Florida lawmaker: Hire snake hunters to eradicate pythons

- A Florida senator who once hunted down a 9-foot Burmese python wants the state to pay private contractors to eradicate pythons and other invasive species from the Everglades.

Republican Sen. Frank Artiles, who doubles as a snake hunter on his spare time, is spearheading the effort to capture and kill pythons in the Everglades to protect the area's small native animals. He says "furry creatures" and American alligator nests are being decimated by the growing population of hungry snakes.

A 2015 University of Florida study linked the Burmese python is associated to a drop in the mammal population in the Everglades National Park. The rise in the snake population stems in part from pet owners discarding their unwanted exotic animals.

If the bill passes, the $600,000, two-year pilot program would let the state hire trained python hunters. Snake hunters would capture or kill the animals found in public lands and waters and would supply data on every capture for research purposes.

The bill would also require Florida pet dealers to tag animals identified as non-native to the state before offering them for sale.

This isn't the first time lawmakers have pushed for legislation aimed at shrinking Florida's python population. In 2009, U.S. Senator Bill Nelson proposed a federal ban on pet pythons.

On Tuesday, Artiles pushed his state measure and didn't shy away from sharing his love for snake hunting.

"I would like to invite you all to go python-hunting with me in the Everglades -- and with that I close," Artiles said.

Members of the Appropriations Subcommittee on the Environment and Natural Resources voted to advance the bill (SB 230) towards its final stop before heading to the full senate.


Up Next:

Up Next

  • Florida lawmaker: Hire snake hunters to eradicate pythons
  • Joint funeral planned for fallen Kissimmee officers
  • Mother arrested for leaving kids in hot car while she drinks at bar
  • Daughter of fallen Sgt. surprised on her birthday
  • Suspect arrested while watching eclipse
  • Kissimmee police: 2nd officer dies from injuries
  • Two Jacksonville police officers shot Friday
  • Kissimmee police officer fatally shot, another 'gravely' injured
  • Bill would block use of 'food stamps' for soda
  • Missing child alert: 1-year-old missing from Broward Co.