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Invasive Snakes To Be Hunted By Python Patrol

Animals  (tags: pythons, hunters, invasive, Everglades, snakes, Florida, Nelson, wildlife )

- 3596 days ago -
Florida hunters will soon have a new prey. Starting Friday, ten hunters will take part in the first ever python hunt in the state. The permitted hunters will head into state wildlife management areas in South Florida to search out and destroy as many


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Raffi LidoRoiz (301)
Wednesday July 15, 2009, 5:08 pm
Invasive Snakes To Be Hunted By Python Patrol
Florida's First-Ever Python Hunt Begins Friday
Ten Hunters Have Permits To Hunt & Kill Pythons
The Non-Native Burmese Python Has No Natural Predator In Florida
Lisa Cilli

Florida hunters will soon have a new prey. Starting Friday, ten hunters will take part in the first ever python hunt in the state. The permitted hunters will head into state wildlife management areas in South Florida to search out and destroy as many pythons as they can find.

It's the first phase of a hunt organized by the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to try to control the fast-growing python population.

The number of pythons in South Florida has exploded over the past decade as pet owners released their snakes when they grew too large. It's unclear how many pythons are prowling in the wild across South Florida, but state wildlife officials estimate there are at least tens of thousands.

That's a problem because the non-native Burmese python has no natural predator in Florida.

Commission spokeswoman Pat Behnke says state officials are concerned the problem will continue to grow and they want to prevent pythons from traveling any farther north.

"They reproduce 50 to 100 eggs when they lay the eggs. They have the ability to withstand different temperatures so there's a possibility they could move north. So now is the time to get started on this and try to prevent it before it becomes even a bigger problem," explained Behnke.

The first phase of the python hunting program will last about three months.

"We are asking them when they do find the pythons that they must destroy them and then we ask that they collect data for us: location, weight, stomach contents and so on, so we can start compiling a database," explained Behnke.

After the first phase, state officials will look at the results and consider expanding the hunt to include more trappers. The hunters will not get a bounty for killing pythons, but they will be able to sell the skin and meat.

"We will have certain permit holders that we've selected, that we know are qualified that will be allowed to go into wildlife management areas in South Florida and hunt and take out pythons, Burmese pythons, and all reptiles of concern," said Behnke.

The hunters will be allowed to go into state wildlife management areas, but not on the federal land of the Everglades National Park where most of the snakes are living.

Behnke says the state is discussing the issue with the federal government. She says the feds are very interested in the state's effort to eradicate pythons and will monitor the results of the hunt.

Experts say pythons mainly threaten wildlife, but the issue was thrust into the spotlight earlier this month when an eight-foot pet python killed a two year old in the child's house in Sumter County.

Gov. Charlie Crist says he was distressed to learn about the child's death.

"I think it's an important issue. I had a good conversation with Sen. Nelson last week about it and Rodney Barreto, who chairs our Wildlife Commission and I think they're working good in concert in order to make sure that we protect our fellow Floridians. I was distressed to see the death that occurred recently," said Gov. Crist.

Jamie L (195)
Wednesday July 15, 2009, 5:19 pm
:( Thanks Raffi!

Dee C (23)
Wednesday July 15, 2009, 6:22 pm
It is a serious problem..
Thanks Raffi..

Gemma H (48)
Wednesday July 15, 2009, 7:33 pm
Lesson to be learned? - Snakes should not be kept as pets. Thanks Raffi

Alejandra Vega (139)
Wednesday July 15, 2009, 9:14 pm
U are right, Gemma. Stupid people took them to the Florida and pythons are paying the price again!

Fiona Ogilvie (562)
Wednesday July 15, 2009, 10:04 pm
Invasive species are a serious problem. The pythons are living off of the native wild life. An invasive wetland species of plant is destroying the wetlands of New England, the purple loosestrife. Kept in garden's for man's vanity, it has escaped the gardens to the wetlands where it kills all other wetland plants. It has no food value for animals like the native plants did so it is starving our moose and killing our plant eating fish. Animals and plants should never be brought out of one ecosystem and transferred to another.

sue M (184)
Thursday July 16, 2009, 2:41 am

Cynthia Sopel (62)
Thursday July 16, 2009, 4:13 am
This is a very serious problem taking into consideration the effect that it has in destroying the natural habitat. Unfortunately, the transfer of thousands of species (of plants and animals- including disease) from one continent to another, has been going on for hundreds of years. Humans have altered the balance of nature on this earth and perhaps the damage is irreversible. The most invasive species is the HUMAN species and there is no cure, no cull or control to stop us. We will eventually consume everything on this planet; including ourselves...

Adrienne Y (17)
Thursday July 16, 2009, 10:32 am
For every action there is a reaction..people are so stupid!! Reaction. Why do people buy things they cant take care of or won't take care of and them ditch them to try to live on their own and then expect nothing to Happen!!! Now these creatures of God (and Lord I'm sorry but I just do not like snakes) have to pay the price for the stupidity!! This new Disposable Society is going to Dispose the Human Race.
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