BEACON TRANSCRIPT – 17 pythons got caught in the Florida hunt only a week after the event started, gathering over 600 people coming from 24 states to hunt down the great snakes.
Although this is only the Florida’s 2nd Python Challenge, the first one being held three years ago, the hunt has become quite popular, with many people from all over the country interested to participate. In the first challenge the people managed to catch 68 pythons. This year is also promising with 17 pythons caught already in just one week and the hunt lasts for a full month.
Because the hunters are amateurs they receive training at the beginning of the hunt. They must surprise the snake by coming from behind and pin down their head. After that they catch with their bare hands and bag them.
Of course, the procedure is quite risky. The hunter could get hurt by the snake that can either wrap around the hunter’s body and squeeze them or simply bite them. Of course, if they manage to do it right, there is also a winner to be announced at the end of the hunt – obviously, the one who catches the most snakes. The winner will get $3.500.
But why exactly are pythons hunted down? According to the Fish and Wildlife Commission, these pythons shouldn’t be here. Apparently they are not native North-Americans, but a species called Burmese pythons that come from India and other parts of Asia. It is difficult to understand how they got here and several theories were formed. Some say they were brought back in 1992 by the Andrew Hurricane, while others believe that people are simply releasing them intentionally into the wild.
The pythons are pretty dangerous and hunt down small mammals. According to statistics the population of small animals in the Everglades National Park has been dramatically decreasing. And because the python is new to this environment there is no predator to hunt it down. Therefore, humans must do something to prevent the disappearance of small mammals from the Everglades.
The hunt is not easy and not just because the pythons are dangerous and hunters must follow certain procedures, but also because the snakes can camouflage rather well in Florida so they are not easy to find. A python can weigh up to 200 pounds and can be as big as 20 feet in length. They have a lifespan of up to 25 years and can strangle and eat almost everything from rabbits to bears or aligators.
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