The Burmese Python (Python bivittatus), is a snake that is found naturally occurring in a large area of tropical South and Southeast Asia. Their average lifespan in the wild is 20-25 years (NationalGeographic.com), grow to be 16ft-23ft in length, and can weigh an upwards of 200lbs. These snakes are very popular in the pet trade and can be purchased quite easily throughout the United States. Here in Florida, however, they have become a nuisance. Between raging storms destroying warehouses and freeing the captive pythons, and careless owners releasing their pets into the wild once they reach an unmanageable size, the Burmese python has an established population in south Florida – mainly in the Everglades.
Well over 2,000 pythons have been removed from the Everglades National Park (ww.nps.gov) since 2002. This is only a tiny portion of the population that is present down here in south Florida. The pythons have inflicted a devastating impact on the ecosystem in the Everglades – feasting on the native birds, mammals, and reptiles found in the ‘glades. This includes the previously endangered Wood Storks, which are currently listed as a “threatened” species (and are imperiled in the state of Florida). Below is an image showing what a Burmese python needs to consume in order to grow to be 13ft.
Two formal python management programs have been established in south Florida. One program is through the South Florida Water Management District, and the second is through Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). These programs were begun in order to enhance python removal in south Florida by specifically targeting areas and effort for the removal of the pythons, which has been one of the most successful way to remove pythons to date.
FWC Python Removal Contractor Program (PRCP)
This program was developed to involve qualified individuals with python management. These individuals must be experienced with the capture and removal of nonnative constrictors through a previous python permit obtained through a FWC python challenge event, work through a national park or preserve, or as a contractor for the South Florida Water Management District python program. They must also not have any previous violations on any FWC issued permits or wildlife-related citations and project a positive image of FWC and the python program at all times. These hunters also assume all liability for health, welfare, and safety of themselves and those assisting them.
The contractors are paid between $8.46/hour - $15/hour depending on the location that they survey. Each python nest is worth $200, and every python removed is $50 for the first 4 feet, and another $25 for every foot after the first 4 feet.
For more information on the FWC python program:
South Florida Water Management District Python Elimination Program
The South Florida water management district python elimination program began in March of 2017. This program is geared towards members of the public who are capable of identifying removing and youth and Ising pythons in Miami Dade, Hendry, Collier, Palm Beach, and Broward County from SFWMD lands in South Florida.Within this program over 2000 pythons have been removed to date. a majority if these snakes have been Under 4 feet, and only 3 have bee over 17 feet. Compensation for SFWMD hunters is comparable to the compensation provided by FWC. This program is limited to 25-35 participants, and is not currently accepting applicants.
This elimination program targets the following species:
Burmese Python (Python bivittatus)
Northern African Python (Python sebae sebae)
Reticulated Python (Python reticulatus)
Southern African Python (Python sebae natalensis)
Amethystine/Scrub Python (Morelia amethistina)
Boa Constrictor (Boa constrictor)
Yellow Anaconda (Eunectes notaeus)
Green Anaconda (Eunectes murinus)
Beni Anaconda (Eunectes beniensis)
DeSchauensee’s Anaconda (Eunectes deschauenseei)
For more information on the SFWMD Python program:
For article written about the hunters and hunting programs above:
Large python capture:
Python hunting program:
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Ferrets and Friends, LLC has four writers bringing you information on a variety of topics from pets to wildlife, education to conservation, and from new developments in our business to information about our industry. Learn something new each week!