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Winning the Fight Against Pythons in the Everglades

Even though state-hired hunters have put a dent in the population of the nonnative species of Burmese pythons in the Everglades over the years, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has faced incessant criticism for still permitting exotic pet dealers to sell nonnative snakes, lizards, and other animals in pet stores, reptile shows, and on the Internet via live delivery. [1]

An estimated 1,500 pythons have been captured in 2018, almost triple the amount in 2016 – a result of state agencies hiring hunters for the python removal. The FWC also added 17 more hunters to their arsenal of 25 with the help of the federal government to hunt Burmese pythons in the Everglades National Park and other federal lands. Hunters have used various tactics in the fight against pythons in the Everglades such as snake hormones, dogs, and other snakes to locate the invasive species.  

“Will we eliminate pythons from the state of Florida? I doubt anyone will ever tell you that,” commented Kipp Frohlich, the director of habitat and species conservation within the FWC. “But can we reduce them? Yes, we can. We can target areas and we can remove more pythons from the landscape. And I think over time, as we get better coordinated and have better techniques, we’ll have fewer pythons and therefore fewer impacts on our native wildlife.” [1] 

Recently, though, the commission has faced some backlash from environmentalists for not cracking down on exotic animal trade in the state, which puts Florida at risk of infestation of nonnative species and draws back the fight against pythons. The Burmese python and other constricting snakes have been banned but selling exotic nonnative species like snakes and lizards is still legal.

“It’s not just pythons. It’s all these lizards that are getting out,” stated Drew Martin, the conservation chair of the Sierra Club Loxahatchee Group. “Iguanas are going crazy. Invasive species are a huge problem. But we’ve got to stop it at the source. We’ve got to stop people from bringing these in. Some things just don’t make great pets.”

Spotting and Hunting the Burmese Python

Burmese pythons originated from Southeast Asia and have an unquenchable appetite. They feed on prey that native species such as panthers, alligators, bobcats, and others depend on as a primary food source. Growing up to 20 feet long and 200 pounds, the Burmese pythons are considered among the largest snakes in the world.

Unfortunately, registration to hunt the Burmese python invasive species is closed if you’re looking to hunt with your fx airguns for a good cause. However, the South Florida Water Management District still has their application form available online for future participants in their Python Elimination Program.

If you have any further questions about the Florida python problem or would just like to find out more about the inventory available at our airgun store, don’t hesitate to reach out to a member of our knowledgeable staff.

Sources:

[1] South Florida Sun-Sentinel – State claims progress in python fight, but still allows trade in other exotic animals

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