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Snake Hunters

March 9th, 2010 by flanews

Its open season on Burmese Pythons. Starting this week anyone with a Florida hunting license and 26 dollars can register with the state to kill the snakes. As Whitney Ray tells us, the war to rid the state of non-native reptiles is being fought on two fronts: in the wild, and at the state capitol.

Since last August a team of about a dozen hunters began tracking down Burmese pythons, recording their age, size and location then killing the reptiles. Now, anyone with a hunting license, a management land permit and a gun can join the fight.

We hope they can bag as many as they can see, said FWC Spokesman Tony Young.

Florida Fish and Wildlife is opening up three state managed lands in South Florida to eager hunters. So far more than 60 have shown interest. The snake meat is too toxic to eat, but FWC Spokesman Tony Young says the hunters can cash in on their kill.

Just like alligator and crocodile products, python skin and hide makes very good products like that; boots, belts, wallets, shoes, said Young.

The hunt began Monday and this might be the best time to hunt snakes because the cooler weather is bringing the pythons out of hiding and into the open to warm their bodies in the sun. The hunt lasts until April 17th but state senator Eleanor Sobel says with thousands of snakes threatening the ecosystem more needs to be done.

Hunting is one tool in the tool box, but we really need to turn off the spicket, said Sobel.

Sobel is sponsoring legislation to ban buying selling or owning Burmese pythons and five other reptiles the state has identified as reptiles of concern.

If the legislation passes the ban would go into effect July 1st. People who bought and registered one of the reptiles of concern before then would be allowed to keep their pets.

Quick Facts: Reptiles of Concern
Indian or Burmese python
Reticulated python
Amethystine or Scrub python
Green anaconda
Nile monitor lizard

Quick Facts: Hunting Rules
Hunt lasts through April 17th.
Hunters can only kill snakes on the three South Florida wildlife managed lands, from 30 minutes before sunrise until 30 minutes after sunset.
Snakes must be killed.
All kills have to be reporter to the FWC with in 36 hours.
For more information: For More information on the hunt go to www.myfwc.com/roc or call 866-392-4286

Posted in Legislature, State News, Wildlife | 1 Comment »

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