Puerto Rico Are Battling Giant Invasive Snakes
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Puerto Rico Are Battling Giant Invasive Snakes: "We Have a Serious Problem"

From the sounds of it, Puerto Rico is starring in its own horror movies. Snakes, why didn't have to be snakes? The territory is battling giant invasive snakes, and things aren't going well.

The territory has a problem with boa constrictors and pythons. These giant snakes have been attacking and eating pets, native birds, and even live stocks. It's a battle that's been raging for more than a decade, and it's only gotten worse! If we had a big map of claimed area, then the snakes would be winning.

"It's very, very bad," Alberto R. Puente-Rolón, a biologist at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüe, said via New York Post. "We have a serious problem and a serious threat to the bird species here."

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Puerto Rico Has A Snake Problem

Researchers date 2012 as the first year that boa constrictors began showing up on Puerto Rico. You can thank the exotic pet trade for introducing the animal to the island. Owners released these animals into the wild, and now you have an invasive species. These snakes can reach 75 pounds and have grown in numbers. For instance, in Cabo Rojo, you can find five snakes per every acre in the wildlife refuge.

Researchers found more than 150 boa constrictors in the area. Puerto Rico makes for the perfect habitat for the animal. It's dry and hot but there's plenty of trees and brush for the animals to hide from the sun. Likewise, these snakes have no natural predators on the island. Boa constrictors appear to be adapting to new climates.

It's not just boa constrictors. There are also pythons in Puerto Rico that reach 30 feet in length. These snakes like to hide in backyards and even in cars. While you're not quite in horror movie levels, they've become a danger to pets and local livestock. Cats and birds are particularly at risk.

"We need to find more, because my cats are gone, my chickens are gone," Odalis Luna, a local hunter, said. "It's a problem." In particular, these snakes pose a risk to the Peurto Rican parrot, a rare bird on the island. Besides just eating animals, these boa constrictors also carry diseases that spread to other snakes on the island.