Landmark catch in Florida's pay-for-python program

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After this discovery, biologists said they are concerned for the federally protected Florida panther, which preys on white-tailed deer.

"This (water management district) Governing Board program has been enormously effective in killing this relentless predator in an effort to preserve native Everglades wildlife", said district scientist Mike Kirkland, project manager for the Python Elimination Program.

The Conservancy of Southwest Florida presented its observation to the public on Thursday.

The python elimination program pays a team of trained hunters minimum wage plus bonuses based on snake length.

Biologists believe it is the largest python-to-prey ratio documented.

The deer weighed in at 35 pounds and the python was only 31.5 pounds, making the fawn 111 percent of the snake's mass.


The Burmese python is on Florida's most-wanted list when it comes to invasive species.

They capture and implant the pythons with a radio-transmitter and release them back at their capture site to help lead researchers to other pythons during breeding season.

A total of 20 adult male pythons are now under surveillance through radio telemetry, leading researchers to more pythons during the breeding season.

Now, they're invasive and a threat to the environment and ecosystem, officials said. Adult female pythons and their eggs are humanely euthanized and the Conservancy of Southwest Florida's wildlife biologists then perform a necropsy to examine the animal, log data and collect genetic samples for further studies. "We've effectively turned the pythons against themselves." said Bartoszek.

When the team finds one of the invasive pythons, Easterling said, "We use our hands, use our feet try to pin it down".

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