Reptile removal continues at a brisk pace in Florida’s Everglades.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the South Florida Water Management District has now removed 5,000 Burmese pythons from the Everglades, the agency said in a news release Tuesday.
Burmese pythons are an invasive species found in the Everglades. Some pythons measuring more than 15 feet long have been caught in the Everglades by snake hunters. On Sunday, Josh Turner, from Naples, caught a python that was 17 feet long.
“We’ve learned through the Python Challenge that experience counts when finding and removing Burmese pythons,” FWC Commissioner Rodney Barreto said in a statement. “We can’t win the battle alone. It’s one team, one mission. We need the support of these experienced python hunters as well as the partnership with the South Florida Water Management District and the ongoing support of Gov. Ron DeSantis.”
“Another win for the Everglades. This is what agencies like the South Florida Water Management District and the FWC, focused and working together, can accomplish,” SFWMD member “Alligator Ron” Bergeron said in a statement. “Every snake counts. Each invasive python eliminated represents hundreds of native Florida wildlife saved. With Gov. DeSantis’ continued leadership, Florida is doing more than it ever has to remove pythons from the Everglades and protect this ecosystem for generations to come.”
According to the FWC, the longest python ever caught in Florida was a female measuring 18 feet, 9 inches in 2013.
Burmese pythons became invasive in Florida as a result of escaped or released pets, the FWC said in its release. It is illegal to release nonnative species like Burmese pythons into the wild, the agency said.