The Burmese python is one of the largest species of snake on Earth. They can grow up to 18 feet in length making them about half the length of a city bus. Thankfully they aren’t native to North America so we don’t have to worry about them right? Well, it seems they’re now one of the newest and most dangerous invasive species in Florida. Experts believe careless pet owners introduced them into the wild where they’ve used their massive size and power to take over.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has had its hands full trying to solve the python problem. They’ve reached out to local agencies, used radio-tags to track where the snakes nest, and even hosted annual snake hunting competitions. Despite these efforts the Everglades continue to provide sanctuary for the invasive snakes.
In desperation they’ve reached out to a group of men with a very particular set of skills. Masi Sadaiyan and Vadivel Gopal are members of the Irula tribe that lives in India. They are professional snake catchers who make a living capturing cobras and vipers, and milking them for their venom. These men are expert snake trackers who use age old methods to root out hidden snake dens. They have been able to find nesting grounds biologists overlook. Wildlife experts hope to learn from the master hunters, and use that knowledge to repair the ecological damage to the Everglades once and for all.