By Mike Miller January 26, 2023
Florida python hunting may soon be considered a noble public service as well as the adventure of a lifetime.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission works with public and private partners to capture and humanely kill these giant snakes.
Burmese pythons are not native to Florida. They are from Southeast Asia and were imported into the United States as exotic pets.
Many of them were sold in Miami pet shops in the 1970s and 1980s.
Man At Home With Python
These pythons can grow to huge sizes, up to 20 feet long. When that happens many pet owners release their beloved snakes into the Florida Everglades, just a short drive west of Miami.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Python Action Team
The first python captured in the Everglades was in 1979, but most experts believe they were around long before that but not in large enough numbers to cause big problems.
The breeding population had not yet reached the critical point where these invasive pythons could overwhelm the native wildlife.
A popular theory is that Hurricane Andrew in 1992 destroyed a private python breeding facility on the edge of the Everglades in the area west of Miami. Not everyone agrees with that theory because nobody seems to know what the facility was named or where it was located.
In any event, the number of pythons in the Everglades seems to have increased dramatically since Hurricane Andrew.
These invasive predators from whatever source headed into the swamps and have been a menace ever since.
The video below shows a typical python hunt.
Pythons are now ravaging Everglades National Park, Big Cypress National Preserve, and private lands surrounding the Everglades.
Nobody seems to know how many invasive burmese pythons are out there because there is no reliable way to take a survey.
Their coloring makes them hard to see as they rest or slither through the marshy wetlands.
215 Pound Python in Florida
The Conservancy of Southwest Florida
A female python can release from 50 to 100 snake eggs a year, and some estimates of the adult population range up to 100,000.
These snakes are wiping out the population of small mammals and other native species in the Everglades.
The racoon, possum, and bobcat numbers are down more than 90% since they began to be prey for this hungry invasive species.
Foxes and rabbits have all but disappeared. Wading birds and even deer have been found inside a killed python’s digestive system.
The State of Florida has removed all barriers to hunting python. They even set up bounty programs. Hunters can work without a permit or hunting license.
The only restrictions on hunting …….