I just arrived back in town from an incredible trip to one of the most, unique arts of our state; the Everglades. Our Everglades, composed of an enormously varied network of interconnected ecosystems has been under attack for a very long time. Mostly due to developers and engineers altering the flow of water and pollutants dumped into the aquifer via corporate farms and housing developments. A huge issue has been the arrival of invasive plants and trees, such as the Australian pine and Brazilian peppers.
Added up, the Everglades, it has been said, will never again be as it was. However, the wildlife of the region, with a few exceptions, had hung in there, flourishing and maintaining healthy and diverse populations. Now enter the invasion; the invasive species’ from all over the world. Most recently and most destructive, has been the Burmese python’s near obliteration of all things mammalian. The latest reports by the U.S. Geological Service, state that in large portions of our Everglades, the Burmese pythons have eradicated native mammals by as much as ninety percent!
There are two state agencies charged with the task of halting the spread of the deadly reptiles, the South Florida Water Management District and the Florida Wildlife Commission. Both organizations have fifty man teams of trained and licensed contractors working together, around the clock, to capture as many as they can, for the cash bounty being offered by the state.
I spent four days in the Glades recently, with the cast and crew of a new adventure series I am producing, and which premieres on Carbon TV in September. During that time we were accompanied, by python contractors, Myron Looker with SFWMD and Matthew Kogo of the FWC. Under their direction, we hunted each night in search of Burmese pythons and they surely led us to some great success. It never ceases to impress me, the strength that these giant snakes have and the fact real danger involved while capturing them barehanded.
My co-hosts of Invasion Everglades, Vince Noble, and Meghan Bailes, made multiple successful captures, impressively wrestling them bare-handed into submission…. under the professional guidance of Myron and Matthew. With remarkably few natural predators, once spotted, it isn’t very difficult to stalk to within close range whilst they lay basically unafraid. Not at all difficult once you have them in hand, however; they whip their muscular bodies with great strength in an attempt to wrap you into their coils. And Burmese pythons have a bite, you truly want to avoid. Their upper and lower jaws possess double rows of razor-sharp, teeth which hook backward, effectively shredding the flesh when you try to rip free of their grasp. The utmost caution is required and hand capturing these beasts is not at all advised, for the inexperienced hunter to attempt.
Next week, I’ll tell you about some of the other invasives, such as our success with capturing several giant green iguanas and locating an extremely rare South American caiman!
I surely thank you for all of your input and as always, if you have any feedback, give me a shout at [email protected]. God Bless and Good Hunting!