many pythons escaped into the swamps of the Everglades with its perfect subtropical climate and vast food sources. These snakes began to thrive, resulting in a permanent breeding population of Burmese Pythons in South Florida. But also the African Rock Python has established a breeding population in Florida and many other species of pythons, such as the Reticulated Python can be found occasionally. Pythons spend the majority of their time hidden in the underbrush. They are nocturnal, ambush predators, feeding meanly on mammals, birds and other reptiles, including alligators and crocodiles. It has been observed that these constrictors turn into opportunistic feeders as well and do not hesitate to devour road kill or other dead animals they come across. In fact, some pythons have learned that road are not just a place to warm their body during the night but a perfect location for catching an easy meal.
A hungry adult python stalks its prey with fast forward movements, its head slightly elevated and tongue flickering, picking up the sent particles of possible prey near by. When a possible prey animal is detected the attack is swift with a strike and a bite to the neck, coiling around the prey’s body, tighter and tighter until it eventually dies of asphyxiation. The python starts mostly feeding on the dead animal head first mostly but it has been observed that very often pythons will swallow their prey alive. The feeding can take up to an hour depending on the size of the prey. Eaten Alive was filmed by Heiko Kiera aka Ojatro in South Florida in 2014.