Reader Participation Day: Has the Presence of Pythons Changed the Way You Feel About Visiting Everglades National Park?

This female Burmese python recently captured in Everglades National Park was just over 16 feet long and weighed 140 pounds. NPS photo.

Everglades National Park now has a large population of Burmese pythons that can grow to very large size. The largest captured so far was a 16-footer that weighed 140 pounds.

The National Park Service believes that the snakes are bad for the Everglades ecosystem, but pose very little threat to Everglades visitors. Do you agree? Has the presence of the pythons changed the way you feel about visiting Everglades National Park?

Comments

Are they protected like native snakes accross the parks system presently? Is a public snake "hunt" with possibly a bounty, a beneficial option? Or, is the further release of 16 foot Pythons for study the only option being considered?

I'd always go back to Everglades, but lately it's like visiting a relative in the hospice.

Yes... but not for safety reasons. I don't feel that I would be injured by a snake, but we were there about 3 years ago and I was amazed at the lack of mammals. They just weren't there. I'd choose to visit another park before coming back here.

The laws that protect native species throughout the National Park System do not apply to nonnative invasive species like the Burmese python. No public hunts for snakes (or anything else) are allowed in Everglades National Park.

At least the park superintendent didn't authorize professional hunters to shoot at them at night from helicopters.

I camped there two years ago and, most recently, back in January.
I, too, noticed fewer mammals compared to two years ago. I am not concerned for my personal safety as I doubt there will be any pythons in the campground and, similarly, on the hiking trails.
I'm going back to camp for a week March 4-10...I'll be doing more hiking than my last visit, so I'll post an update when I return.

Bob J, A hunt isn't out of the question. We've had public hunts to cull deer in national parks. It's often controversial, see Cuyahoga for some history. Still, it would be worth it, but if they are breeding and fairly well established, don't know how you could ever get every one. Or even enough so they couldn't find each other to make baby snakes. Another problem is getting folks to do it, it's not as if there is a tradition of snake hunting in this country.(you can always find someone willing to kill deer.)
I just think they should issue every visitor a machete. There are over a million or more visitors, they can watch over the trails better than the staff. Maybe a machete dispenser at each trailhead! So long as folks don't kill native snakes (nothing native looks like a boa or a python) we'll be okay, and a little collateral damage won't hurt most native snake populations, except maybe the indigo snake. (Which can be quite large, but has no patterning like on the pythons.)

The recent success using dogs is mildly hopeful...

In the world of liability, giving machetes to visitors is probably a no no. BYOM (Bring your own machete) might work.

Letting the public do the killing is a chancy thing. A lot of folks will, if given the opportunity, kill every snake that they see and "let God sort 'em out."

Snakeburgers might be tasty . . . .