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Auburn University Trains Labs to Flush Pythons in Everglades

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March 29, 2012

Auburn University Trains Labs to Flush Pythons in Everglades

By Chad Love

Ever hear the old saw (which happens to be true, by the way) that a trained gundog is the greatest conservation tool a hunter can have? Think about that. Without a dog, just imagine how many animals you may otherwise have lost in the field, all those precious, delicious and hard-won quail, pheasants, ducks, geese, chukars, huns, ruffed grouse, sharptails, prairie chickens, Burmese pythons, African rock pythons, boa constrictors, anacondas...

Wait a second...pythons? Uh, yep. Pythons.

From this story on takepart.com:

Sometimes when man creates a huge problem that destroys the balance of the ecosystem, man’s best friend must come in and sort it out. Oanow reports that Jake and Ivy, two Labradors from Alabama's Auburn University, were recently called to the swamps of Florida to find a formidable non-native species: the Burmese Python. Brought to Florida by the exotic pet trade, and set free in the Everglades, the Southeast Asian snakes are normally about 12 feet long but can reach lengths of up to 19 feet. Opportunistic eaters, pythons have all but wiped out marsh rabbits, opossums, and raccoons in the southern region of Everglades National Park, according to a nine-year study.

Terry Fischer and Craig Angle of Auburn’s EcoDog program traveled to Florida to pick up samples of the species’ scent and then imprinted the dogs with the essence of Burmese python. “We found the use of detection dogs to be a valuable addition to the current tools used to manage and control pythons,” said Christina Romagosa, of AU’s School of Forestry and Wildlife, in a press release. The dogs can detect pythons from a distance and when they spot one they stop in their tracks and crouch. The pythons’ reaction is strangely poignant. Rather than striking when discovered, they curl up and hide.

“It’s their first line of defense,” said Melissa Miller, biological sciences doctoral student who handled the snakes. “People think when you catch a snake it’s going to come back biting at you...but they see us as a predator even though they’re a large snake.” So far Jake and Ivy have located 19 pythons, one of which had 19 eggs.

That's pretty fascinating stuff, there. Much ink has already been spilled about Florida's python problems and in an effort to help control the snakes Florida even opened up an official python hunting season, which ended in total failure.

But the possibility of hunting giant snakes with dogs brings a whole new dimension to the upland experience, doesn't it? Is python hunting with pointing dogs the new quail? The similarities are sort of eerie, when you think about it. Quail hunting in the southeast is quickly disappearing and no one other than a few die-hard disciples seems to care, just so long as they can keep shooting their turkeys and deer. But some scientists predict pythons can and will spread beyond south Florida into those very same areas that at one time were the heart of the southern quail culture. And what do giant pythons eat? Deer and turkey (and anything else they can wrap a coil around). So if the snakes eat all the deer and turkeys, and if hunting them without dogs is futile (see above) could we someday see a resurgence in upland hunting over pointing dogs in the south, with giant pythons replacing quail as the quarry?

Granted, a python's defensive measure when found by a dog (see above) isn't quite the same as the explosion of a covey rise, but when life gives you giant reptiles, you gotta make giant reptile lemonade, right? And I'm betting a flushing python is a helluva lot easier to hit with a load of #7 1/2s than a quail, at least for the more accomplished wingshots among us.

Laugh if you will, but I think this is the next big thing. Which brings us to the question I'm dying to ask: What breed of pointing dog would be best suited to python hunting and why? Britts, pointers, setters, one of the versatile breeds? How would you want your dog trained? Steady only to slither and hiss? Or steady to slither, hiss and shot? I'll leave it to the Gun Nuts to discuss the proper python gun, but what's your ideal python dog?

*Need I mention that tongue is somewhere in the vicinity of cheek with this? Of course I do...

Comments (27)

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 3 weeks ago

That's when you do not want your labs to work "Close", and flush the game your way.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 3 weeks ago

Well, that is an interesting development. I hope it works out. The folks running the Everglades need to pop their head out of the poop shoot on this problem. The Park Service's mandate specifies that it must protect the wildlife AND the natural environment. Well, there is nothing "natural" about these things. They need to be removed. And we have been hunting for the last fifteen million years. To stop hunting in an ecosystem is to make it artificial not natural. Duh! So put two and two together folks! It's not like it hasn't happened before. The NPS has opened up units to hunting in the past and continues to allow it in some places. Nutrias, an exotic varmint from South America, are controlled by public hunting and trapping in Jean Lafitte National Historical Park in Louisiana. Or at least they were when I worked there. Hunting for feral sheep, goats, and pigs in the Hawaii national parks used to be a big thing. Not sure if it still is happening. Doesn't sound like the state of Florida is having much luck with their snake hunting program for several reasons, the lack of public hunting land in the South being probably at the top of the list. So, open up the Park. It seems to be the largest base for this exotic problem anyway. The NPS could even make a little money on the deal. Not only could hunters have to pay a bit (which is okay since it costs something to supervise it) but hunters could be required to turn in some or all of their harvest to the park which could then process the skins for the leather market and make some more $$$ that way. I see this as possibly being a win win situation all the way around. Oh, and the state could help out by putting a bounty on the things. Twenty bucks or so ought to do it. Hunters would feel a lot less angered at having to pay for a state exotics snake hunting license if they knew they could get some reimbursement through a bounty. I'm sure the state would sell a heck of a lot more licenses than they'd fork out for bounty payments. I have the same issues with California selling only ONE tag per hunter at the tune of forty bucks or so for gawdam feral hogs! PUT A BOUNTY ON THE DAMN THINGS. Taxpayers don't mind (though hog farmers might have to hire security). We want to be rid of these damn exotic threats, whatever it takes. Nip it in the bud any way possible. It's just that these animal lover types have such a problem with the stigma attached to killing something for money. They need to go look at the damage that's being caused. Tell the poor little marsh bunnies that it's okay to be eaten into extinction because snakes from Burma shuold live happy and free too. However, given all the recent developments in Florida over its radical carry and kill gun laws, it doesn't seem like that legislature pays as much lip service to bambi lovers as California does. Get with the program and put a bounty on that junk!

I'm curious how they are able to keep the dogs from keying on other snake species. When my dogs are out hunting they don't walk buy sharpies and huns to focus only on pheasants. Hmmmm. What happens when these snake flushers encounter an onery cottonmouth. They won't curl up and try to hide! Oh, and kingsnakes! Yikes! I sure don't want my lab going after one of those! Perhaps this snake dog business is more of a science than a hobby.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 3 weeks ago

I should add that the license/bounty plan is a good way to keep pet owners from making a few bucks turning in their unwanted reptiles. If they have to buy a license before turning over their scaled Fidos, it cuts down the profit margin considerably.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Blue Ox wrote 2 years 3 weeks ago

I'm all for tracking these pythons with dogs, but if the snake is big enough to swallow a deer, the poor dog could be just as easy.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 3 weeks ago

And what's with Florida creating "seasons" to hunt exotic species? What the ...? Let er rip 24/7 and 365 days out of the year! Does anyone care if someone jacklights Burma pythons on Sunday in June? It's like creating an "open season" for gophers. Silly. Where I come from the season is open on them whenever you have the time to go and money to buy the ammo. What kind of idiots are running the state of Florida's wildlife management programs? It's no wonder they have big problems.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from FL Hunter wrote 2 years 3 weeks ago

The pythons need to be shot on site. I wouldn't mind going down to the glades with a few shotguns and about a 5000 rounds of #8 shot and killing as many as I could. They are a pest that needs to be eradicated ASAP.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from RES1956 wrote 2 years 3 weeks ago

Don't let Mike Stewart see this or Wildrose will be turning out English Python Labs to compliment his gun dogs, adventure dogs, and DAD (diabetic alert dogs) in short order.
Just goes to show how versatile the Labrador is, I hope none of 'em git et, although I can't say the same about the handlers. A few less Auburnites would be a good thing,,,, RTR

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from RES1956 wrote 2 years 3 weeks ago

Funny thing, in South Alabama, we sensitize our gundogs to stay away from snakes when they catch scent, those idiots at Auburn are teaching them to hunt 'em up; bout what I'd expect from the cow college crowd,,,

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from wvboy1022 wrote 2 years 3 weeks ago

So the season was a flop because of what exactly? It required licenses or something? I haven't really read up on this much, but I think that almost everyone would want those things gone soon. No licenses, no permits, just good ol' Florida boys with shotguns.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from IND_NRA wrote 2 years 3 weeks ago

I heard that Florida's fish and wildlife plans to go find bigger snakes to eat the pythons. It always seems that whenever we have a problem that we tend to look for the stupediest most expensive way to treat it. By, the way the first part is a joke, so watch the mud. It just goes to show you that over thinking some of these problems is part of the problem anybody heard of the (asian carp) I thought so.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 3 weeks ago

Spring season was a flop last year because there was a cold snap. They figure that probably did a better job of killing the snakes than the hunters could have. Chad, any update on how the fall season turned out? Again, what is the bloody point of having seasons and licenses when you're dealing with vermin? Pay out a bounty and let us hunt em in the Everglades. That would make a HUGE dent in the problem. While we're at it, give anybody a buck apiece for every crawling catfish they bring in. Raise taxes if necessary. That's money well spent in just about anybody's eyes.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 2 years 3 weeks ago

You snake hunters make sure you wear mosquito netting.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from RockySquirrel wrote 2 years 3 weeks ago

I actually saw them do this with little dogs 10 years ago on Guam and the beautiful tropical birds are gone, so don't bet your lunch money on this being the panacea.

So from what I read plan is to use labs and other hunting breeds dogs to find and eventually allow us to remove an invasive species. Great! Any word when they are going to start training dogs to find Chinese STINK BUGS! Its almost stink bug season again.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from RockySquirrel wrote 2 years 3 weeks ago

Sorry; Damn Mac did it too me again, removed a sentence --- On Guam; the BROWN TREE SNAKE (which was green when I saw it??), lives on tropical birds, It is also a pit viper and a distant relative of the rattle snake.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from dale freeman wrote 2 years 3 weeks ago

Why not let everybody, yes everybody, carry guns while away from the landing, shoot all they see and leave them lay. What about the tree huggers and their relatives, where are they.
Why are they not trying to help the poor rabbits and birds.
Why,Why, oh why, do we have to get to the point where we say "the hell with you stupid papered people" and just do as we please.
We tried to be legal law abiding people but you Zombies just wouldn't let up.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from dale freeman wrote 2 years 3 weeks ago

Why not let everybody, yes everybody, carry guns while away from the landing, shoot all they see and leave them lay. What about the tree huggers and their relatives, where are they.
Why are they not trying to help the poor rabbits and birds.
Why,Why, oh why, do we have to get to the point where we say "the hell with you stupid papered people" and just do as we please.
We tried to be legal law abiding people but you Zombies just wouldn't let up.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 2 years 3 weeks ago

Looks to me like someone is putting out a lot of propoganda to keep folks from coming to Florida...giant rats, pythons! I do the same thing to scare of Idaho intruders.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from kahrdcarrier wrote 2 years 3 weeks ago

It is a fairly unusual topic that garners so much agreement. I cannot see any reason to regulate hunting them. Hunting feral hogs in Oklahoma is ONLY regulated to avoid poachers using them as an excuse for being afield. Let the wildlife officers know what you are doing and I think they would let you use an F-16 in the middle of the night.
Some movie star needs to show up wearing a python coat, dress, boots or something and light the fashion fire. Then let the market take it's course.
Hey how about baiting a trap with simple warmth? Just like any trap, but you set it on an electrically warmed rock in cool/cold weather. Live trap so you can release the native reptiles. Then you could neatly dispatch them to harvest a quality hide (pelt?).
Training dogs to point them is newsworthy though . . ..

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jimbeauxtexas wrote 2 years 3 weeks ago

Hunting Season?!!! Uh shouldn't these things be shot on sight anytime of the year? Bring in a few Cajuns. Tell em pythons make good gumbo. The limit is one per day and the season is closed. Python problem solved. Worked well in Viet Nam on VC till the politicians got involved.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from canardnoir wrote 2 years 2 weeks ago

Universities will do (or try to do) anything for the right amount of grant money.

This is just further proof. And I'd suspect PETA and/or the ASPCA would get this project stopped before one of the canines gets hurt. I think I'll drop a dime just to see what happens... Anyway, a dog in the 'glades is nothing more than gator bait!

These scientists should be collecting these snakes with a load of 12 ga.-3" BBs - about 1 1/2 to 1 7/8 once - will work just fine. We don't need to know more about the python, just that there are fewer of them after each hunt!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from tom warner wrote 2 years 2 weeks ago

Sorry rockysquirell, the Brown Tree snake is not a pit viper. It's a rear-fanged snake and is pretty harmless to man; but not as you said, to birds, which they have mostly done away with. Check it out. Just another invasive species, like the Pythons. The Pythons, sorry to say, are now here to stay. Do you have any idea how hard they are to find in a place like the 'Glades? Dream on. I'm sure the dogs will help, but they can now never be wiped out. Florida now has a list of invasive plants and animals as long as your arm, all due to humans. At the rate Florida is being screwed up, there soon won't be any room left for animals anyway. Just wall-to-wall dumb humanoids.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from nosmiley wrote 2 years 2 weeks ago

I would sure hate to hear of a python killing the laboradors. I hope someone thought of that . If no one thought that far ahead, maybe we should start using the technicians in place of the Laboradors.
The Federales should post signs prohibiting the release of anything not native, and include notice of possible fines like $ 500 and up.
If this has been done already ,just ignore me. I haven't been to the state in several years. The retirees ran me off.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from poppinforbass wrote 2 years 2 weeks ago

According to what I've been readding elsewhere:
The dogs are trained to stay out of the snakes' striking distance, 15 feet.

Another more prolific method of capture;
place gps and other homming devices in female snakes and let them go. Later track them down using the telementary signals. Female snakes attrack males, several to a dozen at one time. The males are smaller and ball up trying to impregnate the female. Once the female is found all the males in her area are rounded up and killed. The female and her devices are checked out and she is released again.
I know space is short but I feel more details are neededd for this and other stories to keep the readers from asking questions, making jokes and describing those in charge as nuts.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from deadeye wrote 2 years 2 weeks ago

Labs are pretty smart. I agree with many already posted, open season on the ferals. Bounty would be nice as well.
Wondering, ya think they can teach the dogs to point on paid recruits?
Just asking.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jusdane wrote 2 years 2 weeks ago

People, c'mon, the dogs aren't in danger of being eaten as they're working with their handlers. It's not like they're a mile away on their own. The dog smells the snake and crouches, the people working the dog move in, locate the snake and catch it. That's it. The dog isn't putting it's life on the line holding the snake until the handlers appear. Anything to reduce python numbers in the everglades is a good thing.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Gary Devine wrote 2 years 2 weeks ago

Great idea Auburn University. Labs can smell narcotics hidden in suit cases at airports. Pythons should be not problem because most snakes stink anyway. If the Labs go near a eastern diamondback rattler, cottonmouth or corol snake in a brush pile, one hit could mean lights out.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 2 weeks ago

Coral snakes would not be much of a threat. They need to chew on something for a while to get it loaded with venom. And they're not very aggressive either. I think we've all heard stories of babies and toddlers found playing with them. Thank God for that because they are far and away the most lethal snake in North America.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 3 weeks ago

And what's with Florida creating "seasons" to hunt exotic species? What the ...? Let er rip 24/7 and 365 days out of the year! Does anyone care if someone jacklights Burma pythons on Sunday in June? It's like creating an "open season" for gophers. Silly. Where I come from the season is open on them whenever you have the time to go and money to buy the ammo. What kind of idiots are running the state of Florida's wildlife management programs? It's no wonder they have big problems.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from canardnoir wrote 2 years 2 weeks ago

Universities will do (or try to do) anything for the right amount of grant money.

This is just further proof. And I'd suspect PETA and/or the ASPCA would get this project stopped before one of the canines gets hurt. I think I'll drop a dime just to see what happens... Anyway, a dog in the 'glades is nothing more than gator bait!

These scientists should be collecting these snakes with a load of 12 ga.-3" BBs - about 1 1/2 to 1 7/8 once - will work just fine. We don't need to know more about the python, just that there are fewer of them after each hunt!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from RES1956 wrote 2 years 3 weeks ago

Don't let Mike Stewart see this or Wildrose will be turning out English Python Labs to compliment his gun dogs, adventure dogs, and DAD (diabetic alert dogs) in short order.
Just goes to show how versatile the Labrador is, I hope none of 'em git et, although I can't say the same about the handlers. A few less Auburnites would be a good thing,,,, RTR

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from jusdane wrote 2 years 2 weeks ago

People, c'mon, the dogs aren't in danger of being eaten as they're working with their handlers. It's not like they're a mile away on their own. The dog smells the snake and crouches, the people working the dog move in, locate the snake and catch it. That's it. The dog isn't putting it's life on the line holding the snake until the handlers appear. Anything to reduce python numbers in the everglades is a good thing.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 2 years 3 weeks ago

That's when you do not want your labs to work "Close", and flush the game your way.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 3 weeks ago

Well, that is an interesting development. I hope it works out. The folks running the Everglades need to pop their head out of the poop shoot on this problem. The Park Service's mandate specifies that it must protect the wildlife AND the natural environment. Well, there is nothing "natural" about these things. They need to be removed. And we have been hunting for the last fifteen million years. To stop hunting in an ecosystem is to make it artificial not natural. Duh! So put two and two together folks! It's not like it hasn't happened before. The NPS has opened up units to hunting in the past and continues to allow it in some places. Nutrias, an exotic varmint from South America, are controlled by public hunting and trapping in Jean Lafitte National Historical Park in Louisiana. Or at least they were when I worked there. Hunting for feral sheep, goats, and pigs in the Hawaii national parks used to be a big thing. Not sure if it still is happening. Doesn't sound like the state of Florida is having much luck with their snake hunting program for several reasons, the lack of public hunting land in the South being probably at the top of the list. So, open up the Park. It seems to be the largest base for this exotic problem anyway. The NPS could even make a little money on the deal. Not only could hunters have to pay a bit (which is okay since it costs something to supervise it) but hunters could be required to turn in some or all of their harvest to the park which could then process the skins for the leather market and make some more $$$ that way. I see this as possibly being a win win situation all the way around. Oh, and the state could help out by putting a bounty on the things. Twenty bucks or so ought to do it. Hunters would feel a lot less angered at having to pay for a state exotics snake hunting license if they knew they could get some reimbursement through a bounty. I'm sure the state would sell a heck of a lot more licenses than they'd fork out for bounty payments. I have the same issues with California selling only ONE tag per hunter at the tune of forty bucks or so for gawdam feral hogs! PUT A BOUNTY ON THE DAMN THINGS. Taxpayers don't mind (though hog farmers might have to hire security). We want to be rid of these damn exotic threats, whatever it takes. Nip it in the bud any way possible. It's just that these animal lover types have such a problem with the stigma attached to killing something for money. They need to go look at the damage that's being caused. Tell the poor little marsh bunnies that it's okay to be eaten into extinction because snakes from Burma shuold live happy and free too. However, given all the recent developments in Florida over its radical carry and kill gun laws, it doesn't seem like that legislature pays as much lip service to bambi lovers as California does. Get with the program and put a bounty on that junk!

I'm curious how they are able to keep the dogs from keying on other snake species. When my dogs are out hunting they don't walk buy sharpies and huns to focus only on pheasants. Hmmmm. What happens when these snake flushers encounter an onery cottonmouth. They won't curl up and try to hide! Oh, and kingsnakes! Yikes! I sure don't want my lab going after one of those! Perhaps this snake dog business is more of a science than a hobby.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 3 weeks ago

I should add that the license/bounty plan is a good way to keep pet owners from making a few bucks turning in their unwanted reptiles. If they have to buy a license before turning over their scaled Fidos, it cuts down the profit margin considerably.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Blue Ox wrote 2 years 3 weeks ago

I'm all for tracking these pythons with dogs, but if the snake is big enough to swallow a deer, the poor dog could be just as easy.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from FL Hunter wrote 2 years 3 weeks ago

The pythons need to be shot on site. I wouldn't mind going down to the glades with a few shotguns and about a 5000 rounds of #8 shot and killing as many as I could. They are a pest that needs to be eradicated ASAP.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from wvboy1022 wrote 2 years 3 weeks ago

So the season was a flop because of what exactly? It required licenses or something? I haven't really read up on this much, but I think that almost everyone would want those things gone soon. No licenses, no permits, just good ol' Florida boys with shotguns.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from IND_NRA wrote 2 years 3 weeks ago

I heard that Florida's fish and wildlife plans to go find bigger snakes to eat the pythons. It always seems that whenever we have a problem that we tend to look for the stupediest most expensive way to treat it. By, the way the first part is a joke, so watch the mud. It just goes to show you that over thinking some of these problems is part of the problem anybody heard of the (asian carp) I thought so.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 3 weeks ago

Spring season was a flop last year because there was a cold snap. They figure that probably did a better job of killing the snakes than the hunters could have. Chad, any update on how the fall season turned out? Again, what is the bloody point of having seasons and licenses when you're dealing with vermin? Pay out a bounty and let us hunt em in the Everglades. That would make a HUGE dent in the problem. While we're at it, give anybody a buck apiece for every crawling catfish they bring in. Raise taxes if necessary. That's money well spent in just about anybody's eyes.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 2 years 3 weeks ago

You snake hunters make sure you wear mosquito netting.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from RockySquirrel wrote 2 years 3 weeks ago

I actually saw them do this with little dogs 10 years ago on Guam and the beautiful tropical birds are gone, so don't bet your lunch money on this being the panacea.

So from what I read plan is to use labs and other hunting breeds dogs to find and eventually allow us to remove an invasive species. Great! Any word when they are going to start training dogs to find Chinese STINK BUGS! Its almost stink bug season again.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from RockySquirrel wrote 2 years 3 weeks ago

Sorry; Damn Mac did it too me again, removed a sentence --- On Guam; the BROWN TREE SNAKE (which was green when I saw it??), lives on tropical birds, It is also a pit viper and a distant relative of the rattle snake.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from dale freeman wrote 2 years 3 weeks ago

Why not let everybody, yes everybody, carry guns while away from the landing, shoot all they see and leave them lay. What about the tree huggers and their relatives, where are they.
Why are they not trying to help the poor rabbits and birds.
Why,Why, oh why, do we have to get to the point where we say "the hell with you stupid papered people" and just do as we please.
We tried to be legal law abiding people but you Zombies just wouldn't let up.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from dale freeman wrote 2 years 3 weeks ago

Why not let everybody, yes everybody, carry guns while away from the landing, shoot all they see and leave them lay. What about the tree huggers and their relatives, where are they.
Why are they not trying to help the poor rabbits and birds.
Why,Why, oh why, do we have to get to the point where we say "the hell with you stupid papered people" and just do as we please.
We tried to be legal law abiding people but you Zombies just wouldn't let up.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 2 years 3 weeks ago

Looks to me like someone is putting out a lot of propoganda to keep folks from coming to Florida...giant rats, pythons! I do the same thing to scare of Idaho intruders.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from kahrdcarrier wrote 2 years 3 weeks ago

It is a fairly unusual topic that garners so much agreement. I cannot see any reason to regulate hunting them. Hunting feral hogs in Oklahoma is ONLY regulated to avoid poachers using them as an excuse for being afield. Let the wildlife officers know what you are doing and I think they would let you use an F-16 in the middle of the night.
Some movie star needs to show up wearing a python coat, dress, boots or something and light the fashion fire. Then let the market take it's course.
Hey how about baiting a trap with simple warmth? Just like any trap, but you set it on an electrically warmed rock in cool/cold weather. Live trap so you can release the native reptiles. Then you could neatly dispatch them to harvest a quality hide (pelt?).
Training dogs to point them is newsworthy though . . ..

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jimbeauxtexas wrote 2 years 3 weeks ago

Hunting Season?!!! Uh shouldn't these things be shot on sight anytime of the year? Bring in a few Cajuns. Tell em pythons make good gumbo. The limit is one per day and the season is closed. Python problem solved. Worked well in Viet Nam on VC till the politicians got involved.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from tom warner wrote 2 years 2 weeks ago

Sorry rockysquirell, the Brown Tree snake is not a pit viper. It's a rear-fanged snake and is pretty harmless to man; but not as you said, to birds, which they have mostly done away with. Check it out. Just another invasive species, like the Pythons. The Pythons, sorry to say, are now here to stay. Do you have any idea how hard they are to find in a place like the 'Glades? Dream on. I'm sure the dogs will help, but they can now never be wiped out. Florida now has a list of invasive plants and animals as long as your arm, all due to humans. At the rate Florida is being screwed up, there soon won't be any room left for animals anyway. Just wall-to-wall dumb humanoids.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from nosmiley wrote 2 years 2 weeks ago

I would sure hate to hear of a python killing the laboradors. I hope someone thought of that . If no one thought that far ahead, maybe we should start using the technicians in place of the Laboradors.
The Federales should post signs prohibiting the release of anything not native, and include notice of possible fines like $ 500 and up.
If this has been done already ,just ignore me. I haven't been to the state in several years. The retirees ran me off.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from poppinforbass wrote 2 years 2 weeks ago

According to what I've been readding elsewhere:
The dogs are trained to stay out of the snakes' striking distance, 15 feet.

Another more prolific method of capture;
place gps and other homming devices in female snakes and let them go. Later track them down using the telementary signals. Female snakes attrack males, several to a dozen at one time. The males are smaller and ball up trying to impregnate the female. Once the female is found all the males in her area are rounded up and killed. The female and her devices are checked out and she is released again.
I know space is short but I feel more details are neededd for this and other stories to keep the readers from asking questions, making jokes and describing those in charge as nuts.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from deadeye wrote 2 years 2 weeks ago

Labs are pretty smart. I agree with many already posted, open season on the ferals. Bounty would be nice as well.
Wondering, ya think they can teach the dogs to point on paid recruits?
Just asking.

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from Gary Devine wrote 2 years 2 weeks ago

Great idea Auburn University. Labs can smell narcotics hidden in suit cases at airports. Pythons should be not problem because most snakes stink anyway. If the Labs go near a eastern diamondback rattler, cottonmouth or corol snake in a brush pile, one hit could mean lights out.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 2 weeks ago

Coral snakes would not be much of a threat. They need to chew on something for a while to get it loaded with venom. And they're not very aggressive either. I think we've all heard stories of babies and toddlers found playing with them. Thank God for that because they are far and away the most lethal snake in North America.

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from RES1956 wrote 2 years 3 weeks ago

Funny thing, in South Alabama, we sensitize our gundogs to stay away from snakes when they catch scent, those idiots at Auburn are teaching them to hunt 'em up; bout what I'd expect from the cow college crowd,,,

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