Over 100 PYTHONS Pulled Out Of Florida Everglades
Burmese pythons are not native to Florida. They are not even native to the United States.
So, then, how are they overrunning the Everglades?
a) Family buys little python at pet shop for kids
b) Little python grows into big python and family can no longer take care of it
c) Family drives to swampy area and “humanely” releases python into wild
d) Snake that has no natural predators in its new ecosystem and lots of room to grow works its way to top of food chain
That is how a lot of these large reptiles ended up where they are. Add to that a Category 5 hurricane that leveled pet stores, homes, and a breeding facility, freeing an untold number of these snakes with reproductive capabilities and you have a recipe for ecological disaster.
According to Florida Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman Carli Segelson, these serpents now number in the thousands. The growing number of pythons in Florida has become such a problem that an annual hunt has been established.
This year’s event ran from Jan. 16 to Feb. 14. Participants are trained how to properly capture the snakes by pinning the heads down with a hook and grabbing the bodies to bag them. State rules require the snakes to be turned in alive.
106 pythons were captured this year. That blows the 2013 number of 68 out of the water.
Winners of the Pythons Challenge were honored on Saturday. The $5,000 grand prize was awarded to Bill Booth and his team. They pulled in 33 snakes and also had the largest catch of the competition.
It measured just over 15 feet and weighed 125 lbs.
“We fought this thing for 20 minutes and I didn’t think we were going to get it out of there,” Bill told the crowd present for the award ceremony. “But we had to get it out alive for the challenge and that’s what we did.”
No official announcement has been made about whether the Challenge will take place next year. Given that these over-sized predators continue to feed on native mammals, birds and reptiles, however, it is likely that it will occur.
Until then, watch where you step on vacation. Pythons large enough to eat alligators don’t discriminate. They are equal opportunity constrictors.
© 2016 Vianna Vaughan