Invasive Burmese pythons are invading Florida’s waterways and impacting the famed Everglades ecosystem. The species likely gained a foothold in South Florida due to escaped or released snakes. Large raptors have few natural predators and prey on native mammal species, while also posing a danger to humans. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) pays professional contractors to remove pythons and also sponsors an annual Python Challenge where hobbyists can compete for thousands of dollars in prizes for removing pythons from the wild.
Recently, the FWC announced the capture of two female Burmese massive pythons at Big Cypress National Preserve, which is north of Everglades National Park. On the night of July 11, python hunter Alex McDuffie found what appeared to be a newly hatched snake in the reservoir. With the help of FWC officer Matthew Rubenstein, McDuffie then located and removed a female python from a nest that had 23 unhatched eggs and the other 18 eggs.
The removal attempt illustrates the high reproduction rate of pythons. Female pythons can lay 50 to 100 eggs at a time. Although more than 16,000 Burmese pythons have been removed from the area since 2000, the species has still managed to expand its range north. On the evening of July 11, McDuffie found and removed another breeding python — a massive 17-foot, 6-inch one.
Read more: Bobcat Raids Invasive Python Nest in Everglades
“The Florida Everglades is an iconic Florida habitat, and the removal of Burmese pythons from this ecosystem is critical to the survival of species living in this vast wilderness area,” FWC Chairman Rodney Barreto said in a press release promoting the Python Challenge. of Florida 2022. which will be held from August 5 to 14. “Under the leadership of Governor Ron DeSantis, FWC and our dedicated partners continue to have great success in conserving native wildlife and managing this invasive predator.”