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Hunters have killed 10 Burmese pythons during the first 10 days of the South Florida Water Management District’s Python Elimination Program.
The SFWMD dished out nearly $2,000 to hunters for removing nearly 100 feet worth of the invasive reptiles.
“For hunters to have already eliminated 10 snakes is tremendous, given the fact that simply locating the elusive python is literally like finding a moving, camouflaged needle in a haystack,” said SFWMD Governing Board Chairman Dan O’Keefe.
Hunter Patrick Campbell killed the largest snake, a 15-foot-10 inch, 135-pound python. Campbell was paid $350 for his kill.
Nicolas Baños and Leo Sanchez together hunted a 15-foot-2 inch snake, awarding the hunters $325 for the second largest kill during the time span.
“We found the snake stretched out down the levee, so we approached it,” said Sanchez.
The python immediately slithered away from the two hunters toward the water and tangled itself around thick trees, Sanchez recalled.
“We were in there down the bush there at the edge of the canal for twenty minutes with it, until we were able to pull it out,” Sanchez said.
Hunters are paid $8.10 per hour up to eight hours a day, with an additional on-the-spot payment of $50 for pythons measuring up to 4 feet and an extra $25 for each foot measured after.
Twenty-five hunters are participating in the program and will continue hunting the invasive creatures until June.