Special cameras can better detect invasive pythons

Burmese Pythons can reach 26 feet in length and 200 pounds. Credit: National Park Service.

Cameras tuned to detect near-infrared wavelengths can help wildlife managers and others hunt down invasive Burmese pythons. A new study published recently in Applied Optics shows that near-infrared spectrum cameras operated particularly well at night, allowing hunters to spot pythons 20% farther away than regular cameras. The researchers hope to use the cameras to develop automatic detection systems that could alert wildlife managers as Burmese pythons (Python molurus bivittatus) move northward. The researchers compared near-infrared cameras with regular cameras by putting them side-by-side at different locations and taking images of pythons. The cameras appeared more effective at night because there isn’t as much glare from the camouflage on their scales.

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