If you’re a trapper of large exotic animals, Florida is a great place to find a job. The Sunshine state has seen its share of wild animal and snake trappings over the past couple of years.
FOX News – Florida police say they had to assist a trapper Thursday after a 9-foot alligator was spotted taking a dip in an Odessa homeowners’ pool.
A video posted online by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office shows the gator thrashing about as it was wrangled out of the water. A rubber duck pool toy, sporting a pair of shades, didn’t seem to mind the ruckus as it bobbed nearby.
Are all gator trappers as calm as the guy in this video?
“WOW – No fear from “Mr. Duck,” the sheriff’s office wrote on Facebook.
The homeowner, Suanne Wesselhoff, suspects the creature sneaked through a ripped section of her screened-in backyard patio. She said she was tipped off to the unwanted visitor after her dogs began barking.
“They kept sort of barking and kind of acting a little strange and for some reason, I looked over at the pool and I saw…what turned out to be a 9-foot alligator just lounging in my pool,” she told WFTS.
Alligators aren’t the only unwelcome predators roaming around Florida, professional snake hunters have been hired in southern Florida to help eradicat the massive python populaation that threatens the entire ecosystem.
are apex predators, at the top of the food chain.
South Florida has hired 25 top hunters to capture and kill the snakes.
Burmese pythons, giant constrictors native to Asia, became a nuisance in Florida after 1992. Hurricane Andrew toppled a reptile breeding facility and all its pythons slithered into the wild.
Females of the species can lay dozens of eggs at a time, and by one estimate, 100,000 Burmese pythons live in the Everglades today. Some can grow longer than 20 feet, and here this invasive species has no natural predators.
They’re non-venomous, but those rows of teeth are razor sharp. The Burmese coils itself around its prey, squeezes and suffocates it before swallowing whole. Video shot late last year in the Everglades shows a Burmese strangling an alligator.
Two South Florida men have quite a story to tell after what they encountered in the Everglades.
Two snake trappers got their hands on a 15-foot python on Saturday after the massive snake put up a fight.
“The first day of the challenge, we caught the biggest snake,” hunter Nicholas Banos told WSVN.
Banos and trapping partner Leonardo Sanchez were driving as they were looking out for snakes during the Everglades’ Python Challenge to help protect the Everglades.
“I saw a little gloss and I saw a big square brown patch and automatically, I knew what it was,” Sanchez said.
Sanchez yelled, “Python! Python!”
Desperate to erradicate the python population in the Florida Everglades, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission brought in two famed tribesmen from India to help them track and capture the dangerous predator snake.
Miami Herald reports that since arriving in early January, Masi Sadaiyan and Vadivel Gopal, both in their 50s and members of the Irula tribe, India’s famed snake hunters, have headed into the Everglades almost daily. Armed only with tire irons to punch through dense burma reed and sharp limestone rock and trailed by biologists, the pair are on the lookout for the sparkle of snakeskin in the bush. They’re also searching for what the snakes left behind: a ripple in the sand, a tunnel through grass or scat.
The idea of having Irula snake trackers train to target python has been percolating for years among Mazzotti; award-winning herpetologist Romulus Whitaker, a leading conservationist in India and alum of the old Miami Serpentarium; and another Serpentarium alum, South Florida herpetologist Joe Wasilewski. In 1978, Whitaker founded a snake-hunting co-op for the tribe after unregulated snake trading was banned. The tribe now hunts cobras to collect antivenin to battle the nation’s snake-bite problem: about 50,000 die annually and up to 1.5 million are bit.
But almost nobody thought it was possible.
“People said, ‘They know how to hunt in India, not the Everglades, and cobras, not pythons,’” Mazzotti said.
Whitaker was certain the Irula, whose ancestors hunted pythons to the point of extinction in their state, would succeed.
“I pointed out that part of the year, the swamp is quite dry and that’s the time when they would be able to find the things like back home, the tracks of snake,” he said. “This is very big and probably the biggest invasive reptile problem that has ever existed on the planet, so let’s do something.”