Davidson News

Davidson News

Coral Snake Florida Surgery Reveals Invasive Parasites: Exposing Threat to Native Snakes

Rarely found in North America, these worms, identified as pentatomic family members, were confirmed by the Orianne Center for Indigo Conservation at Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens.

Florida Surgery Exposes Invasive Parasites in Coral Snakes, Posing a Threat to Indigenous Serpents. (Photo: Google)

A venomous coral snake in Florida had surgery by a local surgeon and three parasitic worms were found in its lungs, impacting the state’s snake population.


According to an article published by Miami Herald, in a significant discovery with far-reaching implications for Florida’s snake population, a highly venomous coral snake Florida underwent surgery by a Florida surgeon, revealing three parasitic worms residing within its lungs. Uniquely, these worms are not native to North America.

The Orianne Center for Indigo Conservation at the Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens disclosed that the worms belonged to the pentatomic family, specifically associated with the invasive coral snake Florida species that has raised concerns for Florida’s snakes. The incident underscores the profound impact invasive species can have on native wildlife.

Photographs shared by the center depict the robust, cream-colored worms being carefully extracted from the coral snake Florida lungs. Remarkably, the coral snake Florida, weighing merely an ounce, survived the surgery without complications and is slated to live a secure and healthy life at the OCIC.

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While the origin of the coral snake Florida infection remains uncertain, researchers have identified similar parasites in Florida’s banded water snakes, as reported in a 2022 study.

According to an article published by The Florida Times-Union, these worms, originating from Southeast Asia and Australia, likely accompanied the Burmese pythons that were introduced in the 1990s. Although the pythons have been confined to South Florida due to weather conditions, the worms are progressively infiltrating northward among indigenous snake species.

While the parasites have minimal impact on Coral Snake Florida Burmese pythons, they contribute to health issues and even fatalities in Coral Snake Florida native snakes that have not coevolved with them. The report highlights the severe pathogenic effects that North American snake species may face due to these parasites.

Coral Snake Florida Burmese pythons, gigantic nonvenomous constrictors, have wreaked havoc in southern Coral Snake Florida by preying on native and endangered species, stemming from escaped or released pet snakes. This ecological disruption has alarmed the Coral Snake Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission.

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