Three years ago I wrote an article about the ridiculous numbers coming out of Flordia’s Python elimination program. Those numbers were crazy then and they have only gotten crazier.
In 2018 they had brought in 1,711 snakes measuring over 2 miles in total length and weighing over 10.4 tons. Those numbers are now just penitence of where they are at now in 2020. This is largely due to Flordia’s aggressive hunting program.
The program largely has stayed the same with just the number of snakes raising. Hunters are paid a minimum wage for 10 hours a day with bonuses depending on the snake.
The bonus system works like this $50 a snake and $25 dollar bonus per foot for snakes over 4 feet. So an 8 ft. snake would be worth $150 bucks. Also, a snake found guarding a nest with eggs is worth an additional $200.
Snake hunters recently just caught the largest python ever killed in Florida was a female that measured 18.9 feet in length and weighed 104 pounds. That snake earned the snake hunter a cool $400 payout.
The bonus system has been a big success and the numbers behind it are a testament. Since 2017 when the program went live hunters have brought in over 3,800 snakes with a total length of 22,979 feet with a weight of close to 18 tons.
The South Florida Water Management District, which operates the program has some helpful graphs that show the scale of the numbers.
As you can see the numbers have gone up like crazy over the last few years and it does not look like they will taper off anytime soon. Python populations in Florida are estimated to be as high as 300,000. So these numbers barely scratch the surface.
Most of they pythons brought in are 4 ft. or smaller but there are quite a few large ones being brought in as well.
22,979 ft. equals approximately 4.4 miles. and the weight is close to 18 tons.
Hopefully, they continue the program and get these snakes under control. They are responsible for a nearly 70% decrease in small mammals populations across Florida.