pythons

A Florida senator who once hunted down a 9-foot Burmese python wants the state to pay private contractors to eradicate pythons and other invasive species from the Everglades.



Few animals arouse the instinct to hunt quite like the Burmese Python. The invasive species has slithered across the Everglades and into every corner of South Florida, taking over habitat from native species and consuming thousands of pounds of prey animals. 

Kate Stein / WLRN

The Tamil word for python is "malaippāmpu." Translated literally, it means "mountain snake."

But two Tamil-speaking snake trackers from India, who are in South Florida to help with the region's python problem, think "water snake" would be a more appropriate name.

Everglades NPS via Flickr

A hidden military base. Python catchers from India. Galápagos tortoises and a world-renowned herpetologist. It sounds like an Indiana Jones movie.

But it's all tied to a mystery of the Everglades -- one that will be on display during an event in Homestead on Saturday, Feb. 25.

Florida has gone halfway around the world to get help with its python problem.


Jeremy Dixon / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

 Burmese pythons have established themselves in the Everglades — and now they appear to be breeding in the Florida Keys, according to state and federal wildlife agencies.

nps.gov

If you’re an outdoorsy type, Florida wildlife officials have a job for you.

But there’s a catch. Actually, several catches – all with very sharp teeth.

In the United States, the only place you’ll find an American crocodile in the wild is South Florida. It used to be an endangered species.

But not anymore.

How to Make Burmese Python Nuggets

May 10, 2013
Maurice Cohn Band / Miami Herald

Editor's note: In the hunt for what to do about the various mix of invasive species found in Florida, we are running a series that not only describes the problems caused by these plants and animals but, well, offers a culinary solution. Tweet us (@WLRN) your ideas and tips or email us a recipe: WLRNMIA@gmail.com.

BURMESE PYTHON

Origin: Southeast Asia

Eating Invasive Species Comes With A Side Of Caution

May 8, 2013
David Samayoa

Editor's note: In the hunt for what to do about the various mix of invasive species found in Florida, we are running a series that not only describes the problems caused by these plants and animals but, well, offers a culinary solution. Tweet us (@WLRN) your ideas and tips or email us a recipe: WLRNMIA@gmail.com.

To accompany our Invasive Species Cookbook , we are also posting the potential health risks of eating certain invasive species and how to possibly mitigate those risks.

Tricia Woolfenden

As Mike Perez mingled with visitors at the recent Python Challenge awards event in Miami, his left arm supported the weight of a black-and-white lizard with a body as thick as a linebacker's bicep. Gazing through heavily hooded eyes, the lizard rarely moved, save for sticking out its forked tongue for an occasional sniff . 

This headline may make you go "huh?"

"Biggest Python in Florida Snake Hunt Released Back into the Wild."

Tricia Woolfenden

Tom Rahill knows the Everglades. He has been camping, hiking, clearing trails, and "hanging out" in Florida's River of Grass for an estimated 35 years. When he sweats, Rahill says he "even smells like the Everglades." A participant in the recently-wrapped and much-maligned Python Challenge, Rahill recognizes that much of the press and public appear unimpressed with the contest's final tally of 68 snakes.  

USFWS:Southeast / Flickr Creative Commons

The wacky challenge that grabbed national headlines -- and perhaps more than its fair share of derision -- will come to a head Saturday morning, when the 2013 Python Challenge awards are presented in Miami.

wildxplorer / Flickr Creative Commons

With just a little more than a week remaining in the hunt, the 2013 Python Challenge has seen the capture and (hopefully relatively swift and painless) killing of 37 Burmese pythons in the Everglades. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission -- which is sponsoring the hunt -- announced the latest kill count on Tuesday morning via its official Facebook page.

State To Send Hunters After 'Glades Pythons

Jan 7, 2013
David Callister/Alamy

Evidently at its wits' end over the Burmese pythons swarming the Everglades, Florida has declared a month-long snake season for armed amateurs. They'll go into the 'Glades to compete for cash prizes by killing as many as they can.

What could possibly go wrong?

Plenty, says Oklahoma biology professor and "reptile industry spokesman" Warren Booth. He told the Sun-Sentinel bullets will be flying in a dangerous environment where sometimes you can’t tell one snake from another.

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