Hunting Pythons In Florida

by Kashif Masood | 21:03 in , |

Hunting Pythons In Florida

The "Python Challenge" is organized by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and nearly 800 people have signed up to hunt Burmese pythons on public lands in Florida. Experts say the invasive species is decimating native wildlife in the Florida Everglades. For the first time, the public is joining licensed hunters in the search for the snakes.

 
A Burmese python is displayed at the kick-off ceremonies in Davie, Fla., Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013 for the 2013 "Python Challenge" organized by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Nearly 800 people have signed up to hunt Burmese pythons on public lands in Florida. Experts say the invasive species is decimating native wildlife in the Florida Everglades. For the first time, the public is joining licensed hunters in the search for the snakes.
 
 
 
Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Captain Jeff Fobb handles a 13 foot, 85 pound Burmese python during a demonstration at the 2013 Python Challenge at the Kickoff event in Davie, Florida January 12, 2013. So far, 750 members of the public and twenty eight permit holders will compete for prizes in hunting the non-native Burmese python in the month long event.

 
Permit holding hunter Rodney Irwin uses a pair of binoculars to scan the canal bank for Burmese pythons from a small boat at dusk in the Everglades during a state-sponsored snake hunt, near Homestead, Florida January 15, 2013. Python Challenge 2013 is a month-long event sponsored by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission offering prizes of $1,500 for the most pythons captured and $1,000 for the longest python. 



 
Trapper "Python Dave" Leibman holds a roll of snake skins he is selling at the Python Challenge kick-off in Davie, Fla. Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013. Roughly 2,050 pythons have been harvested in Florida since 2000, according to the conservation commission. It’s unknown exactly how many are slithering through the wetlands.

 
TV crews pet and take photos as Capt. Jeff Fobb from the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue's Venom Response Unit, holds a python during the kick-off ceremonies for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's month-long "Python Challenge" in Davie, Fla. on Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013. The 13-foot reptile was captured in a backyard swimming pool in 2012.

 
Rodney Irwin looks over his shoulder at his veiled chameleon lizard during the kick-off ceremonies for the 2013 Python Challenge in Davie, Fla., Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013. Irwin said he had rescued the lizard, native to Yemen, after it was turned loose by a breeder near the Everglades. Wildlife experts say pythons are just the tip of the invasive species iceberg. Florida is home to more exotic species of amphibians and reptiles than anywhere else in the world, said John Hayes, dean of research for the University of Florida’s Institute for Food and Agricultural Sciences. 

 
A 13 foot, 85 pound Burmese python lies in the grass during a demonstration at the 2013 Python Challenge at the kickoff event in Davie, Florida January 12, 2013. So far, 750 members of the public and twenty eight permit holders will compete for prizes in hunting the non-native Burmese python in the month long event.

 
Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Captain Jeff Fobb handles a 13 foot, 85 pound Burmese python during a demonstration at the 2013 Python Challenge at the kickoff event in Davie, Florida January 12, 2013. So far, 750 members of the public and twenty eight permit holders will compete for prizes in hunting the non-native Burmese python in the month long event.