4 pythons found at abandoned missile base in Keys

(WSVN) - Officials have found four large pythons at an abandoned missile base in the Florida Keys.

Scientists found the snakes at the Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge by using trackers and specially-trained dogs, and believe the reptiles migrated south from the Everglades. One was 16 feet long.

The latest unwanted snakes turned up in a couple of old bunkers where the U.S. military once had a Nike Hercules missile firing range, the US Fish & Wildlife Service said in a statement. The site was closed 30 years ago, and is now part of the 6,500-acre Crocodile Lake refuge.

Florida Fish and Wildlife officials fear the invasive species could thrive in the Keys, endangering native wildlife just as the pythons have had a devastating effect on species in the Everglades. This past summer, researchers discovered hatchling pythons near Key Largo, indicating that the snakes may have found a welcome habitat and are multiplying.

FWC has brought in Irula tribesmen from India, renowned for their ability to catch snakes, to help trap pythons.

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