Friday, January 18, 2013

Preliminary Results from the Great Florida Snake Hunt

Python Hunters = 1,000  Captured Pythons = 21

IN THE FLORIDA EVERGLADES (AP) — The man known as "Alligator Ron" has a lifetime of experience in the Florida Everglades, a fleet of airboats at his disposal and knows the habitats of furry prey for large reptiles. He still couldn't lead a pack of hunters to a single Burmese python.

After 6 days of the ballyhooed Florida python hunt, scheduled from Jan. 12 to Feb. 10, only 21 pythons had been captured by a hoard of hunters.  At this rate approximately 80 pythons could be captured by the close of the contest.  But many contestants will have dropped out by then so a closer estimate might be in the 50-60 range.

While this won't make even a small dent in the python population (there are an estimated 5,000 to 180,000 Burmese pythons in the Everglades) scientists as the University of Florida are eager to capture      as many as possible to conduct research about what they eat, their reproductive habits and their life spans.  This information is essential for any program to curb their growth.  Their numbers and voracious appetites already have virtually devastated the small wildlife populations of the Everglades.

As for the hunt it is difficult for Everglades professional hunters to detect pythons, which blend perfectly with the vegetation.  For amateurs it is virtually impossible.

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