Florida Pythons
YouTube: Florida's Wildest

Snake Hunters Tangle With 12-Foot Florida Python in the Everglades

This constrictor was not happy about being captured.

If you're familiar with the Florida Everglades, you have probably heard about how invasive Burmese pythons are wreaking havoc on the ecosystem and native wildlife populations down there. Originally native to parts of Asia, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission believes many are escaped or released animals from the exotic pet trade. Still others escaped a python breeding facility after hurricane Andrew in 1992.

However they got there, it doesn't matter. In many parts of the country, it wouldn't be an issue. The big snakes would die off when the weather got cool. The problem is that the warm wetlands of Everglades National Park just happens to be ideal habitat for these giant snakes.

Now, the FWC employs many full-time python hunters who's job it is to venture into the Glades and remove as many of these animals as possible. Python removal isn't easy. These creatures grow to great size and they are incredibly strong. Just watch this video of a snake hunting couple to see what we mean.

Invasive pythons are one of the bigger non-native animal problems currently plaguing the United States. It is now believed that as many as 10,000 or more invasive snakes now inhabit southwest Florida. Because the Everglades ecosystem is so vast and marshy, snake hunters have their work cut out for them. The snakes thrive while feeding on marsh rabbits, raccoons, native birds, even bobcats, deer and alligators. It's a real problem when a new animal arrives that can feed on an ecosystem's apex predators!

As you saw in this video, it's hard to wrangle these animals out of the tall grass and brush. It is a tough job, and that's why the FWC and National Park Service pay people to remove this invasive species full time. To encourage snake hunting, they have also hosted the Florida Python Challenge every year which gives out prizes for the largest captured snakes every year.

The Florida python in this video was huge, but it's nowhere near the largest ever caught by Floridians. An 18.9-footer weighing 104 pounds was captured earlier this year. Most of the snakes caught by the python elimination program are euthanized. Officials are currently studying to see if the animals' white meat is safe to eat since previous studies have shown the pythons to carry high levels of mercury.

In any case, good job to this couple for getting this large and dangerous animal out of the wild. You heard that hissing, they are mean animals. One snake down, thousands more to go!

For more outdoor content from Travis Smola, be sure to follow him on Twitter and check out his Geocaching and Outdoors with Travis YouTube channels