How Florida is upping its python game.


Two University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural wildlife biologists are using tribesmen from India and Labrador Retrievers to help the state remove invasive Burmese pythons from the Florida Everglades.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reached out to Frank Mazzotti, a professor of wildlife ecology and Christina Romagosa, an assistant research professor to help find and eradicate Burmese python in the southern part of the state. Mazzotti and Romagosa, both in the UF/IFAS department of wildlife ecology and conservation, decided to team up using unique methods to rid the state of the invasive pest.

“The Irula tribesmen, located in southern India, are world renowned for their ability to catch snakes,” Mazzotti said. “I heard about them through an acquaintance, Rom Whitaker, who lives in India and works with the tribesmen. He recommended that I work with the Irula to find the Burmese python in the Everglades, and five years later we finally made it happen.”

“The job of the tribesmen is to find the snakes, catch them and teach us how to do it better,” Mazzotti said. “They are better at finding snakes than anybody else in the world. And when they catch the snakes they don’t let go, no matter what refuge the python might seek.”

According to Mazzotti, there are no estimates for the number of Burmese python in the Everglades. Researchers believe the pythons were released into the Everglades or escaped pet owners.

Watch this officer crawl in a culvert and bring out a 40-50lbs Burmese python. She goes in around the 2:53 mark. Ballsy.
  • Holy Joe

    So now we are issuing “H1b” Visas to snake charmers from India. Why not put a decent “Bounty’ on the damned things ? A certain amount for a small one and a sliding scale per foot of Python eliminated The good Ole Boys of Florida and Louisiana Georgia can make a decent living trapping the damned things before all the native fauna and avian life is eliminated by the damned things.

  • RetiredSGM

    Yep, tell the Cajuns here in Louisiana that they are out of season, a limit of two and they are good to eat. They will be extinct within a month!!!


  • AdminandModerator

    These guys were here for two months to do the training and then returned home.

  • paulrod

    Uh,……… and just WHAT did the “authorities” do with the captured pythons? (here’s a hint, boys–dead pythons are good gator food. Gators are an endangered species, pythons are not—yet). .As an old Florida boy who lived (what was then) close to the Everglades, I fail to see the problem. State government, as usual, picks the least efficient, most expensive and slow way to deal with the pythons. All it takes is to 1: Declare that python meat is a delicacy, even better than gator meat, and 2: spread the word that python briefcases, purses, vests and boots are “tres chic”!!! Problem Almost Solved. At no cost to taxpayers. After one year, declare a bounty on the head of any idiot who wants to “save the pythons”. Problem Solved.

  • LandMinesOTB

    because apparently they are eating the indigenous mammals who are now used to this type of predator.

  • LandMinesOTB

    Maybe stop selling the damn things in “pet” stores. People raise ’em until they’re too big to deal with or they run out of neighborhood cats to feed to them, then just let them go in the wild.

  • acs1949

    The article makes it abundantly clear that the Arula are NOT “snake charmers”, but renowned snake HUNTERS with a special ability to find and catch large snakes. Given the magnitude of the problem, it’s refreshing to see someone turning to experts to hunt and remove these invasive and dangerous creatures. I do, however, like the idea of a bounty-after all, it was the bounty on alligators that drove the American alligator to the edge of extinction. There are certainly skilled hunters in Florida who, given the right incentives, could make a serious dent in the growing python population in the state.

  • acs1949

    Beginning of a simple solution-make the sale and ownership of Burmese pythons and other potentially-invasive animals ILLEGAL, with stiff fines and/or imprisonment as a penalty, then enforce said law aggressively. Oh, and put a substantial bounty on the pythons, and encourage the sale of python meat and leather goods made from their hides.