Researchers have found a strong link between the southern Floridian spread of Burmese pythons and the severe declines in mammal populations.  

The giant constricting snakes native to Asia have been lately found throughout much of Florida including all of Everglades National Park (ENP).

PNAS Researchers say that the number of pythons have increased dramatically since 2000 and consume a wide variety of mammals and birds.

As the numbers of pythons have been increasing the number of animals such as racoons, rabbits, bobcats and other species have declined.

They said that this “invasive species represent a significant threat to global biodiversity and a substantial economic burden.”

"They are a new top predator in Everglades National Park - one that shouldn't be there," Prof Michael Dorcas, one of the study's authors, from Davidson College in North Carolina told BBC News.

As reported in BBC News, US Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced earlier this month that the US was poised to approve a ban on importing Burmese pythons, but some observers said that the move was about 30 years too late.

The study found a 99.3 percent decrease in the frequency of raccoon observations, decreases of 98.9 percent and 87.5 percent for opossum and bobcat observations, and failed to detect rabbits.

Dorcas told BBC News that more research was needed in order to properly assess the impact of such large declines.

He also noted that it wouldn’t come to a surprise if such declining events will have an effect on the ecosystem.

"It's not unreasonable to assume that any time we have major declines in mammals like this it's going to have overall impacts on the ecosystem. Exactly what those are going to be, we don't know. But it's possible they could be fairly profound."