TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Python Action Team has removed the program’s 500th invasive Burmese python from the wild.
Team members Beth Koehler and Peggy van Gorder captured the snake at 1:15 a.m. on June 25, at Everglades and Francis S. Taylor Wildlife Management Area. It was a 9 foot,10 inch long female and weighed 20 pounds, 14 ounces.
“Thanks to the hard-working men and women of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, hundreds of invasive Burmese pythons have been removed from the Everglades and our ecosystem,” said Gov. Ron DeSantis. “As we celebrate this significant milestone, my administration will continue to prioritize the protection of our environment, natural resources and wildlife, which are at the heart of our economy and our way of life here in Florida.”
“The capture of the 500th snake by our Python Action Team marks a significant milestone for this program,” said Eric Sutton, executive director of the FWC. “Governor DeSantis has been instrumental in keeping this topic a priority. We’re proud of the great work that these men and women do every day."
The FWC designed the Python Action Team to further engage qualified individuals with python management efforts. Team members are paid for their efforts to survey for and, when possible, capture Burmese pythons in specific areas throughout many public lands in South Florida.
Occasionally, the FWC receives reports of large nonnative constrictors through the Exotic Species Hotline (888-IVEGOT1). If available, Python Action Team members are sent to capture it and prevent new populations from establishing in new areas.
Burmese pythons became established in Florida as a result of escaped or released pets. People should never release nonnative pets in the wild in Florida. It is illegal and can negatively impact native wildlife and habitat.
The FWC has an Exotic Pet Amnesty Program that allows nonnative pets to be surrendered without penalty.