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A giant battle: Auburn canines help in search for Everglades’ pythons

AUBURN – The scenario sounds like a low-budget movie from the 1970s: Humongous snakes are on the loose, eating everything in sight. But this is real – a problem that Auburn University and its canines are helping to combat.

Auburn researchers used detection dogs in the Everglades National Park to find Burmese pythons during a recent study on ways to manage and eradicate these nonnative, invasive snakes, which are eating native wildlife, mostly mammals and birds.

“The ultimate use for detection dogs is to suppress the expanding python population and to eliminate them in small areas, such as on an island. Our main concern is their impact on other wildlife,” said Christina Romagosa of Auburn’s School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences. “Interaction with humans is also a problem. The snakes, like alligators, can get in swimming pools, eat small dogs and cats, and could injure a human.”

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