Entries in Pythons (2)


Florida Python Hunt Launched to Curb Slithering Population

ABC News(MIAMI) -- Florida wildlife officials are launching a snake hunting mission to help curb the growing population of Burmese pythons threatening the Everglades and nearby neighborhoods.

Nearly 500 amateur hunters have signed up for the month-long competition in southern Florida, sponsored by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.  The "2013 Python Challenge" will kick off on Jan. 12 to raise public awareness about the species and the threat to the Everglades ecosystem, including native wildlife.

Some estimate that nearly 150,000 pythons are living in the Florida Everglades.  Officials say the Burmese pythons are eating wildlife and with no natural predator, the population is overwhelming.  The Everglades have become crowded with the snakes, which have started to move into nearby neighborhoods.

"They're starting to come back into civilization looking for easy food -- our pets and that's typically what they're feeding on: cats, small dogs," said Lt. Scott Mullin of the Miami-Dade Venom One Unit.

Mullin, a snake wrangler, says he's been busy making house calls as people are finding Burmese pythons in parks and backyards.

"When people call about a python it's a totally different sound on the phone that you can hear it in their voice that they're excited, very nervous, very scared for their pets and their children," Mullin said.

Pythons are native to Southeast Asia, but experts think that residents who couldn't handle them as pets set them loose.

Last year, a Burmese python was caught and registered more than 17 feet long and 160 pounds.  The catch set a new Everglades National Park record.

Burmese pythons caught in Florida usually average between 6 to 9 feet long.

A $1,500 reward will be handed over to the hunter who catches the most Burmese pythons.  A $1,000 reward will be given to the person who catches the longest.

All participants must take an online training course.  Registered participants over the age of 18 do not need a Florida hunting license or permit.  However, those under age 18 need to have a Florida hunting license and management area permit.

The contest concludes on Feb. 16 with an awards ceremony.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Fla. Couple Sentenced in Python Strangling of Daughter

Orange County Corrections Dept.(ORLANDO, Fla.) -- Florida python owners Jaren Hare and her boyfriend Charles Darnell were each sentenced to 12 years in prison Wednesday because the snake escaped from its cage and strangled Hare's two-year-old daughter.

Hare, 21, and Darnel, 34, were convicted last month of third-degree murder, manslaughter and child neglect.

The little girl, Shaianna, was killed two years ago when the couple's pet Burmese python escaped from its enclosure and strangled the girl in her crib. The snake's tank was only equipped with a quilt for a lid.

A medical examiner testified during the trial that the albino snake named Gypsy was underweight and trying to eat the girl. The snake hadn't been fed for a month when the girl died and was severely underweight at only 13 pounds, the Orlando Sentinel reported. The snake should have weighed nearly 150 pounds, the Sentinel reported.

Jurors rejected the defense's argument that this was simply a terrible accident.

Hare and Darnell are the parents of a daughter who was born about a month after Shaianna was strangled. It is not clear who is caring for the girl now.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio