New Leaves

The skin of a Burmese Python taken in the Everglades National Park

Flamingo, FL


Jan 31, 2014 by Bonnie

In the Everglades, we’ve been privileged to attend several ranger programs. We went on a canoe trip through the ponds and mangrove swamps, where we saw a huge crocodile! We also went on a driving trip to learn about the flora and fauna in all its diversity at different sites in the park. We attended several talks, and learned about manatees, crocodiles and alligators, and even “animal romance.” Did you know that the Everglades is the only place in the world where alligators and crocodiles live together?

The most fascinating, yet disturbing, talk that we heard was about the Burmese pythons that have been wreaking havoc in the park over the last few years. What probably began with people releasing pet pythons that quickly became too large to handle and too expensive to feed, has now become a major threat to the ecology of the Everglades and all of South Florida. In 2006 the first python nest was found, which means that the snakes are now propagating in the wild. The average female lays around 100 eggs. Because of their huge appetites and near invincibility, the pythons have no natural predators in the park, and have wiped out an estimated 95% of the small mammal population (raccoons, rabbits, etc). And because of that, the alligators, even though they sit with the pythons at the top of the food chain, are becoming malnourished, because there is an element in the warm-blooded mammals that they need in order to thrive.

Efforts to control the pythons have all failed. The snakes are very secretive and good at hiding in the mangroves and tall grasses. An effort by 1500 hunters over several months netted less than a hundred of the hundreds of thousands of pythons.

The best solution is prevention. Importation of pythons is now illegal, but many other invasive species are still being imported, due to lobbying efforts of those who stand to gain financially from the trade in exotic animals.

I can’t help but think of another “snake,” which was Satan in disguise, who invaded a perfect garden, where lived the first two humans, Adam and Eve. They were deceived by his attractiveness and smooth talk (yes, a talking snake), and their resulting disobedience to God brought a curse on all Creation. Pythons in their juvenile state may look attractive to some, who buy them as pets, but in the end, they become too big to handle. So also sin can look attractive and fun, but it also results in a huge problem. All of the problems we face as a culture today trace back to the disobedience of Adam and Eve.

Thank God that He promised, and sent, a Redeemer, and that through his atoning death for our sin, much of the world has been transformed and redeemed from the curse brought on by Adam and Eve’s rebellion. Has He transformed your life?

Unlike the snake problem in Florida, there is hope for the human race. Christ has conquered Satan, and one day He will return to set up His Kingdom here on earth. Are you ready for that day? If not, please click on the “Know God” link at the top of this page, or send us an email by clicking on the Contact link. We’d love to hear from you!