Burmese Python Invades Everglades Picnic
January 1, 2013

Burmese Python Becomes Unwanted Guest At Family Picnic In The Everglades

April Flowers for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online

There are always unwelcome guests at a picnic, such as ants and mosquitoes. They are just part of the territory of eating outdoors. But who would ever expect a 17-foot Burmese python to join the party?

For a family from Arkansas, on vacation in the Florida Everglades, that was the reality of their picnic this past week.

The Python Challenge 2013 can't start quite fast enough, for Florida wildlife officials.

Park rangers shot and killed the giant snake after they arrived on scene, but the fact it was there is just further proof that the pervasive invasive species is proving detrimental to the Everglades. UPI.com reports that the family filmed the giant snake before the rangers arrived.

In January 2013, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is hosting the Python Challenge 2013, offering prizes to the hunter who bags the most snakes, along with the hunter who kills the longest snake.

The family from Arkansas could have taken home the prize for longest snake if they had just waited until January for their picnic, according to the Huffington Post. The unwanted picnic guest was just 7 inches short of the current record holder, measured at 17 feet 7 inches.

Currently, Florida allows licensed permit holders to hunt and kill the pythons on public lands. The upcoming contest will be open to the general public, however. There will be two distinct divisions for the professional hunters and the general public, as permit holders have more access to public lands.

The pythons are a danger to the Everglades. Their growing population has devastated the rabbit, fox, possum and bobcat populations in that area. Frenchtribune.com states that reptile experts say newly-hatched pythons are not a danger to humans, but mature snakes are extremely dangerous and can swallow anything from birds to large mammals.