Burmese pythons are not a native Florida species. In fact, they’re not even native to the continent — most python species live in Africa and Asia, including the Burmese, which as you might imagine hails from closer to Southeast Asia.
Then why is the Sunshine State in a crisis over this large, dangerous snake?
After Hurricane Andrew in 1992, pythons were accidentally released into the wild by a snake breeder. To combat the growth of the sixth largest snake in the world, reptile experts are calling on python hunters to help.
These particular snakes are known for their light brown colored scales. They are very aggressive and have chosen some endangered species, like the Key Largo wood rat and the Florida Panther, as their prey.
“It’s so bad that we feel like we need to engage the community, the hunting community, in helping us eradicate this,” said Gabriella Ferraro of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to reporter Steven Fabian.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission aims to reduce the damage to the ecosystem by hunting and “putting down” these snakes that can grow from 12 to 19 feet long.
“Well, they’re so much bigger than anything we have here,” explained Mitch Schall, an alligator hunter by trade who is working as a python hunter. “Once they get to that size, there’s nothing that going to prey on them.”
National Park Rangers estimate 140-plus pythons have been captured at the Everglades National Park, but since this problem began, experts like Ferraro and Schall know their quest to eradicate these predators from the habitat is far from over.
To discover more about these beautiful, but dangerous, creatures check out the quiz and photo gallery below.