One of the major issues plaguing south Florida ecosystems are invasive Burmese pythons. Thought to have taken root in the swamps after some people illegally released their pets, and due to an alleged escape from an illegal exotic pet company, the monstrous snakes have done irreversible damage to the native species of fauna that have long called the Sunshine State home.
A 2012 study of Everglades National Park showed a 99.3% decrease in the number of raccoons, 98.9% decrease in opossums, 87.5% decrease in bobcats, and near 100% decrease in marsh rabbits, cottontail rabbits, and foxes, compared with 1997 population levels.
That study was done over 11 years ago and the python population has done nothing but continue to explode.
To try and combat this problem, python hunters make their way out into the dangerous swamps to try and remove the snakes, but the job is easier said than done. Pythons prefer habitat that is nearly inaccessible and their nests are typically so well hidden it’s nearly impossible to find laid eggs before they hatch. The average female python can lay 50 to 100 eggs at a time, meaning there’s almost no way to stop the spread of these huge snakes.
The largest python of all-time was recently captured in Big Cypress National Preserve and it measured an astounding 19 feet long. All of that is to say, these pythons are a major problem, and I just stumbled upon a video which shows a certified Florida Man taking one out in a brutal, but effective way.
When most people think of Florida, they think of alligators and for good reason. Over 1 million swamp puppies lives in nearly every body of water in the state and they have been known to tussle with pythons when they have too. It seems to be a relatively even battle, as we’ve seen both gators beating pythons and pythons beating gators.
While we don’t have any context around the video, a man named Joel Taylor Duerr happened to capture a decent sized python (looked to be at least 7 or so feet from by untrained eye) and thought of a way to get it out of the ecosystem that also helped out the native alligators.
Yep, that’s right, he fed a python to an alligator.
He and his buddies were out on a boat and spotted a gator that had swam right up to them. That’s when he took out the python and dangled it over the side and it didn’t take but a second for the gator to strike and then next thing you know he was playing tug-of-war with an alligator…
Now, at first glance this does look rough, I’ll admit it. I’d imagine there’s some laws in effect about feeding alligators and even though it’s an invasive species, I don’t think this was what the game commission had in mind when they asked people to help dispatch them.
But also, it is removing a problem while feeding a native population, and hopefully getting it in the gators’ mind that they can also do their part to take these creatures out, so I don’t know, I’m torn. It is open season on Burmese pythons, and hunters are encouraged to round up as many as possible. It also looks fun, I can’t lie…
What do you think? Is it a problem to feed pythons to alligators? The jury is still out for me…