(BLACK PR WIRE) – Over the past 15 years, south Florida naturalist Larry Perez has noticed a change in audience interests over time. “People visiting the area have always inquired about alligators and panthers,” says Perez, “but in the past, big disasters in the Everglades have also managed to pique people’s curiosity for years after the fact.” And so it was following both the passage of Hurricane Andrew in 1992, and the crash of ValuJet Flight 592 in 1996. ”But over the past decade,” says Perez, “a very different tragedy has really stolen the spotlight. Today, everyone just wants to talk about pythons.”
In his new book, Snake in the Grass: An Everglades Invasion, Perez relates the full story of the introduction, discovery, and implications of wild Burmese pythons in the Everglades. “Since the early 2000s, the public has been treated to tantalizing stories about alligator-eating pythons and rogue snakes pulled from beneath storage sheds,” Perez says, “but the python story really can’t be appreciated through occasional soundbites. I felt the story of the planet’s most notorious biological invader deserved to be explored in a greater relief.”
In writing Snake in the Grass, Perez draws upon history, science, and a decade of personal experience to craft the most comprehensive account of the python plague to date, exploring controversial theories surrounding the arrival, potential spread, and possible impacts of nonnative pythons to both native wildlife and people. In the course of 200 tightly-written pages, Perez relates how pythons have managed to infiltrate far-flung corners of south Florida, make meals of iconic Florida wildlife, and successfully evade all attempts at control.
For all the press pythons have received, Perez is careful to note that they are but one of literally hundreds of invasive species that have established a looming presence in south Florida. “Burmese pythons are just a drop in the bucket, but they are particularly compelling and serve as a good proxy to help understand the larger issue of invasive species and our related attitudes and responses. And that’s important because there is a constant and unending flood of potentially damaging new invaders continually making themselves at home in our area and across the country.”
That presented a challenge for Perez. “There are new developments in the story all the time,” he says, “new science, new species, new discoveries. It wasn’t easy figuring out how to wrap up the book.” Though Snake in the Grass won’t debut until March, Perez is already working on an update.
The title--currently available for pre-order--is due for release on March 1. Review copies can be requested from publisher Pineapple Press by email at email@example.com, or by phone at 800-746-3275.
Larry Perez is a lifelong resident of Miami who has spent over fifteen years working in south Florida’s natural areas. During his career, he has worked as a naturalist for Miami-Dade Parks and Recreation, and as a ranger for Biscayne and Everglades National Parks. Larry is a graduate of Florida International University where he completed programs in park and recreation management and environmental studies. He is also the author of Words on the Wilderness: A History of Place Names in South Florida’s National Parks (ECity Publishing, 2007) and maintains a healthy fascination with lizards and snakes.