In the TLS this week I have tried to summarize, in as straightforward a manner as possible, the Burmese python problem in the Florida Everglades, based my reading of two new(ish) books: Dorcas and Willson's "Invasive Pythons in the United States" and Larry Perez's "Snake in the Grass." I will surely be accused of treachery anyway; it's an article of faith in some, but not all, sectors of the reptile community that the python problem has been exaggerated by animal-rights concerns and self-interested scientists as a means of restricting a trade they despise. I have no position on the federal python ban, as it comes too late to do anything, and I agree that animal-rights folks aren't helping matters with their shrill and uninformed editorials, but at heart this is a serious environmental problem affecting one of the United States' most important and imperiled ecosystems. Whether the pythons were deliberately released or not, the fact is that they along with more than half of Florida's 50-plus species of established non-native reptiles are traceable to the trade. Willson, Dorcas, and Perez are all herpers and none advocates for an end to the trade. But, like most reasonable people, they wonder how this could have been prevented, and whether enough is being done to prevent future invasions of similar consequence.