; Phantoms and Monsters: Pulse of the Paranormal

Friday, May 06, 2011

Large Cryptid Snakes - San Juan River, Utah

San Juan River - southeastern Utah

Navajo petroglyphs

Click for video

I recently had a conversation with my friend and cryptozoologist J.C. Johnson of Crypto Four Corners in reference to sightings of large aquatic snakes at various locations on the San Juan River in the Four Corners area of southeastern Utah. These sightings were noted in 2005 and 2007. According to JC, one of these snakes made it's way from the river onto the bank and reared itself up to the back bumper of his truck which was parked about 120 feet from the river edge. On the video he describes a serpent with a 10"-12" diameter. JC remarked to me that the snake was dark in color with markings similar to those of a Indian / Burmese Python or a species of Anaconda. The air temperature was in the mid-40s Fahrenheit.

There have also been sightings of smaller aquatic snakes, most likely offspring of the larger cryptids. A witness on the video describes a similar snake with a length of 30 ft. also witnessed on the San Juan River.

There are no indigenous snake species in the Four Corners area that match any of the sightings. Is there a possibility that a python species was introduced to the river system?

The following article was printed USA Today 0n 2/22/2008:

Pythons could squeeze lower third of USA

As climate change warms the nation, giant Burmese pythons could colonize one-third of the USA, from San Francisco across the Southwest, Texas and the South and up north along the Virginia coast, according to U.S. Geological Survey maps released Wednesday.

The pythons can be 20 feet long and 250 pounds. They are highly adaptable to new environments.

Two federal agencies — the USGS and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service — are investigating the range of nine invasive snakes in Florida, concerned about the danger they now pose to endangered species. The agencies are collecting data to aid in the control of these populations.

They examined Burmese pythons first and, based on where they live in Asia, estimated where they might live here. One map shows where the pythons could live today, an area that expands when scientists use global warming models for 2100.

"We were surprised by the map. It was bigger than we thought it was going to be," says Gordon Rodda, zoologist and lead project researcher. "They are moving northward, there's no question."

Burmese pythons were introduced to the USA as part of the pet trade. The first specimens in the wild were discovered in the mid-1990s in the Florida Everglades, released by owners who no longer wanted them, says Skip Snow, a wildlife biologist with the National Parks Service in the Everglades.

By 2003, there was evidence the snakes had established breeding colonies in the wild. Florida began regulating their sale and ownership Jan. 1.

If federal officials had to worry only about Florida, it would be "decades" before the pythons move into other states, Rodda says. But people keep dumping pythons they don't want into the wild. "We just learned about some that had been released in Arkansas," he says.

The Burmese python is not poisonous and not considered a danger to humans. Attacks on humans have involved pet owners who mishandle and misfeed the snakes, Snow says. In Florida, they eat bobcats, deer, alligators, raccoons, cats, rats, rabbits, muskrats, possum, mice, ducks, egrets, herons and song birds. They grab with their mouth to anchor the prey, then coil around the animal and crush it to death before eating it whole.

If you see one, don't attempt to engage it. Leave the area, note the location and notify the authorities.


Burmese Python (Python molurus)

The following report was published Report Documents the Risks of Giant Invasive Snakes in the U.S.

Five giant non-native snake species would pose high risks to the health of ecosystems in the United States should they become established in the country, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said today.

A 300-page report prepared by the agency details the risks of nine non-native boa, anaconda and python species that are invasive or potentially invasive in the U.S.

"Because all nine species share characteristics associated with greater risks, none was found to be a low ecological risk," USGS said in a statement released with the report.

Two of the giant snake species are documented as reproducing in the wild in South Florida, with population estimates for Burmese pythons in the tens of thousands, the agency noted.

A Burmese python peeks over the head of an alligator that holds the python's body in its mouth in Everglades National Park.

These species of snake are of most concern:

Indian or Burmese python (Python molurus)
Northern African python (Python sebae)
Southern African python (Python natalensis)
Reticulated python (Python [or Broghammerus] reticulatus)
Boa constrictor (Boa constrictor)
Green anaconda (Eunectes murinus)
Yellow anaconda (Eunectes notaeus)
Beni or Bolivian anaconda (Eunectes beniensis)
De Schauensee's anaconda (Eunectes deschauenseei)