Captured day before yesterday, a 17.5 foot female-carrying 73 eggs, captured in the Big Cypress National Reserve. It was a new record for the area.
Well the Great Florida Burmese Python hunt is on! For the next 60 days our specially selected, qualified and licensed “python hunters” will hunt the invasive species in the Florida Everglades. They are paid by the foot for each snake killed and presented to authorities, with a grand prize for the biggest snake brought in!
Now for those of you living far away from the great Sunshine State, in the quiet reaches of Northern England for example, it may come as news to you that not only do we have alligators – we have Burmese pythons! No need to go to Burma or you local zoo to see one! Come to Miami and take Alligator Alley west towards Naples and stop in the Everglades! Put on your shorts, insect repellant and a good pair of boots, take the wife and kiddies and walk around! Take a fan boat ride through the glade!
Our local pythons are, as I said, an invasive specie. They have been around since sometime in the early eighties.
Native to South Asia, the snakes first came to Florida as part of the exotic pet trade. The infestation began, officials surmise, when pets were released into the wild, either intentionally or accidentally when they may have slithered out of Miami-area pet stores after Hurricane Andrew rocked the city in 1992. Hehe.
“Voracious, unscrupulous eaters, the snakes are decimating the state’s small mammals. A January 2012 study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, estimated that Florida’s raccoon population had fallen 99.3 percent, opossum by 98.9 percent, and bobcat by 87.5 percent between 2003 and 2011.
State officials have since gotten quite creative in their attempt to exterminate the unwanted visitors.
They’ve enlisted the help of python-sniffing dogs, specially designed python traps and even supported turning the critters into handbags.”
“Bought you a new bag honey!”
Researchers are now using male pythons wearing radio transmitters to find breeding grounds. Once females are located they are removed with the idea of controlling the invasive species.
The Everglades has become an immense breeding ground for the Burmese python, with an estimated 150,000 of the slithering giants thriving in the warm waters, lush swamplands, and saw grasses that dominate the peninsula’s southern reach.
“There’s nothing stopping them, the native wildlife are in trouble,” Kenneth Krysko, of the Florida Museum of Natural History, told the AP last year when a 17-foot, 7-inch specimen was caught and killed. That record-setter has since been eclipsed by a 19-foot, 128-pound specimen, killed in May.
The specie has no natural enemies in Florida.
In an effort to reduce the population the State now holds an annual python hunt It began two days ago and already over 100 of the slithering giants have been “liquidated.”
So come on all you red neck wannabees! Now’s your chance!
On the other hand maybe I may start a tour company for adventurous out-of-town visitors.