3 Key Points
- Marco Island police and security personnel safely removed a 9-foot Burmese python.
- The non-venomous snake was turned over to Florida Fish and Wildlife trappers.
- Burmese pythons pose an ecological threat to Florida’s native species.
Nine-Foot Python Caught on Golf Course
At the Hideaway Beach Club in Marco Island, a scenic golf course faced an unexpected hazard when a 9-foot Burmese python was discovered in the surrounding foliage. This occurrence took place on December 21, and it wasn’t something a simple “fore!” could warn against.
Officers Implement Unique Python Removal
Joining forces, the Marco Island Police Department and club security staff stepped up to the challenge, expertly utilizing golf clubs to guide the large constrictor from its hiding spot. A video captured the moment officers draped a cloth over the python’s head to safely transfer it to a containment carrier, preventing any potential incidents.
Snake Safely Handed Over to Wildlife Authorities
Following the removal, the python was promptly handed over to a trapper certified by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. As detailed in a report shared on social media by the Marco Police Department, the culminated efforts of all involved ensured the reptile was securely relocated.
Giant Pythons in Florida
This particular python paled in comparison to Florida’s largest recorded specimen — a staggering 19-foot Burmese python discovered in eastern Collier County just months prior. This invasive species has become notorious for drastically impacting native wildlife across southern Florida.
Handling Burmese Pythons in Florida
Florida’s approach to managing the Burmese python invasion is clear-cut. Only certain permitted individuals are allowed to transport live pythons. Otherwise, the snakes must be humanely euthanized at the capture site, abiding by specific state laws and regulations to ensure the process is as humane as possible.
The Perils of Pet Trade Introductions
Introducing non-native species like Burmese pythons to Florida’s ecosystem has had unintended, damaging repercussions. These snakes originated from Southeast Asia and entered through the pet trade before starting their now invasive tenure in the state’s wilds.
Burmese Python Contests for Conservation
To combat the proliferation of Burmese pythons, the Florida Python Challenge engages the community in a concerted effort to remove these invasive predators. With the 2023 event attracting over a thousand participants, it resulted in the capture of 209 pythons, demonstrating the scale of this environmental challenge.
Health Considerations of Consuming Python
While python meat might not be a staple food, it’s legal to keep and sell in Florida. However, high mercury levels in python meat from the Everglades have raised health concerns, and authorities recommend caution due to the absence of clear safety guidelines for consumption.