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article imagePythons have an in-built auto pilot

By Tim Sandle     Mar 22, 2014 in Environment
Miami - Burmese pythons may have a homing sense that can guide them over distances as long as 20 miles, according to a new study.
According to the BBC, a research team implanted 12 snakes with GPS radiotransmitters. The scientists released half of the snakes back into same habitat and moved the other snakes to a more appropriate habitat. When the transplanted snakes returned to their home ranges instead of exploring and adapting to their new habitats, the researchers realized Burmese pythons must have some kind of compass sense to help guide them back. The researchers plan to study exactly how the snakes navigate, suggesting that they may use smell, light, or magnetic forces.
The study was conducted on pythons in Florida. Burmese pythons have become an invasive species in southern Florida, including Everglades National Park, probably from accidental (or intentional) release by pet owners.
Python bivittatus, a native of Southeast Asia, is one of largest snakes in the world; individuals can grow to be nearly 20 feet long.
The research has led by Michael Dorcas of Davidson College and it has been published in Biology Letters, the paper is titled "Homing of invasive Burmese pythons in South Florida: evidence for map and compass senses in snakes."
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