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Addercadabra: Python's homing trick stuns scientists

Published on Mar 19, 2014 8:10 AM

PARIS (AFP) - The Burmese python has a built-in compass that allows it to slither home in a near-straight line even if released dozens of kilometres away, researchers said on Wednesday.

Capable of growing over 5m long, pythons are among the world's largest snakes. Although native to South and South-east Asia, the snakes have taken up residence in South Florida's Everglades National Park, possibly after being released as unwanted pets.

They have adapted so well to their new habitat that they now pose a serious threat to several species which they hunt as prey.

Scientists captured six of the pythons in the Everglades, placed them in sealed, plastic containers, and drove them to locations between 21km and 36km away.

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