Pythons continue to move north in Florida

Reporter: Rachel Cox-Rosen
Published: Updated:

Florida is filled with snakes, especially pythons.

So much so that every single year, people put their lives on hold to go out and hunt the as part of the annual python challenge.

The U.S. Department of the Interior said there could be as many as a million pythons in the Everglades.

The slithery animals seem to be moving out of the swamps and into Southwest Florida.

A “cryptic” and “resilient,” invasive front.

That’s how the January study from the U.S. Geological Survey describes the invasive Burmese pythons.

“They spend 85% of their time not moving. And when they do move, it is very slow, and they don’t like to be exposed,” said Amy Siewe, a python hunter.

Siewe spends hours in the Florida wilderness looking for the massive creatures.

She has seen their northern movement firsthand.

“When I first started four years ago, the general area that we would hunt would be, you know, 41, between like 29, and Krome, that was the main area. And now I live about 10 miles north of that. So every night after I’d finished hunting, I would have to drive 41 home. And the first year never saw python on my way home. Second year, I saw like a dead 1/3 year, caught a 10-footer last year, there were a bunch,” Siewe said.

The data supports anecdotal stories like that one.

The snake’s population used to be south of I-75 and west of Miami-Dade and Broward counties.

But nine years late, in 2012, there is a dramatic jump in snakes spotted well north of I-75 and creeping close to Florida’s east coast.

By 2021? The pythons were reported in Charlotte County and almost stretching across the whole state from east to west.

“It takes a python three years to get to be 10 feet, and it takes 200 mammals and birds to get it there. So every single one that we’re taking out of the Everglades is really making a difference for our native population. So that’s, that’s how I have to look at it,” Siewe said.

Hunters remain one of the best tools available to get rid of snakes.

The study concludes by saying it’s going to take a ton of work to suppress the python population and that eradication in Florida is likely impossible.

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