Hunting Florida Pythons

The recent discovery of a 17 foot Burmese python in the Florida swamps has again called up the problems this non-native animal is causing for the swamp ecosystems. Supposedly they allow hunting of the animal but that hasn’t dented the population much.

Would a dedicated effort to eliminate the pest via hunting be practical or effective? I know we once brought the Florida alligator to near extinction without really trying so it boggles me a little that we can’t get rid of these snakes. That’s to say nothing for countless other species we’ve managed to decimate without effort.

I know comparing the python to [other species] isn’t a direct comparison which is why I’m wondering. Is it a lack of market value for the dead animal? I can’t think of a way to enact a bounty program without someone just buying the animal from a pet store to collect on – a bounty lower than pet shop value probably wouldn’t be enough to attract hunters into the swamps.

There are a few hoops to jump through to get a permit currently (link) which restrict the availability somewhat. According to that link they only give them to people who have experience hunting snakes and large constrictors, as well as have experience humanely euthanizing animals. Plus the fact that you have to hunt in the gator infested Everglades probably turns quite a few people off the idea.

Also unlike gators the pythons don’t have as much use commercially, the meat isn’t normally consumed in the U.S. and according to that link the Everglade pythons have too much mercury to be considered food safe. As far as if we could, well sure never underestimate our species ability to wipe something out if we want to, the problem is convincing people to do it and then allowing them to.

Is there a market for python skin boots, belts, etc.?

That’s what I thought although the permitting process may be a barrier to making it worthwhile.

I’m typically a bleeding heart on the “humane euthanization” front but this seems like a situation where “Hit it with an axe 'til it stops moving” sounds potentially appropriate.

Hunting pythons isn’t the postcard of the father and son in blaze orange walking through the woods together. It’s slogging through mosquito and alligator (and python) infested swampland in brutal heat.

If the permitting process is too open (or God forbid just allow open season on pythons) a lot of people will be in over their heads and be killed.

Arguably, we have both too many pythons and too many people. This could be win-win!
(I kid)

What we need to do is popularize “Snake Surprise” as fine cuisine. (Look what popularity of Shark Fin Soup has done for sharks)

We could just start a rumor that powdered python is good for your dick.

You didn’t hear it from me. :smiley:

The danger from gators while hunting pythons would be quite minimal. The primary danger to humans hunting pythons would probably be from other, venomous snakes. The primary danger overall would probably be a further disruption of the already stressed ecosystem with all the people slogging all over the place, in all manner of vehicles, with all manner of weapons, wreaking havoc.

Certainly, but if there’s one thing the Everglades are known for it’s the abundance of gators, and if there’s one thing people who live in Florida are taught it’s not to go wading in gator infested water. The venomous snakes would also serve to discourage plenty. Really wading around in the Everglades for any length of time would a difficult and unpleasant enough task that I’m sure your average casual hunter wouldn’t really want to do it for something they probably won’t even want to eat.

First of all, plenty of people wade around in the Everglades all the time - I’ve done it myself a few times. You just want to stay out of the gator habitats, which isn’t everywhere. Google “Everglades swamp walk” if you don’t believe me - here’s a fairly typical example with little kids and plump old ladies doing it.

Second of all, the typical places you would go to hunt pythons wouldn’t usually involve any wading whatsoever - not all of the Everglades is underwater. And while pythons can go in the water, they usually stick to land, where it’s also a lot easier to find and catch them.