Southwest Florida is being invaded by reptilians! Well, sort of. Actually, though this is some kind of invasion, it’s not the one done be extra-terrestrial beings as one would expect (would you?). Instead, certain parts of the Everglades have apparently been disturbed by several Burmese Pythons, a reptile that’s not endemic or part of the native species of Southwest Florida. Though technically, pythons are not venomous snakes, their mouths can still hold a host of bacteria that can be dangerous, even deadly in some cases, to people who are bitten by them by which these bacteria enter the bloodstream. Aside from this, they pose a terrible problem to the local Eco-system.
With no natural predators to cull their numbers off, these introduced species can multiply at a rate that can be damaging to the native wildlife. This is especially worrisome when they are introduced in an area with critically endangered species such as the Everglades National Park. The next question that may come into mind is just where did these snakes actually come from? The common answer to that question which is also the case in the Everglades is that there are some irresponsible pet owners who released their python pets to the Everglades National Park at some point in the past, intentionally or by accident and then the snakes propagated and got to where we are currently. There is no certainty as to how many of them there are in the wild but that which is certain is that they are many and they need to be lessened if not eradicated totally.
And so to counter this predicament, the administrators of the Everglades National Park together with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission have begun to make efforts in dealing with the menace that are terrorizing in the glades. These institutions have begun a program to put bounties on heads of these snakes so to attract hunters from the nearby towns and cities to participate in the removal of these creatures. Although hunting is still prohibited within the public park, the administrators of the Everglades National Park have made an exception when it comes to hunting down Burmese Pythons in the area. They report that these efforts have been successful so far in the sense that the contractors who are allowed to participate in this hunting drive have been so far tripled at one time. The park welcomes all those who want to partake in the cleaning of the Everglades and lend a helping hand in solving this tremendous problem facing these critically endangered areas.
FWC Executive Director, Eric Sutton points out that the continued success of the program relies on “…everyone pulling together collectively including agencies, nonprofits, private landowners and individual citizens.”
Overall, the program has been a great thing in bringing the community together to eradicate the python infestation in the Everglades. With the continued support of the agencies, landowners, the local government and the citizens, the bounty program to track and hunt down these pests can go a long way.