Author: Thomas

The Everglades is a hot spot for pythons

The Everglades is a hot spot for pythons

Meet the women hunting giant pythons ‘eating everything’ in the Everglades

By Mark J. Rebilas

October 24, 2014

When they see the yellow eyes of pythons, even seasoned hunters pause to take notice. But with a pith helmet on and a backpack on, these women of the Everglades are far from casual observers.

They’re armed. And armed with a vengeance.

In early October, they were the first in line at a newly opened wildlife refuge in Bradenton, Florida, a city on the Gulf of Mexico, about 60 miles north of Miami International Airport. The group was there to join other environmentalists protesting a plan to construct a new wildlife refuge in Bradenton from the same company that owns the recently opened Everglades National Park on the east coast. The new refuge, which the company says will cost $100 million to build, was meant to contain and protect more than 400 endangered and proposed endangered species like manatees and snakes.

The pythons are a real problem, and they’re on the move.

“They’re eating everything,” said Kristy DeYoung, who had been in line with three other women the day the other women joined the protest at the refuge. The refuge employees and volunteers had been warned that the pythons would probably show up in the refuge by early afternoon because the park’s fence had not been properly shut down since the pythons moved in in 2007.

The pythons have been an ever-present problem at the Everglades National Park since the 1970s, when in the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew, Congress established the protected area. The park contains some of the world’s most magnificent coastal ecosystems, with mangrove forests and freshwater wetlands. And now, the Everglades is a hot spot of pythons and other venomous snake species, including the three-toed alligator-headed pythons that have been observed in the park.

The Everglades has seen an upswing in the problem of snake and pythons in the past five years, said William Beasley, chief of the park’s snake research section at the time. In 2007, there were just

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