Environment

Python hunting team captures its largest snake ever. There was another milestone, too.

September was a record-breaking month for python hunters.

First, two members of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Python Action Team captured an 18-foot, 4-inch-long female Burmese python at Big Cypress National Preserve Sept. 22. The snake, weighing 98 pounds, 10 ounces, is the largest ever captured at the preserve in Southwest Florida. And it’s the second largest ever captured in Florida.

Then two days later, another team member captured the 900th snake for the team, which includes hunters who get paid for humanely killing pythons.

“Removing 900 pythons is a great milestone for our Python Action Team!” said FWC Executive Director Eric Sutton in a news release. “These snakes coupled with the thousands removed by our partners at the National Park Service and the South Florida Water Management District make a significant impact to protect Florida’s native wildlife.”

The Python Action Team is one of several programs created by the FWC and other state agencies including the South Florida Water Management District in recent years to remove the non-native species that is destroying the Everglades ecosystem.

The snake that was captured Sept. 22, by Cynthia Downer and Jonathan Lopez, means more than one snake gone, FWC said.

“Capturing large adult females is critical because it prevents them from potentially adding an average of 30 to 60 hatchlings to the population each time they breed,” the agency said.

The 900th python was captured by team member Bobby Monroe on Sept. 24 in the Everglades and Francis S. Taylor Wildlife Management Area in Miami-Dade County. This python was just over 2 feet long and weighed just a quarter of a pound.

For more information about the FWC’s Python Action Team, visit MyFWC.com/Python.

Carli Teproff grew up in Northeast Miami-Dade and graduated from Florida International University in 2003. She became a full-time reporter for the Miami Herald in 2005 and now covers breaking news.
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