January 22, 2010
Chad Love: Florida Python Cast & Blast
By Chad Love
Much has been written about south Florida's problems with non-native giant snakes, but according to this story officials are now faced with the frightening prospect of hybrid "super snakes" slithering amok.
Fears of a new "super snake" emerging in the Everglades grew this week during a hunt to track South Florida's invasive python population. A three-day, state-coordinated hunt that started Tuesday had, by Wednesday, turned up at least five African rock pythons -- including a 14-foot-long female -- in a targeted area in Miami-Dade County. Those findings add to concerns that the African rock python is a new breeding population in the Everglades and not just the result of a few overgrown pets being released into the wild, according to the South Florida Water Management District.
In addition, state environmental officials worry that the rock python could breed with the Burmese python, which already has an established foothold in the Everglades. That could lead to a new "super snake," said George Horne, the water district's deputy executive director. In Africa, the rock python eats creatures as large as goats and crocodiles. There have been cases of the snakes killing children. "They are bigger and meaner than the Burmese python. It's not good news," said Deborah Drum, deputy director of the district's restoration sciences department.
Personally, I think this is a great cast-n-blast opportunity for outdoorsmen from boring old native-fauna-only states like mine. I've always wanted to fish for peacock bass in the canals around Miami-Dade. What if you combined that with a trophy hybrid "super snake" hunting trip? Lots of guys travel to the southern states to hunt alligators. Why not giant snakes? It's becoming more and more apparent that exotic constrictors are established, and they're there to stay. And I have to admit, the prospect of hunting a creature pushing twenty feet long is intriguing. If the price was right, would you travel to hunt such a super snake?