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Burmese Python Defends Eggs from Hungry Bobcat in Florida

An unprecedented video captured how a bobcat raided an unguarded Burmese python nest in the Florida Everglades for eggs, then confronting the 14-foot snake when she returned to her nest, CBS News report.

In the footage taken in the Big Cypress National Preserve, we can see the “first documentation of any animal in Florida preying on python eggs” as well as evidence of a Burmese python fighting back against any animal, according to a report by the U.S. Geological Survey.

This video shows a curious bobcat stalking a python’s nest of eggs on USGS trail cameras captured between June and August 2021. The native animal can be seen on June 1 eating eggs from an unguarded nest, then digging at the nest the next day and eating more eggs.

Later the same day, the bobcat returned and found the python with her eggs, so it steered clear. Yet on June 4, a trail camera captures the bobcat swiping at the nesting python.

CBS Miami reports the male bobcat has been “consuming, trampling, caching, and uncovering the eggs while the python is gone, but also confronting the much larger snake and trading blows on at least on occasion,” according to the USGS.

The photos suggest that the python weighing about 85 pounds struck the bobcat, which weighed about 20 pounds. The following images show the “python back atop her coils, facing the bobcat, which can then be seen swiping at the python from the left side of the frame, then moving to the right as the python visually tracks the bobcat.”

bobcat-vs-python.jpg

Biologists found 42 “inviable or destroyed” eggs when they arrived days later after moving the female python and moving the nest.

Over the next several weeks, the camera captured a bobcat “investigating the site and scavenging the destroyed eggs and eggshells,” researchers said.

The research was published in the journal Ecology and Evolution last month.

As a result of the destruction caused by Hurricane Andrew in 1992, captive Burmese pythons have flourished in the southern Florida ecosystem, decimating local species.

These giant snakes have overrun the Everglades today, causing devastating damage. According to a 2012 study conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey, after Andrew intensified the Burmese python invasion of the Florida Everglades, many rabbits and foxes were eradicated.

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