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Anacondas dominating Florida Everglades food chain

Anacondas and alligators are literally fighting for the top spot in the food chain in the Florida Everglades, wiping out nearly all of the area's native mammals along the way, The Atlantic reports. A new study by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) found that the number of raccoon and possums spotted in the Everglades has dropped more than 98 percent, bobcat sightings are down 87 percent, and the rabbit and fox populations are gone thanks to the introduction of the non-native snakes.

Anacondas became popular among reptile traders who, purposefully or not, introduced them into Florida's swamps about 10 years ago.

The Obama administration recently banned the import and interstate trade of the Burmese python, two species of African pythons and the yellow anaconda in an effort to curb the spread of the species, which can lay as many as 100 eggs at a time, The Washington Post reports.

"Pythons are wreaking havoc on one of America’s most beautiful, treasured and naturally bountiful ecosystems," Marcia McNutt, director of the USGS, said in a statement, the news outlet reports. "The only hope to halt further python invasion . . . is swift, decisive and deliberate human action."
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